Tips and Tricks to Surviving Your First Trimester of Pregnancy with Kids
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS mama! Welcoming a new edition to the family is beautiful thing. Our bodies are amazing and go through so many changes. If you’ve done this before, you’re probably thinking that you’d be used to the symptoms. But even if this isn’t your first rodeo, I guarantee you’ll come across something new. If this is your first pregnancy, you probably have TONS of questions. This will be my fourth time going through the first trimester and I’ve been taking notes for you. So grab a comfy seat and enjoy!
The first trimester of pregnancy can be so difficult in itself. Full of highs and lows, symptoms can range from nausea to extreme fatigue to constipation, heartburn and indigestion. I mean, the list can go on and on amiright? Finding ways to deal with all of these unwanted symptoms can be difficult, especially if you have other children to tend to. I have put together a list of pregnancy must-haves and must-dos that will help you in surviving your first trimester because, mama, I’ve been there and I feel you.
Surviving your First Trimester
Survival mode is a common term used among mamas with one or more children as they enter their first trimester. This will be my fourth pregnancy, third baby. I’ve done this a time or two. The most important thing to take from this, is to make sure all of the basic needs are met for you and your family and don’t fret about the rest. Seriously. Listed below are the most common symptoms that arise during the first trimester. In the later trimesters, other symptoms can arise but this post will primarily serve to help you manage those first trimester symptoms.
Note: this post contains affiliate links which means that I may be compensated if any purchases are made through the links provided. Any clicks or purchases made are deeply appreciated as they serve to keep this blog running smoothly.
Perhaps one of the most important things to do during pregnancy is to stay hydrated. Dehydration is not only harmful to you and your growing baby, but it can be the reason for a lot of the other symptoms you are experiencing as well, like nausea and constipation. So keep your body hydrated as much as you can. Drink lots of water. Unfortunately for me, I have always had trouble drinking tap or bottled water without any enhancers. So over the years, I’ve come up with a list of things that have helped me stay hydrated.
Watermelon– did you know that watermelon is actually 92% water? It is also full of nutrients and vitamins. So if you love watermelon, then this one is for you! Learn more about the nutritious facts of watermelon here.
Coconut Water– another great source of water in addition to having nutrients and vitamins. Coconut water has its own sweet (non-milky) taste and texture. I recently learned that coconut water is a lot different than coconut milk directly from the coconut. Learn more about coconut water and it’s nutritious facts here.
Fruit-infused water– adding lemon to your water can make it much easier to drink if you have a hard time drinking tap or bottled water. You can also try adding strawberries or cucumbers. I find these to give my water that “spa-like” taste. Just drink your water and imagine cucumbers over your eyes listening to fine spa tunes, blisssss..
Ice chips- eating ice chips can definitely help in the most extreme cases of nausea when you can’t seem to keep anything down. It’s a very subtle way to stay hydrated, so don’t rely on ice chips alone. At my hospital, we estimate that a 240ml cup of ice chips can equate to 120ml of water. It would be safe to assume that however many ml you have in ice chips would have equal of that in water.
Gatorade– Gatorade is one of my last resorts to drinking fluids. Something about high in sugar, sodium, and artificial dyes that tend to make me try other things first. Arbonne has a product called Phytosport that is essentially comparable to Gatorade without all of the artificial stuff. If your a natural mama, check out Arbonne!
Contrary to the term, morning sickness can happen at any time of the day. Morning sickness, or nausea, can range from mild with no vomiting to extreme nausea with extreme vomiting. Extreme nausea, or Hyperemesis gravidarium can be very serious if not controlled so please speak with your doctor or midwife to find a solution. For the less extreme circumstances, try controlling your symptoms with natural remedies before resorting to medication. Here is a list of things I used that helped me battle those random bouts of nausea.
Anti-nausea wristbands– I hadn’t tried these in the past and I keep telling myself that I wish I had known about this product for my previous pregnancies. I cannot believe how well they worked. These bands work by something called acupressure. Acupressure works by stimulating certain pressure points within your body to alleviate symptoms. Try this: beginning at the end of your palm, place three finger-widths down your arm. At the end of the last finger, place deep pressure in the center point of your wrist in a circular motion. If your nausea subsides, then you will definitely benefit from buying a pair of these.
Lemon Essential Oil– in my most difficult nausea days, I resorted to wearing lemon EO as a perfume over my clothes. The intermittent whiffs I got of the lemon smell really calm my belly. Citrus has an uplifting property that can help ease nausea symptoms. It’s worth a shot!
Small but frequent snacks– sitting down trying to eat 3 meals a day is already hard in itself. Sitting down to eat 3 meals a day while pregnant is even harder. Sitting down to try to eat 3 meals a day with kids? Yeah, that’s not happening. Whether its a string cheese, cup of yogurt, banana, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, get something in your tummy mama! Protein, like nuts, have also proven to help me get through those days.
Staying hydrated– as I said before, its essential to staying hydrated. My nausea seems worse when I was not drinking as much as I should. Drink up girlfriend!
Sleep– getting decent sleep is also important in warding off that nausea. According to William J. Schwartz, author and editor of Sleep Science: Integrating Best Research and Clinical Practice , cortisol levels are regulated during sleep. Overexposure to cortisol, and other hormones regulated during sleep, causes disruption in most of our body’s process, including our digestive tract, hence causing some nausea. Finding ways to get sleep may seem difficult when you have a little one running around. Take advantage on nap-time. Forget household chores or work when your little one naps, get in some zzzz’s mama, your body will thank you. At night, treat yourself to a gentle routine to help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer, like lavender essential oils.
Unfortunately, when your body prepares for a baby, your bowels will slow down. This can cause issues with going number two. I remember during my last pregnancy, I spent 45 minutes in the restroom trying to go number two without straining too much. It was the worst! This time, I knew I didn’t want to go through that again. Here’s what I did to help.
Diet high in fiber– Some foods high in fiber include bananas, strawberries, oatmeal, almonds, and broccoli. For a full list of foods high in fiber, check out Mayo Clinic’s list here.
Stay hydrated- When your body is dehydrated, fluid is diverted away from your bowels and to your core (heart). The less fluid to the bowels makes your bowel movements difficult to pass. Keep your body hydrated. Take precaution before mama, unless you want to end up with hemorrhoids.
Fiber tablets– I love these fiber tablets when I know I won’t be getting a full days worth of high fiber foods. These tablets are chewable and fruity in flavor, making it easy to stomach. The convenience is very helpful, especially if you are a mama-on-the-go.
Not everyone will tell you this but the fatigue gets worse and worse with each pregnancy, no matter what age your current children are. Being my fourth pregnancy, I was so exhausted and drained in the first trimester that I literally was stuck on the couch. I relied on my oldest son to get snacks from the fridge, just to get through the day. It was so bad. Perhaps the chasing around a toddler and a child while trying to grow a human is to blame. Sorry Charlie, it doesn’t get better with each pregnancy and you don’t “get used to it”. However, there are ways to manage your time so you can still be efficient and somewhat productive.
Sleep– remember that saying, “sleep when the baby sleeps”? YES. Sleep when your kids sleep. Take every ounce you can get. If you need to resort to a babysitter or a neighbor for a few hours then do it. Sleep is extremely important, as reasons are mentioned above. You may feel like you have mounds and mounds of laundry to do, or paperwork to fill out, or blogs posts to write but seriously take it easy. Second trimester is still great and you’ll be able to accomplish more then.
Sweet Vitamin B-12– As a nurse, I work night-shift. Sleep is already a challenge for me. One particular night, I was drained and a fellow nurse offered me some B12 vitamins. I wanted to try something other than the (unhealthy Cola) I had been drinking and my goodness, they helped so much. If you need a boost of energy to get through a certain part of the day, definitely try these out.
Arbonne Fizz Sticks– Another natural, non-GMO, vegan alternative to caffeine for energy is Arbonne’s Fizz sticks. A good friend of mine is an Arbonne distributor and offered these to me and I liked the way it gives a nice subtle increase in energy.
Prenatal Vitamins with Energy– I’ve listed the prenatals that I have been taking my last two pregnancies. They offer a bit of a boost of energy each day. I take them first thing in the morning to help get my day going. I do notice that when I forget to take it in the morning, my mornings aren’t as productive.
Yoga- Although I didn’t start practicing yoga regularly until the later part of my first trimester, I have continued the practice through now. I can’t tell you enough about the benefits that I’ve noticed. Less nausea (breathing techniques), less aches, greater tone, increased strength and flexibility, and better posture. I follow Yoga with Adriene and Katy of AppleYoga. I adore both of these women and aspire to an expert Yogini as they are.
Teach your children to be independent- This is one of the concepts that I learned early on. When I was pregnant with my second child, my oldest was becoming more and more independent. This helped in so many ways. Independent play is also very helpful when trying to get through that first trimester. It also helps foster creativity and imagination. You don’t have to “entertain” your kids 24/7. This time around, my oldest knew how to make quesadillas, get snacks from the fridge or pantry, grab a glass to drink, and grab a freezer item to place in the microwave. It helped SOOO much when I was just too tired and exhausted I couldn’t keep my eyes open. If you have the opportunity to teach your children to be independent, than do it. Just don’t be in a rush for them to grow up too fast.
Remember that this is temporary- it will pass and second trimester will bring more energy to get stuff done and focus on your family like you want to. Luckily, you found out you were pregnant at about 5 or 6 weeks so your are halfway through the first trimester anyway. It gets better mama!
I really hope you enjoyed these tips to help you in surviving your first trimester and if you like it or know someone who will benefits from some mama to mama tips, please share!