Well it has certainly been a while since I’ve blogged but I’ve made a promise to myself and to my friends that I would get back to it, especially because more of my friends have gotten engaged (YAY!) and some are married/trying to have babies (YAY! again!) My goal with posting about my pregnancy is just to discuss what I’ve been going through and provide tips for others experiencing the same things. Again, this is just MY experience and I want to emphasize that everyone’s body is different and you might not experience the same things that I did. I am certainly not a doctor, so none of this is medical advice – please seek medical attention if you are looking for that. I also highly recommend that you purchase What to Expect When You’re Expecting because it goes through EVERYTHING in immense detail.
I particularly wanted to summarize my experience during the first trimester because for me it was extremely difficult, especially because we didn’t tell any of our friends or extended family until we hit the 12 week mark – I think a total of 10-15 people knew so I kind of went through the first trimester without being able to share or discuss with any of my friends. Shout out to my cousin Ashley and friend Jenn for helping me through!! Since they had both gone through pregnancy before, and Jenn is just a week and half ahead of me this time, they both helped immensely.
First symptoms of pregnancy:
This is something I really always wondered about… what would happen first? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has frantically googled pregnancy symptoms before but this time was different because we were trying to conceive (a.k.a. “TTC”). A lot of the early pregnancy symptoms for me mimicked those of a normal menstrual cycle: about a week before I was supposed to start my period I had some cramping and felt bloated. Then the day I was supposed to start my period came and went… with no period! I decided I would wait a few days until Saturday to take the test but when it was Friday night I couldn’t wait any longer!! Once I took the test and saw that I was pregnant I was scared and excited all at the same time. Devin was just getting home from work and I was in the bathroom and just gave him a look and then looked down at the bathroom counter where I had laid out the 5 tests I had taken (haha a little overkill I know). Even though I knew I was pregnant I didn’t physically feel any different or feel “pregnant”at all! It was strange because I thought I’d feel something.
Anyways, at that point I was technically 4.5 weeks pregnant so those were the only symptoms I really had: bloating and cramping.
Looking back to the time where I was pregnant but I didn’t know it yet I realized a few interesting things. One is that I was craving super healthy food. Like for lunch one day on the weekend I wanted chicken and tomatoes and brussel sprouts which is weird because that’s something I’d eat for dinner and not lunch but it’s exactly what I wanted. Stuff like that kept happening where I would just crave protein and veggies (instead of the usual ice cream haha). I also strained my back pretty badly… looking back I’m glad it happened because it forced me to lay off the super heavy weights at the beginning of my pregnancy and I was just walking and taking it easy. Not sure if either of these things are related to or were caused by me being pregnant but I thought it was interesting enough to mention.
This is the most well-known and for me was the most dreaded pregnancy symptom. I was terrified of throwing up all the time and I have a hard enough time being a picky eater so I was worried about what going through morning sickness would be like. Well first, everyone should know that the name “morning sickness” is deceiving. The nausea is different for everyone (and some lucky ducks don’t ever get nauseous) but for those that do it can strike at any time and can last all day… not just in the morning. I woke up every single morning extremely nauseous – nauseous to the point where I felt like I was going to throw up if I didn’t eat immediately. Often times I would run downstairs to scarf down a bowl of cereal before I even showered for the day. That would keep then nausea at bay for a while and then I would just have to make sure I was constantly eating small snacks and meals throughout the day to keep the nausea to a minimum. I get carsick a lot and have had stomach acid issues in the past so I’m no stranger to dealing with nausea but if you’re not used to it it can really be a struggle. What makes it hard is that you really don’t want to or feel like eating anything but you have to in order to help the nausea go away. If you don’t eat that makes it worse! Morning sickness usually starts around week 6-7 and subsides around weeks 12-14. For me it lasted until about week 16 but by then I had figured out how to manage it well.
A few other tips to help with the nausea:
- Keep a small snack or glass of water next to bed at night – I woke up feeling extremely hungry/nauseous in the middle of the night at lot. I would drink about half a glass of water and that would help me. I wear retainers at night so eating a snack wasn’t an option because I didn’t want to have to fully wake up and re-brush my teeth.
- Eat RIGHT before you go to bed/get ready for bed even if you’re not hungry – as a follow up to the above tip, in order to try and stop the nausea from kicking in in the middle of the night I would eat a bowl of cereal before bed every night even if I didn’t feel hungry. I’d advise low or no sugar cereal so it doesn’t keep you up – my favorite at the beginning of pregnancy was Cheerios and then I switched to plain corn flakes and those are now my fave.
- Forget about whether something is healthy or not, if you feel like eating it then EAT IT!!! This is not the time to stress about healthy eating, you need to eat food and you’re going to be starving. Your little baby is going through some of the most important stages of development… the heart starts beating at 6ish weeks!!! And you’re body is building and growing the placenta which will nourish your little one until the day he or she is born. Chances are you’re not going to eat like complete crap but maybe just a little worse than normal. Your prenatal vitamins will make sure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need. If nothing sounds good, stick with old comfort foods that you know will taste good or that you know you’ll eat for sure after the first bite. For me, nothing sounded good, I mean NOTHING, not even ice cream! And if you know me then you know ice cream is my favorite food ever. One of my life savers was pizza from my childhood favorite place – I would often order a party size at the beginning of the week and take a few pieces with me for lunch every day to help me beat the nausea. Even if it didn’t sound good, I knew if I took one bite it would taste good and I would eat the rest of it. Also – mashed potatoes were like heaven! And Panera’s baked potato soup… YUM! The point is, if you don’t feel like eating anything or if nothing sounds good, go with some of your absolute favorite foods and even look back to your childhood. Those familiar flavors will entice you to eat.
- Eat smaller meals – your stomach feels full so fast. Don’t overstuff yourself or when the nausea comes back you’ll feel like throwing up even more. Some people say that crackers or almonds helped a lot. Those were both super dry to me so they weren’t appealing but I usually had a to-go pack of crackers in my lunch or purse at all times in case I needed something. The nausea can come on out of no where and can hit you really hard so having food with you at all times is a must. My go-to snack was and still is a chocolate chip Chewy bar! I was eating 3 per day when I was the most nauseous.
- Drink lots of water – especially if you’re throwing up. I thankfully never threw up even though I gagged a few times. When you’re pregnant you get dehydrated more easily so drink, drink, drink.
- Eat more bland foods – your stomach is super sensitive so what might have been a normal amount of spice for you pre-pregnancy might give you heart burn. Also some people will have aversions to fragrant foods like onions or garlic so watch out!
Likely everyone has heard of this but YES your boobs hurt really bad. They are growing a lot too so get ready to outgrow your bras! The soreness started around the same time as the morning sickness or maybe a little earlier and went away at about 12 weeks for me. It’s really not that bad but I still wanted to mention it.
I have never been more exhausted in my life (the only time that comes close was when I had mono when I was 15!). I would often sleep 8-10 hours a night and still need a nap when I got home from work. I can’t really explain how you feel but it’s almost like you’re in a fog or stupor all day because you’re so tired. I’m normally super active and worked out 4-6 days a week but once this hit I went from that to nothing. Between the nausea and the exhaustion there was no room for exercise. This is not the time to “push through” the exhaustion, you really need to listen to your body and rest when you’re tired. You are making another human and that takes a lot of energy.
The other thing that makes the exhaustion hard is that you have to limit your caffeine intake when you’re pregnant. So if you’re normally someone who relies on that to make it through the day you can’t any longer. Check with your doctor about how much you need to limit it but I think you can only have one cup of coffee or tea. So just make sure you go to bed early and take a nap on your lunch break or when you get home from work if you need it. Even 15-30 minutes can be really rejuvenating.
As I mentioned above, one of the first symptoms I noticed was bloating. Pants that were usually loose on my stomach were tight – I’m guessing the bloating is different for everyone but I was TINY before I got pregnant especially because I had been #shreddingforthewedding which was 1.5 months before we conceived. Your bloated belly isn’t really a “baby bump” yet because your baby is too small to give you a bump but you definitely notice a change in your stomach. There’s nothing you can really do about this but just wearing comfortable pants will help. I ordered these belly bands that allowed me to leave my pants unbuttoned without anyone noticing – it just looked like I was wearing a tank top. They really helped during the first trimester because my belly wasn’t quite big enough for maternity pants but it was too big for my normal pants.
Towards the end of my first trimester, my belly was actually starting to expand and one thing I did notice was that if I was standing up for extended periods of time my lower abdominal area would start to feel sore as if I had finished a big ab workout. My guess is that it was just because my muscles were stretching out to accommodate the baby and expanding belly but it could have also been because I would consciously and subconsciously try and hide my bump by flexing my stomach since no one knew I was pregnant.
Almost immediately I starting having to go pee more – usually waking up once a night. Nothing you can really do about this one!
This one is kind of weird but I have been sneezing A LOT ever since I got pregnant. I don’t have allergies or anything so it’s weird for me to be sneezing so much. I read that it’s because the blood vessels in your nose are expanding because due to the extra blood in your body so that makes your nose more sensitive and causes you to sneeze more.
Those were the main symptoms I felt and a few tips to help you out. The first trimester carries all sorts of emotions because you still have the thought of a miscarriage on your mind on top of coming to the realization that you have a baby growing in your belly!!
Two more things I wanted to leave you with: by the time you know you’re pregnant, i.e. by the time you can actually get a positive result on your pregnancy test you are around 4 weeks pregnant and some crucial development has taken place. If you are planning on getting pregnant, go make an appointment with your OB/GYN to make sure that your body is healthy and to discuss what you need to do to prepare. My doctor had me start prenatals right away and recommended that you start them 3 months before you start trying to ensure that you have enough nutrients. Also, if you drink alcohol I would stop once you are TTC because again, you will not know you are pregnant until you are 4ish weeks! You don’t want to be drinking during the most important period of your baby’s development. But, talk to your doctor, he or she will help you! I just wanted to mention those two things because I thought it was kind of odd that by the time you find out that you’re pregnant you are already a month along and should be taking care of yourself!
Hope that this post was insightful and helpful. I’m here if anyone need some advice or wants to talk about anything I said! I have a ton of wedding posts lined up that I need to finish… off I go!