A no-nonsense guide to making it through the First Trimester of pregnancy

Well, here you are. Pregnant.

Scared? Excited? Nervous? Sick? All of the above?

My pregnancy was 100% unplanned, so when I took that first pregnancy test (mostly just to prove to myself that my late period was nothing to ‘worry about’) it came as a bit of a shock to me when a second line showed! Did I mention this was taken in the bathroom stall at WORK?!

After a quick phone call to my sister (WTF should I DO?!) I managed to calm myself down enough to get myself off to a doctor to get a proper checkup (of course my normal GP was away and I ended up being assessed by a lady I could barely understand let alone talk to)!

From there, it was a total whirlwind. Everything from “Am I ready for this?!” to “What do all these blood test results even mean??!!!”. All of this whilst ‘not being allowed’ to tell anyone about the pregnancy! (I’ve covered that topic below)

So what do you do now? Where do you start? I’ve listed the things I might have found useful in the first trimester in the hope that they can help you!

What do I do first?

  1. See your doctor: Pop to your doctor and have a check-up! Take a list of any medication you currently take (including vitamins, etc) to check that they are still OK to take during pregnancy. Ask all the questions you can while you are there and don’t feel embarrassed about anything. It’s all very new and better to be safe.
  2. Pregnancy book: Get yourself a good pregnancy book (I liked ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’ and ‘Up the duff’) and try to limit the amount of googling you do. I found that reading only the information that readily applied to me at the time or immediate future helped me to not feel overwhelmed.
  3. Habits: Re-assess any ‘bad’ habits you may have (drinking, smoking, taking recreational drugs, etc). You may also want to think about your diet.
  4. Vitamins: Pop out and buy yourself some pregnancy multivitamins and start taking them (perhaps only buy a small packet to start with as you may want to experiment with different brands). You may also need to experiment with what time of day you take them; I could only take them at night as they’d make me sick.
  5. Assess your care options: Whilst this can be super overwhelming at this stage, start to think about where you want to have the baby and what sort of care you would like to receive. If you decide on a hospital, you can generally jump on their website and see what sort of options they have available. If its available, id suggest some sort of continuous care (i.e., seeing the same person each time). whether that be an obstetrician, a midwife program or even getting yourself a student midwife. (we had a 3rd year student midwife and she was wonderful.

Body Changes

I don’t know about you but my body started to change pretty quickly once pregnancy was upon me. My belly popped almost instantly and I felt bloated all the time, my boobs started growing at a rapid rate and my skin BROKE OUT! My ‘best’ advice?

Clothing: Wear comfy clothes as much as you can. Think flowing dresses, stretchy skirts or pants, loose tops, etc. There are also a few options to give you some more room in your pants including:

  • simply undoing the top button,
  • the belly belt (button extender),
  • the bump band (goes over your pants) and
  • the old hairtie trick (google it!)

My other suggestion? don’t invest in maternity wear yet. You’ll be wearing it the rest of your pregnancy (which trust me, will feel like forever) and you can get away without it now

Bras: Invest in some COMFY, stretchy, seam-free crop-top type bras that will grow with you. There is no point going out and buying expensive maternity bras at this stage as you have NO IDEA how much or little your boobs will change. Go somewhere like Kmart or Target and get a a multi-pack. They’ll be useful to sleep in as well

Break-outs: I struggled a lot with this one and you’ve got to be really careful about what you can use during pregnancy. I got a benzyl peroxide treatment cream (which is considered safe to use in pregnancy) and I also treated myself to a good, proper facial by someone who had also studied naturopathy. She  recommend some things that would help with my skin including increasing my intake of healthy oils in my diet.

Morning sickness

Ahhh, the dreaded morning sickness. I seriously have no idea why someone named it that. From about 7 weeks I felt sick from the moment I woke up till the moment I went to bed. You know that lingering, hangover type feeling? Thats what it feels like. I don’t think anything can really make it go away, but there are a few things that tended to help me:

  1. Drink as much as you can. Water is best, but if you can’t stomach it, perhaps try weak lemon cordial. Never leave home without your water bottle.
  2. Eat lots of small meals across the day / night and try to keep them as healthy as possible. Never leave home without snacks in your handbag. Where you can, avoid large heavy meals. They will only make you feel worse.
  3. Ginger tablets: try taking some ginger tablets or eating ginger biscuits.
  4. Tea: Try teas that are used to settle the stomach, eg. Lemon and Ginger, Peppermint.

Extreme fatigue

I almost forgot about this one. But it was like a whole new level of being tired you will have never experienced before. I urge you to (if possible) REST, REST, REST. Go to bed early, sleep late, let your partner pick up the slack. Remember, your body is growing a whole new organ (the placenta) and creating a baby. Give your body the rest it needs!

The anxiety

Once the reality of pregnancy hits you’ll probably start to worry. ‘What about all those drinks I had last weekend?’, ‘omg, I did Bikram yoga yesterday’, etc etc. Honestly, it happens to most of us and our babies are OK so try not to stress so much.
I personally also worried (constantly) about whether or not the baby was OK. And when I say constantly, I mean constantly. Unfortunately, there’s not much advice I can give you on this one however one thing my doctor told me that resinated was “You’re young, you’re healthy and you live in one of the best countries in the world.” I tried tot remember that as much as possible.

Hiding it (or not…)

Ahh, the old ‘Don’t tell anyone until 12 week’ thing. This was a difficult one for me and I ended up telling people earlier than that 3 month mark. Like I mentioned earlier, the pregnancy was a complete surprise so I felt I needed to talk to some people about it in order to help clear my head, understand what to do next and just for general support and advice.
My other issue was that my 30th birthday was coming up and i’d already organised a party (with a healthy bar-tab).  I stressed and stressed about how I was going to hide it from everyone at the party. I contemplated drinking mocktails all night but worried people would hear me order them, or putting a non-alcoholic champagne behind the bar but worried the bartender would accidentally serve me real champagne, etc. In the end, we announced the pregnancy on the night. And you know what? It was such a relief! But I do understand thats not for everyone. So, heres a list of things to think about if you are contemplating when to tell people:

  1. The big, yucky one. Will you feel comfortable with people knowing if the pregnancy doesn’t continue? (But on the flip-side, would they be good support if something did happen?)
  2. If you tell someone, I can almost guarantee they will tell someone else (whether it be their partner, their best friend, someone you don’t know, etc). Would that bother you?
  3. Do you / you and your partner want to share this special time with only yourselves?
  4. How will your work handle the news? (sometimes telling your boss will help with their understanding as to why you may be late, always running off to the bathroom, etc)

Hang in there and be kind to yourself. It is a tough time, but it will pass. Enjoy nights in, sleeping late, going to bed early, spending time on the couch, and dreaming about that beautiful baby you are creating!


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