I’m sharing my best trimester pregnancy tips for navigating this crazy time as successfully as possible.
Please keep in mind that women have wildly different first trimester experiences. Some women have very few symptoms while other women are incredibly sick and tired the entire 12 weeks. My experience was somewhere in the middle. As such, I’m hopeful that you’ll find at least a few first trimester pregnancy tips here that are helpful.
Pay attention to your body
You’ll be able to keep your first trimester symptoms at bay most successfully when you pay attention to your body and respond accordingly. Paying attention to your body entails anything from sitting down for a few minutes when you feel lightheaded to canceling your evening plans with friends because you’re too wiped out from work.
When you’re brand new to pregnancy and getting used to the symptoms, it may take some trial and error to determine what will help you feel the best. Over the course of the first month or so, you’ll find your rhythm.
Trust your doctor about pregnancy dos and don’ts
There is a lot of conflicting advice online about what you can and can’t do while pregnant. Early in your pregnancy, your ob-gyn or a medical professional from his/her office will review the basic dos and don’ts with you, which is the guidance you should follow. You may also receive more specific recommendations, such as those based on other medical conditions you have. If you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to ask your ob-gyn.
Get as much rest as possible
The two biggest symptoms most women experience during the first trimester are nausea and fatigue. Getting a good night’s sleep every night and napping as needed during the day will help you combat both of these symptoms.
I know that this is easier said than done, due to hormones, work, family life, social commitments, the general anxiety that can come with pregnancy, and the need to urinate more frequently than normal, including at night. Even when it’s difficult to sleep, take it easy. Make extra time to read, watch TV, take baths, and enjoy other relaxing activities.
Staying active doesn’t mean maintaining a vigorous exercise routine. It simply means keeping to your regular routine as much as possible.
When you’re tired and nauseous for long stretches, it can be tempting to stay in bed as much as possible. Sitting or lying down as needed to combat lightheadedness and nausea is important. Maintaining your regular routine as much as possible is also important. When you continue to get up and walk around regularly and eat small meals throughout the day, you’ll keep your nausea at bay.
Staying hydrated while pregnant will help alleviate morning sickness, heartburn, and indigestion. Drinking an ample amount of water also helps form the amniotic fluid around the fetus.
Keep a water bottle in the car, at work, on your nightstand, etc., to keep up your fluid intake and curb nausea. I know that it might sound crazy, but sipping water can take the edge off morning sickness. Having water handy when you know you’ll be away from home during a time of the day when sickness tends to hit is critical.
Strive to drink as much water as possible during the day, so you won’t be thirsty at night. Largely avoiding liquids after dinner will help you minimize your overnight bathroom trips.
Stock up on healthy snacks that help alleviate nausea
Eating small amounts of food throughout the day will keep your blood sugar from crashing, minimizing your nausea. Simple, salty snacks with carbs, such as pretzels or saltines, are good options. Keep them handy in your bedroom for when you first wake up and in your purse or car for on the go.
Stick to simple recipes and familiar foods
I don’t need to spend a lot of time explaining that early pregnancy is not the time for fancy cooking and unfamiliar food. Whenever possible, stick to recipes and foods that you already know you like and that aren’t too spicy, fatty, or greasy. Keep food prep quick and straightforward, so you aren’t spending long periods on your feet while breathing in lots of food smells.
I know that there’s a ton of first trimester pregnancy advice that encourages healthy eating. While well-intentioned advice, it’s an unrealistic expectation for many women during the height of the first trimester. Stick to foods that work well for you and don’t stress about eating a balanced diet. You’ll have plenty of time to focus on nutrition later in your pregnancy.
Cancel or postpone social engagements as needed
First trimester territory is rough because you often have the worst symptoms, but most people don’t know that you’re pregnant yet. Above all else, don’t show up for social events that you simply can’t handle due to nausea, fatigue, or other symptoms. It’s never fun having to cancel, but family and friends will understand. You can also ask to put off more flexible plans for another month or two when you’ll hopefully be feeling a little better.
Determine the best time of day to take your prenatal vitamin
During the first couple of months of pregnancy, taking your prenatal vitamin is rough because it’s so critical but can contribute to nausea. Always take the vitamin with food and water or shortly after a meal. As you get your rhythm with morning sickness, you’ll figure out a time that works best. If needed, set an alarm on your phone to help you remember to take the vitamin.
Invest in a corn heating pad
Truthfully, there are very few products that made a big difference for me during my first trimester. The corn heating pad is one of them. I’ve owned a corn heating pad from TinyLilStitches on Etsy for years and love it. While I’ve always used it regularly for my low back, neck, and shoulders, I’ve never used it as much as I did during my first trimester. The heating pad has been so helpful for low back and hip pain and headaches.
There are tons of corn heating pads on the market. I love the neck heating pads from TinyLilStitches (check out anything in the neck section of her shop) because of how well they drape for the neck and shoulders and can wrap all the way around the hips and lower back.
Don’t be a hero
Way too many women get competitive about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. You don’t win at pregnancy because you never took Tylenol, missed a day of work, skipped an exercise class, etc. Again, pay attention to your body, and do what you need to do to keep the symptoms at bay.
Give yourself a lot of grace
When you’re tired and nauseous for extended periods, you’ll have to let some things go, and that’s okay. Don’t stress about keeping up your normal cooking, cleaning, and workout routines, much less making time for friends and hobbies, when you’re simply not up for it. Pregnancy doesn’t last forever. Do what you need to do to get by for the short term.
Take it one day at a time
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed thinking about everything that you have in the months ahead of you with pregnancy and childbirth and then caring for a newborn. Especially during the first trimester, focus on minimizing your symptoms and taking care of yourself. When you research pregnancy, stick to first trimester topics. Stressing about purchasing baby gear, making a labor and delivery plan, and learning how to use a breast pump won’t help you. There will be plenty of time for all of that later.
If you do want to research ahead, focus on fun things like shopping for baby clothes and maternity clothes and planning a pregnancy announcement.
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I’d love to hear your best first trimester pregnancy tips!
Share what has worked well with you for your current and/or past pregnancies.
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As this is my first pregnancy (but my fourth child via three adoptions!), I don’t have any other pregnancy resources right now. However, you can visit the parenting section for baby and toddler favorites, other gear recommendations, activity ideas, and general resources.