Pregnancy lessons: 10 things I’ve learned in the first trimester
- In weeks 1 and 2 of pregnancy, the baby has yet to be conceived
I know right, WHAT? It just doesn’t make sense! Memorise the date of your last period because you’ll be repeating it to a lot of people.
- Fatigue will hit you hard so just accept it and rest up
I used to sleep 6 – 7 hours and suddenly needed 8 – 10 hours in addition to afternoon naps; I felt exhausted every day! Your body is working incredibly hard to create a tiny life so just rest when your body is asking for it.
- Your heightened sense of smell may drive you mad
I had to attend a few weddings during the first trimester and it was not fun smelling alcohol on everyone’s breath. However, it’s pretty incredible that this protective instinct naturally turns you off things that may be harmful to the baby such as cured meats, raw or off food.
- Your boobs will be perkier and larger (but also sore) and your hair will suddenly have a killer shine
Invest in wire-free bras for comfort; by week 10, I packed away my nice lace stuff and went back to basics with H&M and Bonds. So. Comfortable. I probably should have done it sooner. Larger boobs paired with an effortless salon-fresh look, they’re perks of pregnancy I’m definitely enjoying.
- Embrace maternity wear
My bump didn’t show until the last few weeks of the first trimester but quite early on, I had to pack away my high-waisted pants and skirts. Elastic waistbands are insanely comfortable by the way; they would have made great eating pants! I am addicted to ASOS Maternity.
- Fear and self-doubt can be suffocating and cloud your judgement
Stop comparing yourself to other mothers and don’t set up unrealistic expectations. Opening up to your partner, family and close friends can help put things into perspective.
- Our bodies are magnificent, trust it to do it’s thing
Sometimes it’ll feel unbearable having to wait between ultrasound appointments to see that the baby is doing OK but don’t freak out if you don’t feel or look pregnant. Of course, be familiar with the signs of miscarriage but don’t over analyse. With that said, I’ve already had the following scans — which were mostly optional:
- 6 weeks + 4 days: The GP suggested a dating scan as I had a tiny bit of spotting one of the days. I had to go to the ultrasound with a full bladder and the pregnancy was confirmed with the gestational sac measuring 2.14cm and a heartbeat of 115bpm.
- 10 weeks + 4 days: At the first OB appointment ultrasound, we saw little hands, legs and the heartbeat! The baby was measuring 3.54cm.
- 11 weeks + 1 day: The Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) can be done as early as 10 weeks so we booked this in straight away after getting a referral from the OB! This involved a simple blood test and an ultrasound. In just 4 days, the baby had grown to 4.398cm!
- 13 weeks + 4 days: The Anatomy Ultrasound Scan was a more detailed ultrasound to check that the baby’s organs were all there and developing normally! Again, this involved a full bladder which moves the bowel out from the pelvis into the abdomen, helping visualisation of the pregnancy, uterus and ovaries. Her heart was beating at about 162bpm and she was measuring 8.1cm! We saw her spine, eyes, limbs, kidneys, and more!
- Morning sickness does not discriminate based on time of day
I was nauseous literally every night from week 6 but magically, it disappeared overnight at the end of week 12! I tried to hide and deny it at first but I eventually gave up and accepted the fact that I wouldn’t be able to hold down my dinner for a while. This also brought on terrible bouts of heartburn and many sleepless and hungry nights; it was so difficult to keep up appearances given the exhaustion! I was really surprised by how it seemed to take over my life. P.S. It’s true that brushing your teeth may also bring on morning sickness.
- No matter how healthy you typically eat, it’s peace of mind to take prenatal vitamins
Being a really clean eater and believer that the baby should get nutrients from real whole foods, I was adamant I wouldn’t need vitamin supplements but I was eventually convinced to take it at least during the critical stages of the first trimester while the baby was developing all the major organs. In hindsight, it was great as I was able to surrender to unexpected cravings of junk food — burgers, fried chicken, chips and gravy — for a while, I couldn’t tolerate the smell of kale, broccoli, brown rice, essentially all the things I used to love!
- Lastly, the stuff that nobody talks about… abdominal bloating, increase in flatulence and hemorrhoids
Progesterone causes the smooth muscle tissue in your body (including the gastrointestinal tract) to relax. This slows down digestion, giving the nutrients from food you eat more time to enter your bloodstream and reach your baby. However, this is said to cause more gas, bloating, burping and flatulence — warn your partner! Hemorrhoids are blood vessels in the rectal area that have become unusually swollen and can be a result of constipation. The fix? Have a healthy level of fibre and stay hydrated.