Motherhood, Pregnancy

Pregnancy Symptoms in The First Trimester

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Surprise! We found out we are pregnant again. Now comes the hard part – dealing with the symptoms associated with the first trimester of pregnancy.

I knew that I wanted another baby two weeks after our first daughter was born.  I just felt in my heart that God was telling me we were supposed to be a family of four.  Even though our first child was born a little under a year ago (yes, I know, it hasn’t been that long), I totally forgot some of the first trimester woes.  That is, until I was thrust back into it recently.

The first time around, I have to admit, my pregnancy was pretty uneventful.  The second time around I’ve had more than my fair share of first trimester woes. 

So I decided to track my symptoms and put together a list of ways I chose to overcome or deal with them. Please know I’m not a doctor. And before you try any of these, please talk to your health care professional. My hope is that you understand there is hope for dealing with the pregnancy symptoms you are experiencing.

My pregnancy symptoms in the first trimester:

Morning Sickness

I will reluctantly share that in my first pregnancy I had no morning sickness.  Don’t worry, I think someone is getting some revenge with this baby. 

For the last 5 weeks I’ve feel like I’ve lived on crackers and ginger ale.  I’ve been battling nausea every day.  I’m nauseous when I’m hungry, I’m nauseous after I eat.  I’m pretty much nauseous morning, noon and night.  At 10 weeks it’s starting to calm slightly, but it’s been a rocky road.

My Helpful Hints: As I mentioned above, crackers and ginger ale are a definite must. I also found that some deep breathing for a couple of minutes would settle my tummy a bit. Other than that I would avoid the foods that seemed to trigger it or stay out of restaurants with strong food scents.

Exhaustion

Oh my gosh I am SOOOOOO tired.  I get through a full week of work, day care drop off and pick up, packing lunches, commuting, cooking dinners, laundry, grocery shopping and by the weekend I literally think I could sleep for 48 hours straight. 

Making a human is hard work and your body just needs more downtime that you normally get, especially in early pregnancy.  But at times it’s overwhelming when the exhaustion comes over you in waves at the most unexpected times. 

My Helpful Hints: When my daughter sleeps (on the weekend anyway), I sleep.  I remember the first time around I would head to my car at lunch and take a nap during the work day. 

And if the laundry doesn’t get done today, it will still be there tomorrow.  Plus, let’s face it, during your pregnancy, you just need your husband to step up to take on more.  (and thankfully mine does)

Swelling/Bloating

I remember the first time around at 10 weeks I was just starting to feel like my clothes were getting a little tight.  The second time around that came around week 6!  Which completely had me dumbstruck.  Even at 10 weeks along I’ve gained 1 pound (possibly aided by the fact that I can’t eat much), yet I’m still already in my maternity clothes. 

We went on a road trip (about an 8 hour drive) when I was about 5 weeks along.  The last 2 1/2 hours we drove without stopping and by the time we got to our destination, my ankles were so swollen I had to put my feet up immediately and stayed off of them most of the next day. 

My Helpful Hints: I hate to say it, but when you’re in a situation where you can’t move often like I was in that car, compressions socks are your friend.  They aren’t fun to put on and they certainly aren’t sexy.  But they are a necessary evil. I used them on a 3 hour flight during my first pregnancy and they were a lifesaver there too.

If you have a desk job, I would also advocate getting up and moving every so often. It really did help me. Physical activity in general is so important for you and for baby throughout your pregnancy. I also invested in a footrest and kept it under my desk so that my feet were elevated if needed.

Headaches

Just when you can’t really take much for a headache, you get them regularly.  I mean, let’s be real, Tylenol isn’t much help when you have a splitting headache. 

My Helpful Hints: Some people believe in cool compresses…I would rather have a warm compress on my forehead.  Shutting my eyes for 10 minutes and putting that warm compress over my forehead honestly has done more to abate the pain than any pill. Ask your doctor about any drugs you take for headaches. I did take Tylenol on occasion, but I really tried to limit any medications during both of my pregnancies.

Food Aversions

I can’t even tell you the number of smells and foods that make me sick right now.  I go grocery shopping and halfway through am overcome with nausea because I’m surrounded by food.  Any food! 

I make my daughter’s baby food and even that has been a challenge lately.  There are just some of her foods that I can’t stand to breathe in.   Eggs are one of my favorite foods, but right now…forget it.  I won’t come within 10 feet of one. 

The one thing that doesn’t seem to make me ill is ice cream.  But you can’t live on ice cream your entire pregnancy…or can you?

My Helpful Hints: It sounds silly, but avoid foods that may you sick. Also, if you find something that doesn’t make you sick, stick with it. I joked about ice cream, but if your food aversions are making you so sick you can only eat crackers and ice cream sometimes, than have crackers and ice cream.

Hopefully you’ll find some healthier options too, but eating something is better than nothing. And this too shall pass.

Heartburn

I didn’t notice any heartburn the first time around until later in the second trimester, and it was the worst at night when I was trying to sleep. The last few weeks of my first pregnancy I used 6 pillows to prop me up in bed because I literally couldn’t sleep laying down due to the intense heartburn.

This time it started a few weeks ago.  And sadly…comes mostly after eating sweets (like ice cream – UGH).  Of course, that hasn’t deterred me from eating sweets…yet.  But heartburn is no fun.

My Helpful Hints: I carry TUMS everywhere I go. Talk to your doctor about an antacid that they recommend, but mine was fine with me taking TUMS. There is a limit on how many you can have day, but I was typically able to stay under that.

Also, when you can, try to avoid foods that are particularly acidic. The other thing I tried to do was drink a lot of water. That seemed to help dilute the acid and tone it down a bit. And, yes, adding another pillow or two at bed can help a bit with sleeping.

Constipation

Again, I never had an issue with this in my first pregnancy.  But a couple of weeks ago I noticed something beginning to change down there.  The horror!!!  There are so many strange (and embarrassing) things that happen to your body during pregnancy, I’m not sure why this is one of them. 

My Helpful Hints: For this one, Colace will become your BFF.  I first took it in the hospital after my c-section and it was a lifesaver then and now. It’s not a laxative, only a stool softener. But it helps. Again consult your doctor before taking any medications, however.

Breast Tenderness

In an odd turn of events, I feel like this was worse the first time around.  But it’s still there.  Because we got pregnant via in-vitro fertilization I am still required to take hormone shots until week 11.  These have to be intra-muscular on the backside (oh, it’s tons of fun).  Typically I lay on the bed face down while my husband gives me the injections.  I’m counting down my last 9 days with fervor because any longer and my chest will not be able to endure the pressure.

My Helpful Hints: You could try warm compresses if the tenderness is too much. I also made it a point to wear really comfortable and supportive bras. I actually went out and got fitted for three nursing bras that I wore the second half of my pregnancy.

Overcoming First Trimester Woes

Yes, being pregnant is not all butterflies and roses.  But, even with these annoying symptoms, I am so incredibly grateful.  Grateful for the precious gift of life growing inside of me.  Grateful that after 4+ years of going thru IVF for our first child, that this in-vitro fertilization cycle worked on the first time around.

So thankful for our growing family and the experience of being able to bring life into the world again.  So no matter what symptoms I experience, it is worth it in the end.  Because as soon as you hold that baby in your arms, everything else melts away.

pregnancy symptoms first trimester
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