From the moment you get that positive test, your world changes. Whether you took the test because you are already experiencing pregnancy symptoms, or you find out early before the effects set in, if you are anything like me you are going to want some idea of how to survive those first lovely weeks of pregnancy. For me, the symptoms seemed to appear the second I got my positive (maybe this was somewhat mental lol) but I was quickly feeling all of the things the first trimester is infamous for. Your body goes through so many changes within 13 weeks so it’s no wonder we feel like junk, but hopefully with these tips, you can be better prepared to fight the nausea, discomfort, and exhaustion head on 🙂
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This advice is my own personal opinion. Please refer to your medical provider for any health questions or concerns.)
- Saltine Crackers: For my entire first trimester I was massively nauseous. Morning sickness was not a thing, it was constant. I could not eat much without instantly regretting it, so saltine crackers became my best friend. These were great to keep at my bedside and snack on throughout the day. I would occasionally substitute for other salty snacks like tortilla chips or goldfish crackers, but do not think I would have made it without my beloved saltines. I have also heard that keeping crackers next to your bed and eating a few before you get up in the morning helps to reduce morning sickness so even though I didn’t personally benefit from this tip, I think it is worth trying if you are having issues first thing in the AM.
- 7- Up: Along with crackers, 7-Up was a godsend in my early pregnancy. I wanted so badly to be more healthy with my nutrition and drink gallons of water a day, but it was just not realistic with how sick I felt. 7-Up allowed me to stay somewhat hydrated and did seem to help the nausea at times as well. I know that carbonated beverages can actually dehydrate you, so be careful with this. The sugar content isn’t great for you either. You can try to drink water with lemon instead for a similar effect.
- A Fan: I have always been that person who is freezing cold. I love anything warm, hot actually; the sun, baths, heating pads, electric blankets, you name it I’m obsessed. The minute I became pregnant this all changed. Those hormones are crazy! I have been avoiding the sun, wearing little clothing (when home of course LOL) and obsessively turning down our central air conditioning temperature. No matter what I do, I am constantly HOT. Sleeping in this state of warmth and sweatiness has only been possible due to a fan next to my bedside. I wish we actually had invested in more fans or a portable AC unit as well because I still feel like it is too hot at times, but the fan I do have has been a must for my sanity and comfort so far.
- Yoga Pants: Even early on in my pregnancy I was not comfortable wearing any tight clothing. My lower abdomen was pretty tender and did not want anything such as jeans or tight pants pressing on it. I found yoga pants and leggings to be a great option. I didn’t really need maternity clothing at this point, and already had yoga pants available so they worked perfect and didn’t cost me any extra expense.
- Comfortable Bras: This is a MUST. I luckily didn’t have a ton of pain or tenderness in the first trimester like a lot of mamas do, but I still needed to change the type of bra I was wearing pretty early on. I hated anything tight or with underwire so ended up mainly wearing wire-free bras I already had or sports bras. I bought a couple Walmart sports bras with thin padding a size larger than normal and loved how comfortable (and inexpensive) they were. I figured when I was further along I could invest in some nicer nursing bras or something with more support, but didn’t want to too early until I knew better what size I would need.
- Sports Drink: In addition to 7-up, sports drinks were my main source of hydration in my first trimester. I preferred Powerade brand for the most part, but Gatorade worked too. Though they do have quite a bit of sugar, these drinks at least have some electrolytes which should help with dehydration. I mixed mine with water sometimes to dilute them a bit which is probably best. I have heard that you can also make sports drink popsicles or ice cubes to snack on to help with morning sickness and hydration. I wish I would have tried this, and honestly might still because it sounds pretty good!
- New Shoes: About halfway through my first trimester, my feet were not happy. I’m not sure of the exact reasoning behind this because I hadn’t gained any weight yet, but my normal shoes were not cutting it any longer. As a nurse, I work long 12+ hours shifts and there were times I could hardly bear to walk by the time I clocked out. So with the advice of some fellow nurse mommies, I invested in some better shoes right away. I went with Brooks brand tennis shoes but there are quite a few brands/types that were recommended, and I think it really just depends on what your body is most comfortable in. I will never regret the money I spent on those shoes, they were a lifesaver! What girl doesn’t want an excuse to buy new shoes anyway?
- Fetal Doppler: This was a purchase that truly gave me such peace of mind, which really is priceless as a new mom-to-be. I knew I needed a Doppler and invested in one at about 7 weeks. Though I didn’t find a strong heartbeat with mine until about 11 weeks, some have better luck and can use theirs earlier. But, once I was able to find baby’s heartbeat, I was comforted with the ability to listen to my sweet little one anytime I wanted and my anxiety really decreased. I ordered my Doppler from Amazon Prime. According to reviews and YouTube videos, it seems to be a pretty popular one and not unreasonable in price in my opinion. Get yours here Sonoline B Fetal Doppler
- Pregnancy App: Even though I am a nurse who is surrounded by OB patients and literally teaches new moms how to care for their newborns, I instantly had a ton of questions once I became pregnant. I knew a lot of the milestones along the way but also wanted something to keep me up to date and informed. I was already using a fertility app on my phone so I downloaded the pregnancy app by the same company (Ovia) right when I found out I was pregnant. I love the tips and insight this app provides and it is also a great place to document your pregnancy! I would highly recommend it or something similar to all expecting mamas. I have also downloaded the Baby Center app and like to browse its articles but don’t find it quite as great as Ovia.
- OB: When you find out you are pregnant one of the first things you need to do is establish prenatal care. Finding a great doctor that you trust is really important! I have known my OB for a while, so I didn’t have any hard decisions to make, but I would do your research if you are not sure who to see. Some areas even have different options such as Midwives that you may prefer. Feeling comfortable with the prenatal care you are receiving is the most important part, so if you need to try out a couple, don’t feel bad. You will spend a lot of time and money at whatever provider you choose so be picky. Also, having an office that is responsive to questions and can get you in quickly is a plus. I love that my office has always been great about answering any questions I have and getting me in to be seen ASAP if needed. I am much more relieved knowing my doctor and his staff truly care about proving good care to me and my baby.
- Sinus Rinse: All of those crazy pregnancy hormones effect your body in tons of weird ways. One of the symptoms moms can get is nasal congestion. Combined with my springtime allergies, my sinus’ really bothered me for a while. If you haven’t ever tried a Netti Pot or sinus rinse, you are missing out! It’s a little gross and uncomfortable but will make you feel so much better. I also like that it can help avoid the need for medications because why expose baby to meds if you don’t have to?
- A Journal: This suggestion is multi purpose. If you don’t have a pregnancy app or somewhere to document your pregnancy, I highly recommend getting a journal. How precious will those memories be to share with your little one when they are older? I have a scrapbook my mom made while pregnant with me that has some journal entries in it and it is so so special to me now.Also ladies, I hate to break it to ya but I am sure “placenta brain” is a real thing. This is serious. I have always laughed at others mentioning this idea before becoming pregnant, but man, am I an airhead now. I feel like the second I conceived my brain changed and I am the most forgetful person ever. I literally have to write things down or I WILL NOT remember them. So, get a journal and you can use it to keep your memories and your sanity 🙂
- Good Skin Care: Another great benefit to those darn pregnancy hormones… skin changes. Acne is one of the major issues pregnancy can bring on, ugh! Due to this, it is really important to establish a good skin care routine right away. When I say good I don’t mean expensive. You don’t have to buy some elaborate system to have good skin, just make sure to cleanse and moisturize daily. Many acne creams or medications aren’t safe to use while pregnant or nursing so keep this in mind. I personally like to go the more natural route (especially being pregnant) so I use Micellar water to cleanse, a toner, and Neutrogena moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and have had great results all considering. All of this can be purchased at basically any drug store and won’t break the bank! Find what works for you, and most importantly make it routine to take care of your skin.
Experienced mamas, What must haves got you through your first trimester? I’d love to hear your input!
Mamas to be, I hope some, or all, of these help you survive those long, amazing 13 weeks.