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Parenting Advice

A Survival Guide for the First Trimester

Written by

Kristel Kovner Francesconi

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Photography courtesy of Arq 

Ah, the infamous first trimester of pregnancy—reputed as the worst of the three due to its, well, unpleasant symptoms. While it can be difficult to adjust to the rapid changes within your body (thanks to a serious surge of hormones), it can also be a very special and exciting time. However, between the fatigue and nausea, allowing yourself to stay present and experience the positive aspects of early pregnancy may seem like an impossible task. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up ten essential tips for your first trimester, full of aids to help you through it, both physically and emotionally. Read ’em below and—in case you need a reminder—you’ve totally got this, mama-to-be.

1. Start a Journaling Ritual
Any newly pregnant woman will agree: there’s a lot to process during this time. You’ve just found out that your life is about to completely change and with that realization comes an array of emotions, from excitement to anxiety. Creating a daily journaling ritual can help you acknowledge and process whatever you may be feeling, instead of allowing those feelings to overwhelm you. If a blank-page book sounds daunting, check out these 20 guided journals as options.

2. Choose a Confidante
If you’ve decided to keep your pregnancy a secret until after the first trimester, it’s common to feel isolated. Even if you have a supportive partner to share this journey with, it can put a lot of pressure on them to be the sole recipient of your venting. Try choosing one additional person you are comfortable telling, as well. Ideally, this person would be a woman who has gone through pregnancy before. Whether it’s a family member, a close friend, or a coworker, having that additional outlet will be a big relief.

3. Seek Well-Rounded Resources
While there are tons of popular books on the market explaining what is happening to your body physically, it can be harder to find books focused on the emotional and psychological shifts you will experience during your pregnancy. Of course, it’s important to educate yourself on the physiological changes so you know how to take care of your body and growing baby during this time, but don’t forget to tend to your mental health, as well. Do some research to find reads and resources that align with your philosophy. A few of our faves include Nurture: A Modern Guide To Pregnancy, Birth & Early Motherhood and What No One Tells You: A Guide To Your Emotions From Pregnancy to Motherhood.

4. Incorporate Ginger into Your Diet
Perhaps the most well-known pregnancy symptom, nausea can appear early on in pregnancy and tends to peak during weeks 8 to 10 (but it’s different for every woman, of course!). Finding ways to deal with unexpected waves of sickness is likely to be a substantial part of your first trimester experience. That’s where ginger comes in! Drink it in your tea, chew it in your gum, stock up on organic ginger ale, or add fresh ginger to your smoothies. However you can stomach it, keeping ginger on hand will help you combat nausea during this time. 

5. Invest in a Comfortable Bra
Breast tenderness is often one of the earliest symptoms women experience in pregnancy. You will likely notice many changes to your breasts during pregnancy, but they will be extra sore during the first few months as your body adjusts to a surge in progesterone. Wearing a comfortable, non-constrictive bra, like Storq’s Everyday Bra or Arq’s Wide-Strap Bra, will help you get through this tender time. (For more Mother-approved bras you can wear during and after pregnancy, click here).

6. Use an Essential Oil Diffuser
It’s important to be mindful of what you inhale during pregnancy. Many popular candles, for example, contain toxins that aren’t good for you and your growing baby. While organic candles are safe, try opting for pure essential oils in a diffuser instead. Not only do they make your home or office smell wonderful, aromatherapy can help ease many of the nasty first trimester symptoms.

7. Do Whatever Exercise You Can
Pregnant or not, exercise is always important to a balanced, healthy lifestyle and state of mind. Unfortunately, the fatigue and nausea many women experience during the first trimester of pregnancy can rob you of your motivation to workout. Simply do what you can, whether that’s a short walk outside, a few laps in the pool, or a calming yoga flow. We promise, you will feel better once you do.

8. Take Advantage of Convenience Apps
Fatigue is a very real part of pregnancy and, after a long day at work, running even the most mundane errands can be exhausting. Luckily, there are tons of apps to run errands for you these days, and pregnancy is the perfect time to take advantage of them! Give yourself a much needed break this trimester. Try ordering your groceries form Instacart or Good Eggs and having them delivered directly to your door. Meanwhile, apps like Zeel and Soothe can be used to book in-home massages.

9. Get a Glowy Skin Highlighter 
Due to a combo of nausea and fatigue, you might be wearing your negative pregnancy symptoms all over your face. Unfortunately, that “pregnancy glow” you’ve heard about likely won’t appear until the second trimester. To get it sooner, try adding an organic shimmery highlighter, such as the Highlight of the Day Illuminating Face Serum by Maya Chia, to your beauty regime during this time for an extra pop. No one at work will know you just vomited in the bathroom when you’re skin looks that great.

10. Opt for Transitional Flowy Clothing
The bloat is real during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. And even though you aren’t showing yet, you are likely to feel larger due to water retention. Since it’s a bit early to invest in traditional maternity wear, finding clothes that make you feel comfortable can be tricky. Keep an eye out for bloat-friendly flowy pieces that can transition into bump-friendly ones later on. One brand to look into: Hatch, which makes quality pieces that are ideal for before, during, and after pregnancy.

For more on preparing for baby, check out How to Announce a Pregnancy at Work,  How to Have a Feminist PregnancyMinimalist Essentials for the Mama-to-Be, and 20+ things your friends and family can do to support you as a new mother.

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