If you’ve recently found out you’re pregnant, get prepared with these necessities for surviving your first trimester.
When you’re trying to get pregnant, I don’t think there’s anything more exciting than seeing those two pink lines on your home pregnancy test.
The initial rush of excitement and anticipation of your new baby is unlike any other feeling.
Unfortunately, for most women, within about 2 weeks, the initial pregnancy excitement is replaced by the dreaded first trimester symptoms including morning sickness and fatigue.
In my opinion, surviving the first trimester of pregnancy is the most difficult part.
As a Nurse Practitioner, I try to remind myself that these symptoms are all a good sign that the baby is developing well.
However, in the midst of morning sickness and exhaustion, that’s not always comforting enough!
Luckily, the good news is, there are ways to make the first trimester symptoms manageable.
Plus, always remember, these symptoms don’t last forever!
Learn more about surviving and thriving throughout your first trimester with these must-haves.
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When is the First Trimester of Pregnancy?
From the moment you see those two pink lines on a pregnancy test, you’re in the first trimester of pregnancy.
The first trimester is considered to be from the time you find out you’re pregnant until week 13. Technically it begins the first day of your last period, but you won’t know you’re pregnant until about 4 weeks later.
Most women don’t begin to experience any pregnancy symptoms until about week 6, but everyone is different and symptoms can begin from day one.
Learn how to survive your first trimester symptoms like a pro. Also, make sure to prepare for your first trimester with this first trimester to-do list.
Surviving First Trimester of Pregnancy Symptoms
During the first trimester of pregnancy, your hormones are changing rapidly in order to support a baby for the next 9 months.
Due to these changes, we experience many of the icky first trimester symptoms you’ve probably heard about including morning sickness, exhaustion, and sore breasts.
Surviving the first trimester symptoms is possible with a few easy tricks.
This is the one symptom I personally hate the most. For most women, morning sickness isn’t an accurate name because symptoms last all day long.
Your nausea is typically worse whenever your stomach is empty but can occur any time throughout the day.
The best ways to combat morning sickness are by drinking plenty of fluids, eating small frequent meals, and ginger and peppermint supplements.
Drink as Much Water as You Can
Try to drink as much water as you can all day long. You may not want to drink, but drinking water goes a long way for nausea.
Try drinking through a metal straw. This helps me drink more water when my stomach isn’t feeling up for it.
You can try flavored water or seltzer if plain water isn’t for you, but try to stay as hydrated as you can.
Eat Small Frequent Meals
Although you may not feel up to eating when you’re nauseous, small snacks really work wonders with morning sickness. Aim to eat a small snack every 2-3 hours to keep something in your stomach.
Don’t worry if you’re not able to tolerate a completely well-balanced diet at this point.
For most women, morning sickness does not last beyond the first trimester, so you can catch up on your vegetables later on.
Ginger and Peppermint
Another helpful trick for morning sickness is drinking ginger tea and sucking on strong peppermint hard candies.
I love these peppermint Tummy Drops which are natural and don’t contain any high fructose corn syrup. They’re a must all first trimester and easy to pop whenever you need a quick savior from nausea.
Another lifesaver for morning sickness is Sea Bands. These bands use the concepts of acupuncture and apply pressure on your wrists.
I was skeptical at first, but really noticed a big difference with them. These have even helped me combat motion sickness while flying which has been a huge issue for me for years!
If you try one thing for your morning sickness, Sea Bands are a must!
If your nausea is accompanied by frequent vomiting or is severe, speak with your OB. Some women experience severe nausea and vomiting which lasts throughout pregnancy which is known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
This typically requires prescription medications and extra care to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients throughout your pregnancy (AmericanPreganancy.org).
Fatigue and Exhaustion
The fatigue and exhaustion during the first trimester seem to hit hard and rapidly. One day you’re hardly feeling pregnant at all and the next day all you want to do is curl up in bed.
To make matters worse, pregnant women aren’t supposed to drink more than 200mg of caffeine per day (about one cup). So now you’re nauseous and exhausted, but can’t rely on too much caffeine to perk you up.
Frequent Rest and Naps
The best way to combat this exhaustion is to try to allow yourself frequent rest breaks. If you’re a first-time mom and have the ability to nap, listen to your body and rest as much as you need to.
Unfortunately, this isn’t doable for a lot of women, especially those with young children or who are working full time.
If this is the case, try to allow yourself extra sleep at night time too. Make yourself go to bed earlier and leave som chores for another day. It’s so important to rest up and listen to your body’s needs.
If you have a hard time sleeping, read more about how to naturally manage your sleep without any medications.
Also, try to exercise each day. Even though exercising may be the last thing on your mind, movement helps provide an energy boost when you really need it.
Exercise also has been shown to be helpful in easing the symptoms of morning sickness.
If you’re looking to pregnancy-safe exercises, read more about my favorite YouTube Workout Channels.
Not every woman experiences headaches during the first trimester, but this is a common problem for many. Headaches are typically blamed on a number of factors including rapid hormonal changes, dehydration, and fatigue.
Drink More Water
One easy way to combat headaches is by drinking up. Try to avoid dehydration by drinking water all day long.
Also, try to rest as much as you can. Schedule in rest breaks and lie down if you’re experiencing frequent headaches.
Tylenol If Ok’d by your OB
If your headaches are relentless and moderate-severe speak with your OB. Tylenol is generally considered safe to take during pregnancy for severe headaches.
However, during pregnancy, it’s always important to speak with your healthcare provider prior to taking any medications or supplements.
Along with nausea and fatigue, breast soreness is one of the most common first trimester symptoms. Hormone changes are also to blame for the rapid increase in size and tenderness of your breasts.
Comfortable and Supportive Bras
The best way to help with breast soreness is by investing in some comfortable and supportive bras.
I love my Kindred Bravely Organic Cotton Bra (as well as their sleep bras when you’re ready to breastfeed!) These bras are supportive, but also so comfortable that they take away a lot of the discomfort you may be feeling.
Congestion is another common symptom during the first trimester of pregnancy. Once you become pregnant, your blood supply doubles, including circulation within your sinuses.
Many women find that they feel congested.
Hot Tea and Steam
Although this congestion won’t completely go away, you can try to ease some of your symptoms. Safe options for congestion are drinking hot tea (decaf if possible) and taking hot steam showers to combat the congestion.
Sensitivity to Smells
The super sense of smell came as a surprise to me. This is a fun symptom, especially if you’re someone like me who is constantly exposed to less pleasant smells at work (where are all my health care workers?)!
Warn CoWorkers and Family
Make sure to alert your partner, coworkers and friends your aversion to any certain smells including nail polish, strong perfumes, and other scents. This will help avoid your discomfort or out-lashing on your loved ones.
If you can’t avoid exposure to certain smells, try sucking on a piece of peppermint when you know you’ll be exposed to smells. This should help distract your brain from the scent and ease the nausea that is probably coming along with it.
Surviving the First Trimester Symptoms
In a nutshell, during the first trimester, your main goals are to eat what you tolerate, drink as much as you can, exercise, and rest.
Keep pushing forward, stay busy, and before you know it, your symptoms will seem to magically lift just as quickly as they appeared.
You’ll enter the wonderful second trimester which is usually the easiest trimester for most women.
Stay on track with your first trimester to-do list and you’ll enter your second trimester before you know it!
So keep reminding yourself that all of these symptoms are temporary and they are all a sign that your baby is growing and developing.