My first trimester pregnancy update is here! This is a recap of weeks 0-13 of pregnancy that covers my personal experience. It includes pregnancy symptoms, cravings and aversions, nutrition, exercise, helpful products and mindset mantras that helped me through these first weeks. My hope is that this series of posts helps inspire or brings comfort to any other mamas or mamas-to-be.
First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms
- Tender, growing breasts: This was my first pregnancy symptom and something I noticed around 3 weeks before I even knew I was pregnant. Since I only remember experiencing this as a PMS symptom once in my life, this was what initially had me thinking I was pregnant.
- Morning sickness: Week 6-10 I had mild nausea which lasted all day. That being said, I was worse at night. I’d start having indigestion mid-day and this coupled with nausea made me feel worse at night than in the morning when I’d wake up. I’d also feel much more nauseous if I ate my “normal”-sized portion at meals. I found small frequent meals and snacks made me feel much better. Bland carbs like bread, crackers and cereal we’re easiest to tolerate. Lemon water tasted great and fresh ginger in my water or ginger tea helped take the edge off my nausea.
- Fatigue: By mid-afternoon, I was tired and wanting a nap. Sometimes even by 11 am it felt like 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Thankfully, my schedule allowed me to take a nap and wake up feeling refreshed. Even with a nap, I was still ready for bed around 8 pm. Instead of fighting it, I happily enjoyed the extra sleep I was getting. By around 10-11 weeks, the fatigue subsided and I started having much more energy throughout the day.
- Difficulty sleeping: the first few weeks after we found out I would fall asleep quickly but wake up 3-4 times a night. At first, I thought this was hormones but then connected the dots to being anxious and wanting to check my Ava Bracelet data. I’ll explain more about my experience with the Ava Bracelet in my pregnancy journey post (spoiler: I HIGHLY recommend it!). That being said, I was getting anxious about seeing “normal” data trends because I hadn’t seen the doctor yet I wanted so badly to the pregnancy to last. Once I stopped wearing the bracelet at night, I started sleeping throughout the night.
- Indigestion: Mid-afternoon indigestion would hit and get worse at night. I found eating smaller meals more frequently helped, as well as staying upright for a while after eating. I started propping up my pillows at night to decrease indigestion and in turn, it actually made sleeping much more comfortable.
- Need to pee: Mid-way through my first trimester, I started feeling like a had to pee much more frequently but then when I’d go, barely anything would come out. It was much harder to actually let my urine out. I that I’d have to lean forward in order for my bladder to release. From what I’ve read, this is most likely due to the position of my bladder in regards to my growing uterus.
- Constipation: There were only a handful of days I felt “constipated”. I still had a bowel movement daily but it wasn’t at my usual time, making me feel slightly off. On those days taking a walk, staying extra hydrated and magnesium citrate helped get things moving.
- Anxiety: This is something I feel like not many people talk about. There is a significant amount of anxiety that comes with the unknowns of pregnancy in the first trimester. Reading statistics about miscarriages, waiting for appointments and test results make it difficult to relax. You aren’t showing, you may or may not have symptoms and it’s mostly out of your control. For someone who likes to be in control, it was difficult to quiet my mind and let go. I found journaling, mantras (I share these below!) and not keeping the news to myself the most helpful. It felt good having family and close friends know so I could talk about them and express my feeling rather than keeping them to myself or between me and my husband since we’d never experienced this before.
- Food aversions: My normal foods (things like salads, protein and veggies) weren’t appealing at all. Luckily, I still enjoyed eating eggs so they became my go-to protein option. Somedays I would end up having eggs for breakfast and lunch.
I feel so lucky to only have very mind morning sickness. This can be the most challenging and uncomfortable symptom that can stick with new mama’s well into their second trimester or throughout their pregnancy. Thankfully, I had cramps or spotting and I only experienced very mild bloating and constipation a few times throughout the entire first trimester. Bloating and constipation are common first trimester symptoms that have to due to your rising progesterone levels. I’m not 100% sure why I didn’t experience much if any. I do prioritize my gut health with probiotics, fiber and staying hydrated. So this may have helped!
First Trimester Cravings
- Lemon: Give me all the fresh lemon! I started the day with warm lemon water, followed by lemon-infused water to drink throughout the day. I couldn’t get enough lemon Spindrift and club soda with lemon when were out to dinner.
- Olives and Pickles: Actually, anything salty tasted amazing but olives and pickles were at the top of the list. For about two weeks straight I must have stopped at Whole Foods olive bar at least twice a week because I needed to be stocked up on olives at all times. Also, nothing beats Grillo’s Italian Pickle Chips.
- Pico de gallo: During my morning sickness, the only vegetable I truly enjoyed and craved was spicy pico de gallo. I was buying multiple hot pico de gallo from Trader Joe’s because I could eat an entire container in one sitting. But with the snap of my fingers after about 3 weeks this craving was gone completely.
- Eggs: Scrambled eggs sounded and tasted so good. I liked eggs before my pregnancy and would typically enjoy a medium-boiled (not quite hard but not runny!!) egg almost daily. But during the first trimester, I needed scrambled eggs (with salt, of course). Since this was one of the only proteins that actually sounded really good, I’d have eggs for at least one meal a day. (Nutrition tip: Eggs are also a great source of choline which is important for baby’s brain development!)
- Cereal: I started craving comfort foods from my childhood, one of which was cereal. Growing up I loved Life and Quaker Oat Squares. I found a dye-free version of Life (I believe it’s Whole Foods Brand) and Cinnamon Oat Squares, which become a go-to meal or snack with almond milk.
- PB&J: Growing up, I actually didn’t like jelly touching my peanut butter until I was a little older. But I loved plain raspberry jam on pancakes and toast. I also took a just peanut butter sandwich to lunch every single day for years. I started having intense cravings for tart raspberry jam. It tasted best with peanut butter on toasted Cocobakes bread. My favorite is the fruit-sweetened raspberry jam from Trader Joe’s. It’s has a bold flavor and is tart, which is 100% necessary for raspberry jam in my opinion.
Nutrition While Pregnancy: First Trimester
This was the ultimate teacher of “letting go”. The first trimester is such a crucial time brain and organ development and preventing neural tube defects. It’s only natural that you want to eat as healthy as possible for your little one. I know this was the case for me! But then your body has other plans. With morning sickness, indigestion, and food aversions the nutrient-dense foods (hello, veggies!) are particularly hard to stomach.
Instead of forcing myself to eat my veggie-heavy diet, I simply focused on eating what sounded good. I’d try my best to find ways to incorporate some kind of vegetable (mostly salsa those first few weeks, haha) and opted for more nutrient-dense versions of the bland foods I was craving. For instance, instead of regular saltine crackers, I loved Simple Mills Almond Flour Sea Salt Crackers and Mary’s Gone Crackers. Cocobakes sourdough bread was my go-to and I opted for whole-grain cereal instead of the sugary, dye-filled variety.
My mindset was “this too shall pass” and “just go with it”. Taking a quality prenatal also made me feel more confident about not eating a particularly well-balanced diet. I knew I was getting the essential nutrients through the supplement. This time allowed me to connect with my hunger and listening to what my body wanted. I was able to focus less on doing what was “right” and focusing on what made me feel well at the present.
After my nausea subsided around 10 weeks, I was able to get back to my normal nutrient-dense way of eating for the most part. Vegetables finally sounded and tasted good again! That being said, I started dealing with new food aversions, particularly chicken (which I had started eating again while balancing my hormones) and cravings, which I’m going with. I truly believe that there’s no point in forcing things your body is telling you it doesn’t want or trying to avoid things you’re craving. This is just a season of life and so far has been one of my greatest teachers.
Exercising While Pregnant: First Trimester
Yes, I’m still exercising! During the first 10 weeks, exercises and movement in general just felt more challenging. I felt like my stamina drastically decreased overnight. My mile time automatically became 1-2 minutes slower, I needed to walk after .5 mile run and I got out of breath walking up the stairs. This was a humbling experience! It wasn’t just about me anymore so I embraced it. My running workouts switched to walking or jog/walks and I incorporated more Pilates-based home workouts. I’ve been obsessed with Melissa Wood’s classes!
Even though my style of exercise changed, it felt so good to move! Getting outside was one of the things that helped the most with my morning sickness. As we transitioned into fall, the crisp cooler air made me feel like a whole new person. I also had the mindset that “I’m so grateful I have the ability to move”. I knew how sick some mama’s feel and kept in mind those that don’t have the luxury of moving.
After my morning sickness subsided and I started nearing the second trimester, I started to feel much more like myself again. I kept getting the urge to run so I listened. The faster pace felt good! Most runs are still slower than my normal and I either run .5 then walk or settle for two minute runs followed by one minute walks. This is working for me now. I’m still incorporating walking, weights, pilates and lots of stretching throughout the week. I’m listening to my body and moving in a way that feels good at this stage in pregnancy.
- Prenatal: I’ve been switching off between New Chapter and Ritual. I took New Chapter for about a year before getting pregnant and decided to stick with it. However, I found Ritual and highly recommend it! I love their transparency and that they have choline (which is important for baby’s brain development). That being said, Ritual only puts the “necessities” in their vitamins based on extensive research. During the first part of my first trimester I felt more comfortable taking New Chapter as an insurance policy since I knew I wasn’t eating a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet. Now that I’m feeling back to normal, I’m taking Ritual’s Prenatal.
- Probiotic: New Chapter’s All-Flora is the probiotic I’ve also been using for over a year now. I noticed significant improvements with my digestion after starting, so I decided to continue. Full disclosure, I’m starting a new probiotic this week after falling in love with the science behind this new company’s probiotic and will keep you updated! That being said, I can’t stress enough the importance of gut health and highly recommend taking a probiotic.
- Omega-3: I opted to continue with Nordic Natural’s Ultimate Omega over their prenatal DHA because it has more DHA and EPA that the prenatal. It’s recommended getting at least 200mg of DHA from an omega while pregnant but to help reduce inflammation and get the other benefits of omega-3s I recommend at least 450 mg of DHA and 1000 mg of total omega-3s.
- Vitamin D: Most people are deficient in vitamin D. The only way to know it to get tested to know your levels tested and I highly recommend it. Taking at least 2000 IUs per day can help maintain your levels, but if you’re deficient or on the low end, you’ll need more. I take Throne 5000 IU vitamin D daily, especially in the winter months.
- Magnesium: This is another supplement that many people are deficient in. Magnesium supports over 300 body processes. It can also help minimize nausea and constipation. To support digestion I recommend Magnesium Citrate before bed.
- Collagen: I love collagen. If you didn’t already know, I wrote a book about collagen! It’s available for pre-order on Amazon with a publishing date of May, 5 (right before our little one arrives!). Collagen is a protein and perfectly safe to take while pregnant. I found that this was an easy way to get in protein while nothing tasted good the first trimester. When choosing collagen, make sure there is on added ingredients or herbs that may not be safe while pregnant.
First Trimester Pregnancy Must-Haves
- Pregnancy journal: The Write to Me journals are the best! I spent weeks looking for a minimalist journal that was aesthetically pleasing, had space for me to write and not full of prompts. I have the “Bump” addition, and I’ve looked forward to ordering the others in the series one our little one arrives. Heads up, this company is from Australia so you can’t amazon prime it!
- Pregnancy Apps: I love reading what’s happing to my little one each week. It’s also reassuring to hear what changes are going on with my body and reading tips on how to prepare for them. I love the Ava Bracelet app. It has a clean, organized fell with no ads. I also have the What to Expect app. This is much more busy feeling and slightly overwhelming with ads and information, but I still think it’s worth it.
- Quality supplements: These are all mentioned above but I cannot stress the importance of quality supplements without added dyes, sugar and questionable ingredients. At the bare minimum, all pregnant mamas need a prenatal and DHA, but I highly recommend additional vitamin D and a probiotic. Of course, it’s important to talk with your doctor before starting any new supplements.
- Simple Mills Crackers: These almond flour crackers are a must-have because I jokingly say they got me through I first trimester nausea. I’d always keep a bag of them with me while I was out and was constantly snacking on them throughout the day. You honestly can’t beat the ingredients!
These mindset mantras are phrases I’ve been saying throughout the first trimester. When my anxiety is high or my mind starts to race, these mantras help keep me grounded. Incorporating empowering sayings help shift my mindset and see this new chapter in a positive light.
- “I let go of what I can’t control”
- “I”m doing the best I can for me and my baby”
- “My baby is strong and healthy”
That’s it for now! Stay tuned for my Second Trimester Update. Please share in the comments below if you found this helpful, want to share about your first trimester or have any tips and recommendations for the second trimester. I’d love to hear from you!