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If you saw my post on Instagram post the other day, then you know that hubby and I found out in August that we were cooking up something special (and totally unexpected).
Well, I was too. LOL!
Hubby and I had been talking about starting a family but we had expected it to be 6-12 months down the road. So, this pregnancy came as quite a shock and surprise to us.
Even though I have spoken about wanting children, deep down, I don’t know if I ever imagined I’d get around to doing it. If I’m being 100% honest, being pregnant has never been appealing to me. I never really wanted to go through the pregnancy process.
And I have had many doubts about stepping into the role of a mother. Sure, I like babies, but I never was one of those women who just knew they were destined to be a mom. It’s been an area that I’ve really had to do some soul-searching in.
What a Journey!
The pregnancy journey so far has been challenging on so many levels, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This first trimester has been ROUGH. I’ve been told by countless people that the second trimester is a whole different (energetic, happy) ball game. Bring it on!
Because this has been such a journey — and quite honestly one that I am 99.99% confident that I will only go through once — I wanted to share about it with you. Each trimester, I’ll share a recap on how things went, things I learned, what was helpful/not helpful, etc. This also is functioning as a bit of a diary for me because so much has happened that there’s no way I would remember it all if I hadn’t written it down as I went along.
These posts are going to be way longer than my normal posts, just because I have so much to share. A lot happened over the course of the first 13 weeks. So bear with me. I hope I’m not too boring. 🙂
One thing you can expect in these updates is brutal honesty. I’m not going to sugar coat things and I’m going to open up about the emotional and mental health struggles I’ve faced. Because they’ve been way more intense than I ever expected.
Shall we take a look at the first trimester? Let’s go! I recorded a video that hits all the high points, but if you want the nitty-gritty details, those are all below!
My First Trimester Recap: Symptoms, Cravings, Exercise, Supplements, and More
How I Found Out
I found out I was pregnant at about 4 1/2 weeks. I was a week late on my period, which was very unusual for me. My cycles have been super consistent and on-time my entire life. There have only been a couple of times in my entire life that I’ve ever been late (usually 2-3 days). The first period right after my Dad died, I ended up being a full week late, which I know was due to the intense stress and grief.
I decided to wait for a full week before taking a pregnancy test because I had been under a lot of personal and professional stress at that point. I just assumed that I was having a repeat of what happened when my Dad passed. Also, all of my pregnancy symptoms at that point were the same as what I experience when I’m nearing the start of my period — headaches, mild moodiness, digestive upset, and breast tenderness — so, I really didn’t think anything of it.
Well, the week came and went and I decided it was time. With a tightness in my chest, I drove to the grocery store early on a Sunday morning. I was filled with a crazy mix of dread and excitement.
I grabbed a two-pack of tests at the grocery store, came home, read the instructions like 7 million times (because dang it, those tests are EXPENSIVE and I didn’t want to screw up and waste one). And then I sat at the dining room table (hubby was sleeping), trying to work up the courage to go to the bathroom.
Finally did and almost immediately got the positive pregnancy result. The test said it would take 3-5 minutes. Well, that second line showed up instantaneously. There was no questioning it. I was pregnant.
I looked at myself in the mirror. I laughed. And then I cried. And then I hyperventilated a little. And then I went and woke up hubby. 🙂
First Trimester: Physical Symptoms
As I mentioned above, many of the symptoms I experienced early on were similar to what I experience before my periods each month, so that’s why I didn’t think that I was pregnant. But as time went on, I definitely got my fair share of common pregnancy symptoms.
External Yeast Infection
As someone who has never, ever had a yeast infection or any other vaginal health issue in her entire life, this one really threw me for a loop. Exactly one week after I took the test, I had developed thrush all over my groin. I did my best to treat it naturally at home but to no avail. I ended up having to go to my doc and get a prescription powder to get things under control. Apparently the immune suppression of pregnancy threw my body into total chaos right off the bat.
I had daily headaches pretty consistently for the first few weeks of my pregnancy. After that, they tapered off and only happened occasionally.
Physical, Mental, and Emotional Fatigue
This was the worst fatigue I’d ever experienced. As someone who has suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), I’m no stranger to being tired. But this took tired to a whole new level. I found myself actually needing to take naps, which I NEVER do, and going to bed at 8:00-8:30 pm each night and sleeping until at least 7:00 am. And it wasn’t just physical fatigue. There was mental and emotional fatigue too. I had a really hard time working during my first trimester because my brain always felt so foggy and tired.
Thanks to all those hormones swirling around in my body, my moods got a little chaotic. I had a couple of moments where I had total meltdowns with uncontrollable crying. Around week 8, I started to even out a bit and even though I still dealt with some strong emotions, the emotional chaos from the first several weeks was not as strong. I did end up having three panic attacks at week 10, which I will talk about later in this post.
Food Aversions and Nausea
Yeowzah. The food aversions were rough. They hit around week 6 and didn’t let up until I got into week 12. And even then, it was only a mild reprieve, because at week 14, they came back full force. The nausea wasn’t horrible, but it was definitely enough to make me feel pretty cruddy. I’ll talk more about this below.
I had really bad upper belly bloating. Some days I looked like I was already 6 months pregnant. My doctor was actually surprised at this because normally pregnancy bloating happens in the lower belly region, but mine was in my upper. I did start taking extra digestive enzymes and that helped quite a bit. The bloating has been with me this whole time, but has definitely lessened in severity once I got towards the end of my first trimester.
Breast and Nipple Tenderness/Sensitivity
This has stayed with me for pretty much the entire time I’ve been pregnant, but it’s not nearly as severe as it was there between weeks 5 and 10. For that period of time, even drying my breasts off after showering felt like I was rubbing sandpaper all over my skin. It was so painful.
I’m really protective of my sleep. Of all the things I do for my health, sleep is the one thing that trumps them all. It doesn’t matter if I’m moving my body well, eating well, managing my stress, and doing all the other “right” things for health, if my sleep is messed up, nothing else matters. So, getting used to having to pee multiple times a night was tough at first, but I eventually fell into a pretty decent routine. I’d say of all the things I am worried about in becoming a new mother, the loss of sleep is the most concerning.
I’ve spoken before on Instagram about how one of my chronic illnesses and a very poor thirst instinct can leave me chronically dehydrated if I’m not careful. When I found out I was pregnant, I made it a priority to make sure I was getting in plenty of liquids per day. My goal was half of my body weight in ounces and that seems to be working really well for me. Some days I need even more than that, which I find crazy, but I’m also busy creating 50% more blood volume so I guess that’s to be expected.
The increased water made me feel good physically, but along with the crazy hormones made me need to pee way more often than normal. I pretty much had to start planning my walks and errands around where I knew the cleanest bathrooms were. And there were times where hubby and I would be out running errands and he’d have to stop off at a grocery store so I could dart inside to pee.
Pregnancy rhinitis (also known as vasomotor rhinitis of pregnancy). Approximately 20% of women will experience this symptom. This was a symptom that was 100% unexpected for me and quite frankly, I think this might be the most miserable symptom I’ve had. Right off the bat, I got a little congested, but I assumed it was Fall allergies. Around week 8 I started getting even more congested. I then thought maybe I was getting a cold, but a cold never came. I just stayed congested with that icky feeling of stuff in your throat all the time.
It got a lot worse around week 11. I was not eating any of the foods that normally make me congested (i.e. dairy) so I knew it wasn’t food-related. Eating would actually make the congestion worse and I’d typically have coughing fits after I ate (sometimes even causing myself to throw up). 🙁
It has been miserable. Turns out this is a common symptom in pregnancy because the surging hormones can cause swelling of the nasal passages, leading to excess mucus production. Yep. This was me to a T.
Crazy Sensitive Gag Reflex
I’ve always had a sensitive gag reflex, but this has been a whole new realm of sensitivity. It has become so sensitive that even brushing my teeth often makes me throw up. Blech. I cannot wait until this goes away.
First Trimester: Mental and Emotional Health
I added this section because I think it’s a really important thing for us to talk about. Maternal mental and emotional health can really impact the health of our pregnancy and postpartum. And, after speaking to other pregnant women and mamas, I discovered that there is still a lot of shame around these topics, so it deserved a whole section to itself.
When I had my first doctor’s appointment, I scored a high on their prenatal depression assessment. I was encouraged to seek some counseling, community support, etc. (which I did). I also really focused on my spiritual growth and development during this period and it has been a huge help. I have to say that I was feeling so much better by the start of my second trimester.
To be honest, during my first trimester I was feeling
a little very blue. We can’t discount the insane hormone fluctuations on our mental health, but there was also a lot of fear and anxiety around the whole process. I’ve never been good at dealing with the unexpected and frankly, learning to share my body with another being (who was triggering crazy weird symptoms that I’d never experienced) was stressful. I really struggled with being OK with letting go of this need to know what was going to happen from day to day, week to week.
And, if I’m also being honest, I had some moments wondering if we’d made a terrible mistake. Sometimes I feel like I can barely manage to take care of myself effectively. How on earth are we going to take care of a little human? And I sometimes feel like I am quite selfish. I like my quiet time, my “me” time, and my sleep. Plus, I already struggle with anxiety and fear around my own health (working on my anxiety and fears is a life-long challenge for me) and now we’ll have a little human who relies solely on us to make all of these important decisions for them.
The pressure felt REALLY BIG. And I think this is really hard to admit because there are so many women out there who would give anything to be able to be pregnant. So the shame I felt around feeling that way at times was horrible. How dare I be so ungrateful?
On top of all of that, I ended up having an incredibly stressful experience with my first doctor’s office. It was a nightmare, one that lasted two weeks and resulted in my ending up having 3 separate panic attacks in less than 3 days. If you read my weekly newsletter las month, you’ll know what I am referring it.
Long story short, I don’t have traditional health insurance. Instead, I am part of a Christian health share organization where bills are shared among the members. Because it’s handled as though I am a cash-pay client, there is extra paperwork (and financial burden) that I have to deal with upfront before I can submit things to my health share for potential reimbursement.
My first doctor’s billing departments (not one, but two that I had to deal with) were a complete and utter nightmare. I tried for over two weeks to get the paperwork I needed to start submitting my bills for reimbursement. I called every day trying to get in touch with the one person who I was told could help me. She never EVER took my calls. She never EVER returned my calls. She never EVER got me the information I needed.
Even after speaking to a supervisor, and being assured she’d take care of it, nothing changed. The last straw was when I went in for another appointment and it turned into a total debacle. The right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing. It quickly disintegrated into such a mess and I had a moment of clarity:
“Is this what my entire pregnancy is going to be like if I stay with this practice?”
The obvious answer was yes.
And with that, hubby and I made the decision to switch practices. Which left us with nearly $3,000 in prenatal bills that we will not receive coverage for, which sucks. But my mental and emotional health is worth more than that.
The amount of stress this whole experience put on me was immense. I’m going to be writing some specific blog posts about this because the side effects from the panic attacks were terrible. I was miserable for almost all of October as I dealt with the residue of this stress and the fallout it caused in my body. I was having all sorts of health flares from it.
Things have gotten a lot better with time. I found a new doctor in a new practice to work with. I feel good about my decision to switch. And I feel optimistic about the rest of my pregnancy being a lot more chill and relaxed than the first trimester was.
Yes, I still feel some fear and overwhelm. But I also grew so much in these first 13 weeks and feel like I entered my second trimester in a much better mental state. I reflected constantly on things. I sought God daily in prayer and Bible study. I allowed myself to be open and vulnerable with my husband and support network about how I was truly feeling.
In all of my reflection, I can now see how this baby was a direct blessing from God, and quite literally an answered prayer. It hit me one morning that I had prayed about this not two weeks before I found out we were pregnant. That memory had slipped my mind until about week 8 and then it came back in my mind one morning when I was praying.
I know God is using this pregnancy to teach me some unbelievably deep lessons that I may have never otherwise have learned:
- Patience with the process.
- Letting go of expectations.
- Letting go of this need for perfection and control.
- Trust and faith in Him.
As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I had been talking about starting a family, but we were not actively trying for a baby yet. But, God’s plans and timing are always going to be different from ours… And so here we are. 🙂
First Trimester: Exercise/Movement
Exercise during pregnancy is so, so, SO important. It helps every aspect of your pregnancy, from reducing your risk of complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, to strengthing and toning your body for an easier labor and delivery. It also helps reduce stress and anxiety and helps keep those moods in a better place, even with all the crazy hormone surges taking place.
There is also research that shows your activity level actually affects babies in similar ways to how it impacts their mothers. For example, better cardiovascular health and better brain health. (source 1)
If you already have an established routine, awesome! Just chat with your doctor real quick about what you normally do and make sure you’re good to go. Most exercises are still going to be OK, but depending on the person there may need to be some modifications to how and what you do.
If you don’t have an exercise routine, now is a great time to start. Again, you need to talk to your doctor about what would be right for you and your current health status. Most likely they will suggest things like walking and yoga. Anything to get your body moving in a gentle way.
I already had a pretty established exercise routine when I first got pregnant. I was walking daily, doing HIIT training (high-intensity interval training) on the rebounder every other day, and weight training 2-3 times a week. I was also doing yoga a few times a week as well.
When I found out I was pregnant, I stopped rebounding. I did some research on it and although there were a few people who said it was totally safe during pregnancy, the vast majority of information I read said it was not. So I quit that completely. Boy, I really miss it… I love rebounding.
I was planning on keeping on with the weight training, but my fatigue got so bad so quickly that I just did not have the energy for it. I still took daily walks and started focusing more on yoga and stretching. My walks really helped me boost my mood, especially during that uber stressful period that I spoke about above.
As I neared my second trimester, I was still very tired, but I started to feel a litte stamina coming back some. I looked forward to being able to incorporate more movement (and possibly some weights again) as I started to feel better.
First Trimester: Food Cravings/Aversions
Cravings were pretty much non-existent during this time. As a matter of fact, it would be easier to talk about all the foods I didn’t eat, rather than what I was eating. LOL! Over the course of my first trimester, I lost 5 pounds, which I knew was normal so I wasn’t concerned at all.
Food aversions (smell, taste, and texture) were CRAZY strong for me and boy was it weird. I’m not normally a picky eater and I am pretty accustomed to eating a specific way so having these aversions threw me for a total loop. They seemed to hit me overnight. I went from being super hungry and eating everything normally the first few weeks of my pregnancy, to being super hungry but not being able to eat much without gagging a little.
My aversions shifted from day to day, week to week, but one thing that was consistent was meat. All meat. It started out with just ground beef at 6 weeks. I was eating a beef burger for breakfast and nearly hurled all over the dining table after a couple of bites.
Then, the next day, I was eating chicken sausage for breakfast and had the same experience. And I tried to eat leftover salmon salad (that I had eaten for dinner the night before and LOVED) and that left me so queasy I couldn’t finish it.
Needless to say, Willow (my dog) got a lot of extra food during all this. Good for her. Not so good for my grocery budget. I hate wasting food.
Oh, and get this! I started hating soft butter. Ick. I have an airtight container that we store our butter in on our countertop since we go through it so fast. I was spooning some butter onto my veggies one morning and gagged. From then on, I couldn’t eat room temp butter. But cold butter? Yes, please! I would sometimes cut off little chunks of butter to nibble on when I was craving fat.
I was largely vegetarian weeks 6-12. Thankfully I could still tolerate eggs, and on occasion, a piece of turkey sausage or bacon. I also didn’t have any aversions to plant foods. In fact, I really ate quite a bit of veggies. I went through a phase where I craved big salads. Big salad bar salads with TONS of different toppings.
Organic peanut butter and I became really good friends. I was one of the few foods that I could always eat without getting queasy. Peanut butter spread on Siete Almond Flour Tortillas was my go-to there for awhile. Handfuls of sprouted pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds were a regular snack too.
Smoothie bowls were also another thing that sat well in my belly. I would top them with some nuts, seeds, and cacao nibs to give me some crunch and help with digestion (chewing is important to help digestion function optimally — just drinking your food does not allow for some of that process to take place).
Interesting enough, I went through a week-long Indian food phase around 7 weeks. That’s all I wanted. So I ate a lot of it, mainly the frozen Indian meals from my health food store. After that week was up, the mere thought of Indian food made me queasy and to this day, I still can’t think about eating it.
I also went through a phase around 10 weeks where all I wanted was takeout. So I rotated between Chipotle, Tokyo Joe’s, Noodles and Co., and Qdoba. For some reason, I was able to eat some meat when I got it from a restaurant so at least I was getting one serving of meat per day. I normally don’t like eating out very often, but when you are feeling starved and queasy at the same time, you honestly have to go with what works. And then, just like with the Indian food, after that week passed, I didn’t want to eat out anymore. So strange.
Around week 12, things started to shift. My appetite came back slowly. I found that I was actually starting to crave steak. I even managed to eat a can of salmon at week 13, which was a HUGE milestone for me. And then at week 14, it started all over again. Fun times.
First Trimester: Supplements I’m Taking
When I found out I was pregnant, I actually stopped taking a lot of my normal supplements, especially since I was taking several alcohol-based herb tinctures. My Naturopath actually believes in a “less is more” approach to supplementing during pregnancy so she has been helping me tailor what I was taking to what I needed at any given time. Always speak with your doctor about what supplements are right for you. What I’m sharing below is what worked for me and was approved by my docs.
Make sure you seek out a high-quality prenatal vitamin. Be especially cautious with prenatals if you know you have any genetic polymorphisms/methylation issues (like MTHFR) because most are going to contain folic acid (a synthetic form of B9), instead of folate (a natural form of B9).
Even if you don’t know your genetic status, most practitioners I know err on the side of caution when it comes to this and encourage their clients to look for supplements that have properly methylated forms of the B vitamins. There’s no harm in doing this and it could help you prevent potential issues. I’ve linked to each product I have been using in case you want to look into them for yourself or someone you love.
- Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal – Specifically formulated for those with genetic polymorphisms (like MTHFR). My ND loves this brand because of the amount of time and research the creator puts into the formulation. I’ve tolerated it very well. No weird burps, heartburn, or other issues.
- Choline (KAL brand) – Choline is one nutrient that many doctors and alternative practitioners are starting to recognize as necessary during pregnancy. Some prenatals will contain choline, but it’s not usually enough and this is one supplement that there’s no known toxic dose of so you don’t have to worry about overloading the system as long as you take as directed.
- Garden of Life Organic Digest+ Enzymes – Ahh, digestion. What a mess it gets during pregnancy. I have not been one to have a lot of digestive issues, but pregnancy changed that with the onset of bloating, indigestion, heartburn, and loose stools. Thank you, hormones.
- American Health Super Papaya Enzyme Plus – My ND started me on this when I began complaining about the bloating. I believe it helped, although it didn’t take away the bloating completely. Some days I still looked like I was 6 months pregnant, regardless of what I ate or took.
- Dr. Clark Store Betaine HCL (this is a pork-free product*) – Hydrochloric acid is really important to our digestive function and it also decreases with age and stress. So, it’s a good idea to give the body some extra support during pregnancy and beyond if you tolerate it well. As an added bonus, HCL is our body’s first line of immune defense and since our immune system is suppressed during pregnancy, it’s not a bad idea to make sure you’re giving the body a little extra. *Note: most HCL supplements contain pork (the pepsin and pancreatin in digestive support supplements are almost always derived from pork).
- Pure Synergy Pure Radiance C – Super dosing vitamin C during pregnancy can be a bad thing, but you want to make sure you are still getting enough. But I did still take this whole-food form daily (multiple times per day) to offer my body extra support since I was heading into cold and flu season right when I got pregnant. And, since this is a whole-food form, I wasn’t as worried about overdoing it.
- Source Naturals Magnesium Malate / Solaray Magnesium Glycinate / Perfect Supplements Magnesium Citrate* – Depending on how I was feeling and how my bowels were acting, I would take extra magnesium. It does help with relaxation and sleep (glycinate form) and digestion (malate form). The citrate form I actually used in my homemade electrolyte drink on the days where I worked out and sweated a lot more. *Note: If you shop Perfect Supplements, make sure you use coupon code DELICIOUS10 to save 10% on your order.
- Biotics Research Bio-D-Mulsion Forte – My vitamin D levels are always really low, no matter what I do (one of the side effects of autoimmune disease). I supplemented with a small amount (4000 IUs) and had my doc check my levels so I knew how to adjust.
- Barleans Fish Oil – Those omega-3 fatty acids are so important for your developing baby and you, mama! They’re good for your cardiovascular system and your brain, both things that get taxed extensively during pregnancy.
- Megaspore Biotic* – My very favorite gut health supplement. It’s a 100% spore-based, broad-spectrum probiotic clinically shown to maintain healthy gut barrier function. This unique all-spore formula effectively reconditions the gut by promoting microbial diversity and maintaining key health-promoting, commensal gut bacteria. *Note: It’s only available through health providers so if you’re ever interested in ordering, let me know!
- Solaray Pre/Post Natal Probiotic / Nature’s Way Fortify Women’s 90 Billion / Garden of Life Raw Probiotics Vaginal Care – I rotated through these probiotics, depending on what was on sale at my health food store. To be honest, I have never found a probiotic that works as well for me as Megaspore, but I do have to say these three all helped with my yeast infection flare and keeping my netherregions happy.
First Trimester: Sleep and Rest
Ahh, sleep. How quickly it got disrupted. Almost immediately I was having to get up and pee in the middle of the night. Usually 2-3 times, which I was totally not used to. I rarely had to get up to pee in the middle of the night before getting pregnant, so I found this really annoying for the first couple weeks.
Have I mentioned how protective I am about my sleep? Yeah. I HATE when it gets disrupted.
But, this is all part of the process.
In addition to the peeing, I also was trying to train myself to start sleeping on my left side because that is the ideal side to lay on once you get further along. Thankfully I am already a side sleeper, but I discovered that I much prefer to lay on my right side, so it felt uncomfortable laying on my left. With time, it got better.
One thing I invested in pretty quick was a new body pillow. I wanted a U shaped pillow that I didn’t have to hold on to every time I rolled over. This is the one I got off Amazon. I literally spent daaaaaaaaaaaaays, researching body pillows before I decided on this one. I like it, although I wish it was a little bit thicker. But for the price, I am super happy because we are having to do this whole baby thing on a #budget.
My bedtime also got a lot earlier. Once it got to be 7 or 8 pm, I just could not keep my eyes open. My new bedtime quickly became 8pm. Any earlier than that and it would mess up my sleep in the wee hours of the morning. Any later than that and I’d sleep in way too late or wake up feeling overly tired.
One of the big lessons I learned during the first trimester is about rest. I’ve always been a person who can push through feeling tired. But the fatigue that came with pregnancy was a whole different ballgame of tired. I was forced to rest A LOT during this first trimester. Typically I felt my best for the first few hours of the day, so that allowed me to get my exercise in and do a couple of things on my t0-do list. But after about 11am, I was done for the day.
Let’s just say there was a lot of “Netflixing and chilling” going on during this first trimester. 🙂
First Trimester: Some of My Favorite Products Right Now
Of course, I was using a lot more products than this, but these were honestly some products that I could not live without during this initial 13 weeks of my pregnancy. I’ve linked to each product in case you want to look into them for yourself or someone you love.
- Each & Every Deodorant / NuudCare Deodorant / Type-A Deodorant – I am one of those people who constantly rotates through skincare products. Deodorant is no different. I use a different brand each day, but these were the three that I was using during this first trimester.
- Primally Pure Dry Shampoo* – Because some days I was just too darn tired to wash my hair. Note: If you want to shop with PP, use coupon code DELICIOUS10 to save 10% on your order.
- Beautycounter One-Step Makeup Remover Wipes – Because like my hair, some days I was too darn tired to even wash my face.
- Olbas Oils Essential Oil Inhaler – This product really helped with the nausea and congestion. I tried not to go overboard with it since my doctor recommends steering clear of mint oils during pregnancy, but sometimes I just needed some quick relief and this delivered.
- Gin-Gins Ginger Candies – Ginger is awesome for stomach issues. I used fresh and dried ginger a lot, but these little candies were SO helpful for the nausea and upset stomachs when I was away from home.
- Ricola Glacier Mint Cough Drops – These are technically cough drops, but they are so minty fresh and they really helped settle my stomach. I also would eat one when I’d be so congested that I’d be gagging and heaving from stuff in my throat. Ick. Again, I tried not to go overboard with them, but my doctor was OK with me using them as needed.
- Equal Exchange Organic Vanilla Rooibos Tea / Secrets of Tea Morning Sickness Blood Orange Tea – I didn’t drink much in the way of herbal tea during the first trimester since so many herbs are contraindicated during pregnancy. But these were two that were safe based on my research (always check with your doc!). I just made sure I didn’t over-do it. I primarily made tea out of fruit, cinnamon, and ginger.
- Concentrace Mineral Trace Drops – I use a Pure Effects Water Filter, which is great at not stripping the minerals out during the filtration process. But, since I was drinking so much more water and have a hard time staying hydrated (thanks mold illness), my doctor and I felt this was a great addition to my water.
- Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – I used this topically for skin irritations (like the external yeast infection), but I also took it often to help with immune function and digestion too.
- Soda Stream Fizzi System – Because fizzy water. ‘nough said. We already had this prior to me becoming pregnant, but it got a lot of use during my first trimester and beyond.
- NOW Chest Rub – I used this under my nose at bedtime to try to help me fall asleep despite the congestion.
- AngQi U-Shaped Body Pillow – I’ve used a body pillow for years, but when I got pregnant, my sleep got a lot more restless. I wanted a body pillow that I could have on both sides so I wouldn’t have to hang onto it every time I rolled over. I literally researched these until my brain was going to explode and finally settled on this one from Amazon.
First Trimester: What I’m Reading
Confession time. Reading and research is a double-edged sword for me. As a health coach and educator, it’s a huge part of my job to research new topics so that I can better support my clients (and myself). I truly love learning new things.
That said, I have a tendency to go overboard with the research and let it create “analysis paralysis” in me. Meaning that my brain is bombarded with so much new info that I feel paralyzed or ill-equipped to make the “right” decision.
Many people don’t know this, but I have been a hypochondriac since I was a child. My mom had these health symptom books when I was growing up and I would read them all the time as a child. And then I would feel like I had every symptom and disease I ever read about. It got really, REALLY bad in my 20s, but thankfully I’ve learned how to manage it as I’ve gotten older. But, because I have those tendencies, I am very careful about how much information I let in and how I let it land in my brain.
Long story short, when I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to know it all. Read it all. Research it all. And I started out down that path. And then started having some anxiety around it so I backed off and just focused on three books and a couple of different websites and let the rest of it go. Here’s what I was reading:
- The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland – I’ve been following Genevieve for a gazillion years and knew that she would be one of the primary sources for info when/if I ever did get pregnant. Her book is both fun and informative.
- How to Conceive Naturally And Have a Healthy Pregnancy After 30 by Christa Orecchio and Willow Buckley – Great info on nutrition and creating good health, both pre- and post- conception. I found that I already knew most of the info shared here, but this would be an excellent primer for anyone who is new to real food and natural living.
- Birth Without Fear: The Judgment-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum by January Harshe – I love this book and the down-to-earth, non-judgemental approach she takes to the information she shares. She really reiterates the fact that it’s YOUR pregnancy and YOUR birth and you have the right to be educated, empowered, and HEARD by your healthcare team (and anyone else you let into your space).
- Spinning Babies Website – This website is going to be super helpful the closer I get to delivery, but I am one who always likes to know what might happen ahead of time, so I went ahead and started diving into their material so at least I am familiar with it when the time comes to utilize it. They do have great tips and exercises for all stages of pregnancy though.
- Evidence Based Birth® Website – The perfect site for someone who wants non-biased, evidence-based information in order to make educated, empowered decisions. So much of the info we get bombarded with is presented in a spirit of fear and this site does the complete opposite.
- Mama Natural Website – My go-to for all the weird questions I had during my first trimester (and beyond). They literally seem to have an article for anything and everything.
Well, that’s it! And WHEW! That was A LOT. But I hope it was helpful for you. And, I know it will be interesting for me to read years down the road too. If you have any questions, let me know below! Lots more pregnancy posts coming soon. I’m excited to be entering this new chapter and this whole new world of health and life. Thanks for reading! ~Jessica