As I patiently await a new little model for cloth diaper-related posts, I'll be sharing little updates and tidbits through the rest of this pregnancy. And, because I haven't written much about my other two pregnancies, I'll talk about them all together in these trimester posts. If you're pregnant or interested in pregnancy related things, these posts will be packed with just about all I've got on the topic.
If you're not pregnant or interested in pregnancy related things, go ahead and browse the cloth diaper posts I already have published or checkout my personal blog >> here.
Let's kick things off with the First Trimester, which I actually wrapped up a couple months ago for likely the last time ever...
First Trimester Products
These are some of my first trimester essentials...
1. Ginger or Citrus GumChomping on a strong citrus or ginger gum is sometimes just what I needed to snap out of a bout of nausea. Especially when in public, in a store or around people and needed a quick relief. The ginger is pretty potent but effective, and citrus is always my favorite.
2. Yogi Mother To Be TeaRaspberry leaf tea is supposed to be great for toning the uterus and other things good before delivering baby. Some doctors/midwives recommend saving it for second and third trimesters. This mix makes it a little less potent and was good through morning sickness too.
3. Straw CupI am loving my chiseled stainless steel cup from Starbucks. It's sturdy (essential, because I broke three of their tall cold cups before deciding I needed something different); and it's pretty enough to take with me and inspire me to drink more water. Yes, pretty inspires me even in water-drinking.
4. Greenroom PlannerI love planning. But even if you're not much of a planner, pregnancy is a good time to start. I write down how many weeks I am in the monthly view. Then it's nice to keep track of appointments, especially as they grow in frequency later on. My favorite planners are Greenroom brand found at Target--inspiring and affordable designs. And their small spiral notebooks are perfect for journaling or brainstorming announcement ideas and drafting checklists.
5. Gummy PrenatalsGummy prenatals are easier to get down in the first trimester. A full serving is two, so it's easy to take them at different times to not get all that iron and calcium at once (see note on why this matters under morning sickness below).
6. Leggings or Yoga PantsThese are so comfortable in those bloated/nauseated/exhausted first weeks. Depending on the fit/style, they can also be paired with a blouse or sweater to make a more dressed up comfy outfit. If this is your first introduction to comfy fashion--Welcome to motherhood. See more thoughts on first trimester fashion below.
First Signs of Pregnancy
With my first pregnancy, I checked the list of pregnancy symptoms from just about every pregnancy-related web site. I had them all memorized, comparing them to my own discomforts before I finally convinced myself I might actually be pregnant and should take a test.
With each pregnancy, I experienced typical symptoms of PMS before finding out--including mild cramping, hunger, bloating, headaches, moodiness, exhaustion, sore boobs, etc. However, in addition to those common and confusing symptoms (confusing because it's hard to differentiate between initial pregnancy symptoms and PMS), there were a couple that stood out to me as "This is not normal for me."
Excessive DroolingThis is how I knew I might be pregnant with my first. A week or so before my missed period, I would wake up in a puddle of drool. That's not typical for me, so I searched what "excessive saliva" might mean, and most of the results said it was a symptom of pregnancy.
Excessive PeeingThis is usually a symptom notorious at the end of pregnancy when baby is big enough to impose on your bladder. However, it wasn't just my imagination, I found myself instantly having to pee all the time even throughout the night. A little reading confirmed this as a symptom, because increased fluids and blood pumping through your body to create baby actually creates extra urine. So it wasn't all in my head. It settled down after a few weeks, then picked back up again in the second trimester as baby grew.
Sharp PainWith this third pregnancy, I had periodic sharp pain in my lower right abdomen. It usually happened when I sneezed or if I tightened my muscles when moving a certain way. This started happening a week or so before my missed period and got more frequent. When I accepted it might be pregnancy-related, I started to panic that it could mean an ectopic pregnancy. Turns out it wasn't. And sharp pains like that can just be from pulled ligaments, especially with subsequent pregnancies.
Deciding When to Announce
Everyone has different reasons for deciding when to announce their pregnancy and who to announce it to. The common practice is to tell after the first trimester (after 12 weeks) when the chances of miscarriage go down considerably. We have never waited this long, and basically announced in three stages to three groups of people. Here's when and why we did that...
Immediate Family + Friends: 5-6 WeeksWithin a few days (with our first) or after a week or two of finding out (with our second and third), we told our immediate families (parents and siblings) and a couple close friends. We did this for two reasons: 1) We were excited and couldn't keep the news to ourselves; and 2) these are the people we would have gone to for support if something bad happened. Each time, this was just a phone call.
We liked taking a few days to let the news soak in for ourselves. Especially when the news is unexpected (when we were in college or when we found out Daniel lost his job), questions from our loved ones is expected so it was important for us to prepared for that.
Extended Family, Friends, Coworkers: 6-8 WeeksBecause of morning sickness and bloating, it's a little bit difficult to keep the news away from those people we see everyday. We're also too excited to keep it to ourselves. So within a few weeks we've usually told coworkers and friends we see regularly. It's nice to have their understanding and support through that tough first trimester.
Everyone Else: After Hearing HeartbeatMost of us know that chances of miscarriage go significantly down after the first trimester, but that's also true after seeing or hearing baby's heartbeat. Often miscarriages reported at 10-12 weeks are actually missed miscarriages, meaning the fetus miscarried before that but wasn't realized (because of lack of bleeding or other signs) until an ultrasound.
So, instead of making ourselves wait until after 12 weeks to share our news (because we've already covered we're terrible at hiding it), we tell the world via Facebook after we hear/see the heartbeat. For our second this happened via doppler at 10 1/2 weeks and via ultrasound at 9 weeks for our third.
I share a little more about announcing baby in >> this post.
First Trimester Symptom Relief
Three times going through the first trimester and the best advice I have in symptom relief: Keep on keepin' on 'cause it won't last forever. Helpful, right? Not really. There are a lucky few that have an easy first trimester--good for you! Try not to worry too much about not feeling miserable--enjoy it.
For the rest of us, just know you're not alone. Take comfort in those symptoms likely meaning your baby is healthfully growing. Here is a little more on the three most prevalent symptoms I dealt with in the first trimester: Morning sickness, exhaustion and bloating.
Morning SicknessI am forever jealous of women who do not experience morning sickness or only experience "mild nausea" in their pregnancies. Morning sickness started as early as 5 weeks with my first (girl), and between 6 and 8 weeks with the other two (boys). For all of them, the sickness didn't end until 14-18 weeks--not cool, when most sources say it commonly ends with the first trimester around 12 weeks. Bleh.
My sicknesses were all the worst in the evening, although they lingered to some extent all throughout the day making it hard to concentrate or eat or be social or do much of anything.
A few things that helped:
- sipping on something yummy--peppermint or mother-to-be tea, sprite, lemonade and Gatorade
- chewing on strong gum--especially lemon or ginger
- sucking on candies--jolly ranchers, natural cough drops, mints, and life savers
- going to bed early--I almost always threw up if I stayed up past 7 or 8
- snacking--frequent small meals with granola bars, oatmeal cookies, cereal, bananas, smoothies or other healthy-ish snacks thrown in between
- following cravings--instead of making myself eat healthy, I went ahead and indulged in the more processed foods (i.e., frozen bean burritos) that sounded good; this kept me fed and helped keep the healthier options still seem appealing after the sickness was gone
- switching to gummy prenatals--this allowed me to split them up and they were easier to take, but then I learned from my doctor that iron and calcium in the prenatal can actually trigger the nausea. Feeling worse after taking my prenatals wasn't all in my head!
- lighting a candle--something citrus or notorious for relieving nausea
- prescription nausea medicine--Zofran is what is commonly prescribed in the states, but I only took this a few times as a last resort because I wanted to avoid the symptoms (constipation) and it only lasts up to a few hours; Diclegis (a prescription that combines vitamin B6 and doxylamine) worked much better for me and lasts 24 hours
Other solutions that I didn't learn about until after the sickness was gone, but wish I'd tried: (I am not a medical professional, so check with your doctor before trying any of these.)
- Vitamin B6--25mg four times a day
- Unisom w/ doxylamine as the main ingredient--take 1/2 tablet before breakfast and lunch and a full tablet at bedtime
- Ginger--1 gram in divided doses throughout the day
- Acupuncture or Acupressure
Things that didn't work:
- Sea Salt Bands--I so desperately wanted them to. But all they did was leave a sore indention in both my wrists.
ExhaustionI have had some of the longest, best naps of my life during my first trimesters. The best I could do was hang on hoping my energy returned. Thankfully I haven't had demanding work to focus on when I've been pregnant, and even my husband had been available to help a lot during my first two pregnancies. He wasn't available as much with this third, and our meals and home suffered a bit. A lot of grace in this season is essential!
BloatingI didn't notice as much bloating with my first. But had some with my second (I was "showing" around ten weeks), and had a lot with this third (I had to wear sweats until I finally got my first-ever pair of maternity jeans at nine weeks). I didn't exactly discover any helpful solutions, but found wearing comfy clothes invaluable. And while we waited to announce the pregnancy, loose shirts were a must.
First Trimester Fashion
Maternity fashion for me is all about comfort. First trimester specifically involved loose clothes to help morning sickness, exhaustion and bloating--or at least not make them worse. I've found how early I started to show depended on the extent of my bloating and whether it was my first or subsequent pregnancy. Although a bump that's actually from the baby isn't likely until closer to second trimester, "showing" certainly started to some extent before the end of the first trimester.
If you're lucky to find your usual clothes are still fitting and comfy, then by all means keep wearing them! I was fortunate to experience that with my first (and was even a little anxious to "finally" start showing), and was happy to not have to spend money I didn't have on maternity clothes right away.
With my second and third pregnancies, buying looser or even specifically maternity clothes was essential before the end of the first trimester. Not as much fun when you know this "showing" is bloating and not actually baby. So I also strived to not draw attention to my belly in the first trimester.
Here are a few of my clothing essentials:
1. Stretchy Waste BandsCertain styles of yoga pants or leggings are so comfy when I'm feeling nauseous and exhausted, and they can even look dressy or put-together if needed. Maxi skirts and jersey knit dresses are also good options when looking for something loose around the waste. If chosen carefully, some of these items might be wearable throughout the pregnancy, and are especially handy for wearing after baby is born. To get extra use out of your regular jeans, try the ponytail through the button hole trick. This worked throughout my first pregnancy, but only for a week or so in my third pregnancy.
2. Loose ShirtsBlouses and tees that don't cling to the stomach help keep people from wondering while we wait to share the news. You likely already own a few. But even if you add a couple now, they'll be great to wear after baby is born.
3. Workout ClothesAnytime I could get away with it, I happily wore comfy workout/lounge clothes in the first trimester; and because I'm a stay-at-home mom, that happened to be often. Even if you work out of the home, don't feel guilty for jumping into these staples in the evenings or on the weekends. You deserve whatever relief you can find from uncomfortable symptoms!
4. Layering Tanks / Belly BandsI have a couple long, stretchy layering tanks I got for cheap (no more than $5) from Charolette Russe back in college. These have been awesome through all three pregnancies. They add length to my shirts, hold my pants snug (even if I have to unbotton), and smooth out my stomach. They stretch as I grow, but also keep their original shape/size. Some people love belly bands and some hate them--I've never tried them, but these tanks have done for me what I hear belly bands are supposed to do... but better.
5. Maternity StaplesI try not to buy too much maternity specific clothing. Whatever I do get must be a staple that can be worn in a variety of ways so I can get good use out of it (basic tees and tanks, jeans, etc.). And items I buy in the first trimester also shouldn't fit too snug, because I'm only going to get bigger and I don't want to have to replace everything in the last month. Anything bought in a first pregnancy is likely to get more use than those bought in a final pregnancy, so are more worth the investment. This pregnancy I specifically added a white maternity tank, a couple ruched maternity tees, a pair of maternity skinny jeans and maternity flared jeans (I prefer the full-panel). I was also handed down a couple cute maternity items from my sister. Hand-me-downs and secondhand are great sources for maternity-specific clothing.
6. Layering, Accessories, and Shoes
Because this is likely my last pregnancy, I have mostly tried to avoid adding too many maternity-specific articles of clothing. Money is tight in this household, so I've wanted to use my money on items that could be worn now, but would also have use beyond this pregnancy--especially layering items like cardis, accessories like watches or necklaces, and shoes that are cute but comfy. For this pregnancy that included a colored cardigan, a necklace, a maxi skirt, a chambray shirt, a pair of sandals, and a pair of peep toe wedge heels. Each of these have helped spruce up my wardrobe without having an "expiration date" after baby is born.New wireless bras and comfy underroos are also on my buy-list when I'm pregnant. When I was pregnant with my first I bought three underwire-free cotton bras a size larger in nude, brown and black. These have been great now through all three of my pregnancies. They are comfy on my sore and newly larger chest and super affordable (mine were clearance at Target, but TJ Maxx and other stores often have great affordable options). I also buy a basic package of Hanes cotton undies. It's a little bit sad to put away my nicer, prettier collection. But I feel better about stretching and wearing out cheap undies through pregnancy and even after baby is born. Then, I happily throw them away when I switch back to my nicer pair (or buy new if necessary) after post-birth bleeding has stopped and I've returned closer to my pre-pregnancy size.
What are your first trimester tips and essentials?
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New Baby Checklist
Cloth, Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond
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