10 Ways to Survive and Thrive in Your First Trimester

Pregnancy test resultThe first trimester of pregnancy can be rough. From the moment you find out you're pregnant (whether it's at 4 weeks or 10 weeks), you'll likely run through a rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts. Even a pregnancy that is planned and anticipated has a way of rocking your world! So for all you mamas out there who are living life less than 12 weeks pregnant, this post is for you.


Sleep! You will undoubtedly begin to feel a kind of tiredness that is unlike life before conception. If you feel like you've pulled an all-nighter or been hit by a ton-of-bricks, welcome to your first trimester. Your best bet? Sleep! If you normally sleep 7 hours at night, try and aim for 9. If you have a chance in the afternoon (hello, car napping) or early evening, take a cat nap. Even 15 minutes can make a difference. 

Pack small, healthy snacks. An increased appetite is also a hallmark of early pregnancy. If your hunger keeps catching you off guard (and making you irritable), plan ahead by packing small snacks to take with you throughout your day. Fruit, nuts, grains, dairy -- include a variety of items that cover essential nutrients and keep you full.

Begin documenting your pregnancy. You don't have to be a Pinterest guru to document your pregnancy in a fun or memorable way. Even something as simple as a picture or journal entry every week will be a treasure to cherish for years to come. 

Find your tribe. Even if you're not telling a lot of people before you get past your first trimester, it's so important to have support from others who have gone before you (or who are also in their first trimester!). If you're keeping your pregnancy hush-hush, consider finding a supportive group of expectant or experienced moms online. It can help to know you're not in the trenches alone. 

Relish your small belly. For first-time moms, it may be hard to appreciate your small or flat first trimester belly. But any mama who has gone through the last few weeks of pregnancy will tell you that they long for the day when they can sleep on their tummy/roll over in bed/tie their shoe/bend over. Enjoy it now -- you will soon be "showing!"

Find "treat" replacements. If, before pregnancy, you regularly enjoyed a glass of wine, afternoon espresso, or other treat that's off limits (or limited) during pregnancy, find a safe-for-pregnancy alternative. Non-alcoholic juice spritzers, decaf coffee, flavored coconut water, hot cocoa -- all of these can replace your pre-pregnancy treats while still feeling like you can indulgence. 

Plan the big reveal. If you're looking for a creative way to announce your pregnancy, search the web for ideas and start planning for how you'll let friends and family know. It will help you pass the time and build more excitement around your pregnancy. 

Seek professional help. If your pregnancy was unplanned and you're having a difficult time coping, or if you think you are experiencing perinatal depression or other mood disorders like OCD or anxiety, seek professional help from your care provider or from an experienced counselor, therapist, or psychologist. 

Give your body a break. Even though you don't yet "look" pregnant, your body is hard at work. Give yourself a break, allow yourself more rest than usual, and go easy on yourself. Say no if you don't feel like doing something social, take a sick day if you can, or perhaps surround yourself with more friends and family than usual. 

Learn how to cope with nausea. If you do experience "morning sickness" during the first trimester, there are many ways in which you can help ease the feelings of nausea. Talk to your care provider and other moms, and seek suggestions online (always double check with your care provider) to find what works for you. For many, the nausea will subside by around 14 weeks. 


Other mamas, we want to know: how did you get through the first trimester?

1 Like

10 Ways to Survive and Thrive...

July 21, 2014 12:15 PM by Ann Cowlin (Yale University and Dancing Thru Pregnancy, Inc.)

Good advice. Two things - both of which affect long-term maternal & fetal health - that might be added:

1. NIH 2009 Nutritional guidelines suggest NO additional calories first trimester, so divide up your normal daily intake to make your snacks and smaller meals. Rapid weight gain in first trimester is associated w adverse outcomes.

2. Continue regular physical activity or join a group class with an instructor who is trained in pregnancy exercise, if you are not regularly active. Aerobic activity at an appropriate level is of particular importance as it improves placental development and reduces risk or severity of several major disorders of pregnancy. Some days may be easier than others, but do the best you can to stay or become active.

10 Ways to Survive and Thrive...

July 22, 2014 11:07 AM by Amanda O'Kane

I agree with the previous comment. I survived the first trimester by focusing on developing habits that would lead to a healthy pregnancy. Every woman is different, but having several smaller meals a day helped my nausea, and I did my best to eat healthy and exercise as often as I felt comfortable. It can be tough keeping a secret for months, but establishing these habits early kept me feeling well it was time to share the exciting news! 


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