My First Trimester Recap
Hello! Let’s talk about pregnancy! While everyone’s pregnancy is different, many women experience similar symptoms, and sometimes atypical, but still normal symptoms. It’s been so beneficial to talk with my pregnant friends about what they’re going through and connect on this new life adventure. If you need to talk about cravings, or want to vent about hormone swings, I’m your girl!
As I’m writing this, I’m currently 18 weeks pregnant – already into my second trimester! But, it’s helpful for me (and hopefully you too) to remember what each trimester was like to look back on for reference – even though each pregnancy can be different!
I took a pregnancy test (Care One brand – nothing special, but accurate enough) 2 days before my period was supposed to start (I’ve been tracking since 2014, so I’d say my app pretty much knows me now). We were going away for the weekend and I wanted to know a) if I’d expect my period to come or not, and b) if it was safe to be drinking alcohol or not since I knew we’d likely end up at Rek-Lis, one of our favorite brewery’s in Bethlehem, NH. The double lines were slightly faint, but present! Which meant I was pregnant! Woohoo!
This was a surprise given that with my last pregnancy I had pretty significant implantation cramps (read our miscarriage story here), and this time, nothing. I didn’t have much to go on other than the mindset of “it’ll happen when/if God says it’s time.” And apparently, it was time! And we were excited, albeit a little nervous and shocked (read pregnancy after miscarriage). I didn’t get my period that weekend, but I still took another test when we returned home juuust in case. Sure enough, it still read positive, only the lines were much darker this time, which means the pregnancy hormones had been building up!
I didn’t have many symptoms for the first 3-4 weeks after learning I was pregnant, except craving super nutrient-dense foods (this also happened in my first pregnancy). I still had energy and was able to workout as usual. Soon after the 4th or 5th week hit though, the exhaustion and nausea started to set in. For a number of weeks, I had to eat something immediately after getting out of bed (usually crackers) due to hunger and nausea. And then nausea would hit me at odd times, most often after eating (which was the opposite of my first pregnancy!). I found leftovers completely unappetizing, and didn’t want any of my usual foods or go-to meals. Just thinking about them made me nauseas. I kept saying that being a dietitian was one of the worst professions to be in during the first trimester! I really didn’t want to think about food due to nausea, but I had to for work, five days a week. I ate a fair amount of lifesaver mints and started chewing gum again. I found cinnamon gum to be the most helpful. My chest was also sore, sensitive, and growing (whoa, this is new for me!), so much so that some of my dresses were snug in that area, which is something I did not expect!
Exercise & energy levels
I had a reasonable amount of energy, but it would still come and go, and I’d tire quickly. A 30 minute walk? I was on the coach, exhausted afterwards. A lot of chores in one day? Same thing. I ended up in a cycle of working out every other day as opposed to the 5-6 days a week I was used to because I’d needed a day to recover my energy. I was also used to doing a lot of core exercises, many of which included crunching my torso. I don’t necessarily do a lot of crunches, but things like v-ups, hanging leg raises, or knees to chest when on an exercise ball – all of which are a no-go during pregnancy if I wanted to prevent diastasis recti (when abdominal muscles separate). So, I’ve been doing way more side core exercises like hip dips, or planks, which work the core, but don’t involve crunching. I will say, at least by obliques are staying pretty strong!
Around the 5th week was also when cravings started to hit and I stopped wanting healthy foods (like vegetables). I wanted starchy foods and snacks – any snacks sounded good: potato chips, cheezits, goldfish, cheddar bunnies, etc. I wanted allll my childhood favorites! I didn’t always give into the snack cravings, but at one point, we had like 10 different snacks, and I usually only buy one or two at a time for my husband and myself. I wanted a little bit of them, but never wanted to finish them, so I gave some away. For awhile I had sweet cravings – for candy especially (which I don’t normally eat or want), but it’s been mostly salty foods and/or sour foods. Lemon water is a big go-to for me! Or honestly, sucking on lemon wedges – crazy I know, but it helps that craving! Most often I’d be able to quell cravings with healthier substitutes, like fruit for candy (berries are a must), but sometimes I’d eat a little bit of the real thing.
Things I’m avoiding/including
I stopped drinking alcohol (save the occasional tiny taste of craft beer), eating sushi (even though I was craving it!), and eating super runny egg yolks. I started drinking half caf coffee (limiting myself to less than 200 mg caffeine daily per current recommendations) and continued eating deli meat every so often.
I’m also avoiding pregnancy forums and the What to Expect When You’re Expecting book. During my last pregnancy, I got hooked on articles and forums and I was obsessive about looking at my app. Sometimes it was helpful, sometimes I got worried about things I didn’t even know existed. Or, I worried I wasn’t doing something “perfectly” like eating as healthy as could. So I’ve done a little research as I go along, but otherwise, I’m just continuing to stay healthy, but not perfect (it’s more stressful than worthwhile), and asking my OB questions when they come up. I think my baby and I are much better for it from an anxiety standpoint! I did read most of Real Food For Pregnancy by Lily Nichols, which was pretty helpful, but again, I’m not eating that perfectly and I’m okay with it. Hayden has the What to Expect App, so each week, we will read together what’s to come (what’s going on with baby, what symptoms to expect, etc. which always seem to match up with what I’m experiencing pretty accurately!) But, I did not download it this time around. Otherwise, I gather advice and experiences from other pregnant or previously pregnant women in my life and take everything I read or hear with a grain of salt.
What I’m wearing
I’ve been able to continue wearing most of my clothes, but some are starting to get uncomfortable around my growing belly, especially pants. I’ve definitely been embracing dresses more than usual (though as mentioned above some of them are snug in the chest, but still fit well enough currently, although there a couple that are now too short because they don’t fall like they used to – ha)! Thankfully the weather has been cooperating and it’s getting warm enough to wear them!
Towards the end of my first trimester, I started to be able to eat more “normal” foods again, and having a little more energy, but I gained some less than desirable symptoms in return: mood swings. All of a sudden I was a cranky, irritated, sobbing mess. Typically, I’m a pretty happy person, and it takes a lot to anger me, but something changed and I felt frustrated at the tiniest things and had more outbursts of anger than I was used to. I did not like myself for it. Immediately after feeling really mad, I would flip to feeling really sad, and cry over things that weren’t even a big deal!
I remember a time at 12 weeks, our water stopped working in the house and we were told we’d be able to use it in a few hours, otherwise, we’d need to use my extended family’s cottage down the street to shower if needed. It had been a few hours, and I asked Hayden if he thought I’d be okay to workout (it was about 10 am and we had to leave by noon for a family party). He said “yeah.” I meant, would I be to workout and shower afterwards, and he thought I meant if I’d be okay to go to the party after working out without showering. So, there was definitely some miscommunication there. But, I came back from my workout, super sweaty, learned I needed to go to the cottage to shower (10 minutes away) and got irrationally upset. I was angry about miscommunication, and I was angry about making us late for the party later because I now had to take an extra 20 minutes out of the morning. I think I left slamming the door (whoops). Then 2 minutes later, on my drive to the cottage, I broke down in tears, not sure what about though, about being angry maybe? Because it doesn’t feel like myself and it feels like my hormones are controlling me versus the other way around. But, then, 10 minutes after that, I was completely fine! It’s so bizarre. This kind of thing has happened more than once, and it’s a symptom I’ll be happy to let go of! I continue to be incredibly grateful for my very patient, loving, and understanding husband who I love so much and is absolutely the best.
How are you doing?
Tell me, what’s your first trimester been like? Have you experienced similar symptoms? Something totally different? Let me know!