If you’re reading this and you’re in your first trimester, congratulations! It probably doesn’t feel real just yet, does it? And if you’re not pregnant but here to read about the first trimester anyway, then hi too!
I am going to start by saying that before I was pregnant, I had absolutely no idea how hard the first trimester would be. Of course I’d heard about morning sickness and tiredness, but as a concept that didn’t seem so bad. The reality was incredibly difficult and boy am I glad to be past it.
Considering how tiny the baby is during the first trimester, you’d think it would be the easiest. But I’m now well into my second trimester and I can safely say that it really does get better.
During my first trimester, every time I felt fed up and sorry for myself I did feel so guilty. I am so grateful to be pregnant, and I know there are so many people struggling to have babies, so it can feel like being sad or feeling alone during the first trimester isn’t something you should be allowed to do. But it’s only natural that when you’re feeling so unwell you’re going to be emotional sometimes, so if you can then try not to let yourself feel even worse by letting guilt creep in.
I’ve shared the story of my first trimester and finding out that I was pregnant over in a separate post. So if you’re interested and want to give that a read, just click here.
Oh, and if you enjoy following pregnancies and babies, you might like to follow our family Instagram and YouTube channel (the image at the top of the page is the thumbnail from our newest video).
With that said, here are 10 of my top tips for getting through the difficult first trimester.
My first three tips all involve food, so I’ll group them together a bit. When I was feeling sick, food was the only thing I found helped, which is odd because outside of pregnancy food would normally be the last thing that would help me feel less nauseous.
1. Have a biscuit or cracker in bed before you even get up
This probably sounds a bit crazy, but I watched Lily Pebbles first trimester tips early on in my pregnancy and she suggested this. It worked a treat! When I woke up, I’d drink some water (I always have water next to my bed at night) and have a cracker or a rich tea biscuit before I got out of bed.
Before this I found that I was being sick regularly right after my shower in the morning, but having a little biccy helped fight it off.
2. Have two breakfasts
I am a 10.30am breakfast kind of gal. I’m not normally hungry in the morning but if I have breakfast any earlier than 10.30 I’m starving way before lunch time. The problem is, an empty stomach is what made me feel horrific during the first trimester. So I started having a breakfast on my commute at around 7.45am – toast with butter and marmite was my favourite – and then a second breakfast at work at 10.30 (normally a small bowl of cereal or porridge).
It might seem excessive but I’m fairly sure this stopped me from being physically sick during the day at work.
3. Snacks, Snacks and more Snacks
Beyond that, I also made sure I had snacks with me at all times, particularly for my train journey home when I was starting to get hungry for dinner. The best thing was Tuc biscuits, they were amazing. Just one or two on the way home would keep the nausea at bay.
And mints! Lots of mints because my mouth tasted bleurgh.
Outside of these quite unhealthy habits, I made sure I was packing in lots of fruit and vegetables and keeping sugar intake to a minimum to give baby lots of nutrients. But sometimes I just wanted to eat carbs, carbs, carbs, and I think during that first trimester it’s important just to eat what you can to get you through the day. When you’re feeling better during trimester two, you can focus more on healthy eating.
I am a really tired person in general, but this took on a whole new meaning during my first trimester. I have never felt more drained and demotivated in my life. And it actually really got to me, I wondered if I was just being lazy. There were so many things I wanted to be doing but all my body wanted was to sleep.
Giving in and napping is so important. In the end, I did exactly that and it was the best. Not feeling guilty about napping, just taking it super easy and getting as much sleep as my body wanted was amazing, and the exhaustion come to an end as I approached the second trimester. I was worried that napping all the time would lead to a napping habit that I couldn’t shake, but it hasn’t!
5. Go to bed early
Similarly, don’t force yourself to stay awake at night to go to bed at your usual bedtime. I think I went to bed at 8pm some nights, I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. But again, this will end, it’s just temporary. Get that sleep!
Other First Trimester Tips
I think there are some rules about not having a bath that’s too hot, but nice warm baths can be so calming and relaxing. I had loads during my first trimester to make me feel better before bed, and found myself feeling so much less gross and more comfortable as I fell asleep.
7. TV shows
Find yourself some good TV shows to binge over the weekend when you’re not out and about. Rather than trying to get lots done around the house or forcing yourself to be active, use your downtime to relax and distract your mind with a good show. I shared some of my Netflix favourites a while back that will help you get started.
In the office, I was struggling to keep anxiety and pregnancy-related thoughts at bay, but music was so helpful. If you can, pop on some headphones and listen to some uplifting music to help you escape.
9. Get an early scan
If you’re feeling anxious and you can afford it, I’d strongly recommend getting an early scan. I think they’re around £50 – £100, and if we ever have more children I wouldn’t hesitate to spend that on a scan to reassure us that things are alright.
As explained in my Pregnancy Diary, we had an early scan just before 10 weeks because of my wonky periods. We had to come back for another scan a few weeks later, but that early scan was the most reassuring thing ever. Seeing that there was really a baby in there and that it had a heartbeat helped put my anxiety to rest, and helped me get back to concentrating on getting to the end of the first trimester.
10. Tell people
Finally, and this one might be a bit divisive, but my top tip is to tell people if you want to. Don’t feel like you have to stick to just you and your partner for the first 12 weeks. That’s a long time when you’re feeling lonely and unwell, and there may be others that can help you and support you during this time.
We told a fair few people before 12 weeks, including our parents and siblings and some colleagues. They were all sworn to secrecy, so only tell people you trust, but it make life so much easier and the support was incredible.
Let me know in the comments if you have any more first trimester tips, and how far along you are now. I’d love to hear from you!