Need help surviving the first trimester when you don’t know where to start? Getting through the first trimester can be tough. Learn how to cope with morning sickness and fatigue in pregnancy.
For both my pregnancies, the first trimester passed horribly. I couldn’t eat many of the foods I loved, including breakfast staples like oatmeal and yogurt. I felt tired all the time, as if I had exercised (minus actually exercising). I barely gained enough weight to meet first trimester goals. Getting through a workday was a struggle. And while I didn’t throw up, I felt like I needed to.
Imagine feeling hung over every day for almost two months.
10 tips on surviving the first trimester
Thankfully, this discomfort usually passes after the first trimester for most pregnant moms. It’s the getting through this stage though that can be difficult for many of us. What to do?
1. Rely on home remedies to alleviate the nausea
As you may have realized, morning sickness is more like all day sickness. And for many of us, we can’t kick back at home for weeks. We have kids to care for, or work to go to. Even if you were to lay in bed all day, the nausea can still get the best of you.
Instead, rely on home remedies to get you through the day:
- Ginger tea
- Lemon drops
- Mints and gum
- A water bottle
- Healthy snacks
Many moms also swear by pairing a protein with a sugar. This combination helps ease the nausea that might creep up on you.
2. Move slowly
Your body feeling the way it does is signaling you to relax. It wants you to take it easy, nap if you can, and slow down. Moving at your old pace will only make you dizzier and more nauseous.
So move slowly, in every way. Stand up carefully if you’ve been sitting at your desk. Take lengthy steps when you move around the house. Imagine emerging from a roller coaster that got you dizzy. You’d want to walk just as cautiously.
3. Eat healthy snacks throughout the day
You likely don’t have much of an appetite, but your doctor still expects you to put on some weight. The best way? Eat small, healthy snacks throughout the day.
Instead of consuming three large meals a day, eat smaller snacks. Your stomach won’t feel so full from having eaten a plateful of food. You’d also more willing to eat small portions than large meals. Plus, eating throughout the day keeps your blood sugar steady, which helps avoid nausea.
I tried to eat every two hours. I ate bland snacks like crackers as well as proteins like almonds. This was especially helpful when I realized I couldn’t eat many of my favorite foods.
Stick to simple, bland food you can stomach easily, such as:
- Mashed potatoes
- Ginger drops or tea
- Carrot sticks
- Brothy soups
4. Take breaks
Take a break when you feel tired or nauseous. It could be something as simple as closing your eyes for a full minute. Or going to the bathroom. Or stepping outside to get fresh air, which always helps with nausea.
And if you need to sit anywhere with others (like meetings or shows), sit near the door. That way, you can make a quick and somewhat discreet exit if you need to use the restroom.
In fact, sleep one hourly earlier if you can.
Those late nights you’ve been having? Clock in a full hour earlier. The discomfort of the first trimester are signals for you to take it easy. What better way to than to restore with better sleep?
Since many of us can’t sleep in a full hour later in the mornings, aim to sleep earlier the night before. Better sleep can do wonders for your well-being, not just those related to pregnancy.
5. Drink water and take fiber
Your doctor likely recommended that you take a prenatal vitamin. And like most prenatal vitamins, yours probably comes loaded with iron. Great for the extra blood you’re now producing. Not so great for your bowel movements.
If you’re battling constipation, take frequent sips of water and take fiber supplements to help with digestion.
And exercise. Body movements will help in so many ways, including helping you cope with constipation. A quick walk around the block during the day can be all you need.
6. Wear loose clothing
You won’t need maternity clothes yet, but wearing loose clothing will help with discomfort. Nothing feels worse than tight jeans pinching your nauseous belly. Instead, wear dresses, loose or flexible pants and flowing or stretchy tops.
And change to “house clothes” right when you get home to lessen the time you’re wearing uncomfortable outfits or shoes.
7. Find distractions
When nausea and fatigue get the best of you, turn to your best distractions. Focusing on something else channels attention from discomfort to something more pleasant or productive.
You might turn on a favorite television show, or talk to a friend. Maybe you’ll take a slow walk or dive in to work. Or you could bake with your toddler and focus on him.
8. Don’t feel guilty about not staying on top of your game
Before morning sickness, I was on top of my game, waking up early, my to-do list ready to go every morning. Nowadays, I feel so unprepared for work, my home and even keeping track of my calendar.
Still, I had to remind myself I won’t be able to work as hard as I did before being pregnant. Not that I want to slack off—I’m still putting in the effort at the office and elsewhere in my life. But I did need to adjust my expectations for the sake of my health and kids. I had to give myself a break, even a temporary one, to relax and pick things up when I start feeling better.
Maybe you feel guilty for sleeping in all weekend instead of doing your usual chores, or you feel terrible turning down social invitations and prefer staying home instead. Morning sickness is temporary. Adjust whatever expectations you may have had in the past to make room for this important time in your life.
9. Get help from others
It’s exhausting being pregnant, so ask for help when you have a chance. My husband took over kid duty and chores. My mom would also come over whenever she can so I can rest and not exert myself.
Depending on who you have nearby, ask friends and family to take care of tasks you’re not up to. Or if you have the budget, consider hiring help such as house cleaning, even if only to do a one-time deep clean. Even though it may not look it, your body is hard at work creating your baby. You need all the help you can get!
10. Encourage your toddler to play independently
Thank goodness my son is good with playing on his own (his thing right now is coloring). Encourage your child to play on his own, giving you an opportunity to lie down and close your eyes.
If he’s looking for more attention, hold “conversations” from the couch. You can watch him run, throw balls, and play with his toys. Because when you’re tired, you can’t muster enough energy to play catch or chase.
Not only is the first trimester tricky, it’s also confusing. Why don’t all pregnant moms experience the symptoms? And why do some keep feeling them well past the first trimester? On top of that, we don’t all share the same symptoms—one mom can feel nauseous while the other feels tired all day.
At least we have remedies to help us get through them. Things like snacking throughout the day and sleeping an hour earlier. Drinking lemon ginger tea and getting fresh air. You won’t get rid of the symptoms 100%, but surviving the first trimester is possible with these tips.
Get more tips:
- 9 Signs You’re in the First Trimester
- Pregnancy To Do List: What to Prepare in the Third Trimester
- Practical Advice for First Time Moms
- 5 Misconceptions about Maternity Clothes: The Truth Revealed!
- 11 Crucial Pregnancy Questions to Ask Your Doctor
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