Before we chat about how to survive the first trimester – let’s start with a big fat congratulations on your news! Whilst I totally appreciate not all pregnancy announcements are positive, I can promise you that this will eventually be the best thing to have happened to your life. And if you are over the moon with your news then even better 🙂 But let’s get to that after we have figured out how to survive the first trimester though.
Because I know from experience just surviving the first trimester can be so difficult. If you are new to my blog, then I’m a Mum of two and with my first I suffered horrendous morning sickness and the second I experienced something called hyperemeis gravidarum – which is an extreme form of pregnancy sickness.
Sickness, raging hormones, tiredness you just cannot describe even if you had the energy and of course the worry, which is something not spoken of often. Not to mention all of the questions. So many questions.
I feel you though and I’m here to tell you that no matter how you are feeling now, there’s a big fat light at the end of the tunnel, waving its arms and welcoming you in.
Before we get into the tips I’ve used to survive my first trimesters with my head in a bucket, please do always consult your doctor or midwife if you are feeling very unwell or want reassurance. In fact, if it’s your first pregnancy, you might as well have them on speed dial – I know I did.
Know the difference between pregnancy sickness & Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
Both can feel miserable and unbelievably awful but one is life threatening. If you get to a point where you cannot keep anything down at all, you need to speak to your doctor ASAP. That is not just “morning sickness”. Read my account of HG here if you are worried you might have that. It’s really quite a separate subject.
Eat whatever you can tolerate
I lived off ready salted crisps because that was literally the only thing I could stomach. I know you’re pregnant and you want to give your baby the best start in life and nurture your growing body but please, if you’re sick as a pig, just eat whatever you fancy (so long as it’s not patê or blue cheese obvs).
Prenatal vitamins might make you sicker
Ok, I am not a doctor but for me this was absolutely true. My doctor said it was likely the levels of iron in the vitamins that made me feel like this and told me to stop taking everything but folic acid. Which I did and went on to have two healthy babies even after all of the crisps.
Choose sleep over friends. Choose sleep over family. Choose sleep over Facebook. Seriously – whenever and wherever you can – choose sleep. You need it more than ever. A sneaky lunch time nap in the car part-way through my working day was always my thing.
Choose ready meals
Sorry not sorry but if you have other children already then there are a bunch of ways you can feed them without actually having to cook up a storm. Beans on toast is one of them.
The others are ready meals. Not the full of fat, salt, lard type but the home-cooked kinda style. I reviewed Thyme ready meals a few months ago and they were absolutely lovely. They came delivered frozen to the door and all I had to do was bung them in the oven. There are lots of companies that will do this, so hop online or get someone you trust to do it for you.
No guilt allowed. We are in survival mode remember?
Stock up on snacks
This is completely irrelevant to women who can’t keep anything down but if you can still eat and drink then I used to find an empty stomach was a trigger for the nausea. My mum told me to keep biscuits at the side of the bed to nibble first thing in the morning, even before really opening your eyes. And I’ve always been able to find the biscuits in the dark so this was not a problem. Keep whatever your snack of choice is, close to hand at all times of day and night and never let your stomach get completely empty and hungry.
Pass the time however you can
With your first pregnancy this might be easier as there will be no little people to teach your vomiting skills to. Do whatever it takes for you to pass the time – for me this was lying in bed, with my eyes closed listening to reruns of Kirsty & Phil on Location Location Location. Don’t judge. They got me through some seriously bad weeks. Just do whatever you need to do and remember it will pass.
Don’t drink fluids with meals
Again, I am not a doctor but drinking small sips throughout the day (lemon and barley juice worked a treat for me) kept me hydrated. If I drank with a meal though? Nope. It’s all coming back. You get the drift. Try avoiding actual meal times and just having the fluid 30 mins before and after (and the rest of the day obvs).
Try acupressure bands
I don’t know the science behind this but I have friends who swear by wearing acupressure bands in the first trimester. My sickness was so severe that I was prescribed medication by the doctors so I didn’t bother with this myself but I thought it was worth including because when you feel desperate, anything is worth a try. And it’s better than being told to eat sodding ginger (doesn’t work btw) for the 10th time.
Anyone who can take your other children, help with shopping, clean your home or do anything to help – you need to let them. My favourite saying is that parenting takes a village and it starts right here in the first trimester.
So my love, they are my tips for how to survive the first trimester with your head in a bucket. I’m sending so much sympathy your way because it really is a totally rubbish time but you can do this. It will be over before you know it.
Good luck mon amis and remember, it won’t last forever