Inside: all the excitement in the world of pregnancy can’t cover up the miserable first trimester. Here are 9 fail-proof tips for how to survive the first trimester when all you can do is puke.
Throwing my 9-week pregnant self out of bed and making a mad dash for the toilet I try not to spew yesterday’s dinner all over the duvet cover.
“so this is what all the pregnancy hype is about…” I think to myself as I spend the next half hour head-down in a toilet bowl.
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How to Deal With Morning Sickness
So, how do you survive the first trimester when all you do is puke?
While morning sickness isn’t the only thing that makes the first trimester difficult, it is one of the worst. However, there are a number of other factors that all contribute to make the first trimester of pregnancy a less-than-desirable 12 weeks for many women, like…
- Difficulty sleeping
- Aching muscles
- Stomach cramps
- Extreme fatigue
- Frequent trips to the bathroom (whether to pee or puke. Both are very likely)
- Breast soreness
I’m not here to drag on pregnancy. In fact, I loved being pregnant. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that pregnancy comes with its fair share of difficulties – especially during the first trimester.
And morning sickness is, undoubtedly, the most difficult to cope with.
How is someone supposed to carry on with their day acting like everything is normal when their stomach is literally fighting against their body and telling them, “I don’t care if there’s nothing left in here. You ARE going to heave.”?
Morning sickness didn’t care when it showed up, either. I could be kissing my husband goodbye in the morning and have to make a dash for the toilet bowl, or at a friends house having a nice conversation only to stop mid-sentence and make a beeline for the bathroom.
All the puking made me think two particular thoughts:
- Why couldn’t I have been one of the 15% of ladies that didn’t experience morning sickness in pregnancy?
- Why on earth was I stupid enough not to stock up on these the day I saw the two lines on my pregnancy test?
I needed some morning sickness remedies, stat. Here is my shortlist of tried-and-true ways to ease morning sickness:
Eat Small and Frequently
Now’s not the time for a gourmet turkey dinner. Morning sickness always seemed to be worse on an empty stomach – and puking on an empty stomach hurts.
So, keep snacks on hand and eat frequently. These are the best foods for morning sickness:
- Anything ginger (particularly, this ginger candy – use caution, may become addicting)
- Plain crackers
- Potato chips (I know – permission to eat more chips? Happy day)
- Plain toast, or lightly buttered
The main factor is to steer clear of anything too flavorful and strong. Keep meals plain and small, for now.
Take Prenatal Vitamins With a Snack
Prenatal vitamins are morning sickness inducing for many women. (Myself very much included.)
The first time around, I was bound and determined to force myself to take the pill-prenatal vitamins because they were cheaper. But, the second time around I smartened up and got this kind because they didn’t make me throw up – as much.
Whichever prenatal vitamins you choose, try not to take them on an empty stomach.
Carry a Lemon With You
Don’t laugh, I’m serious. Sniffing a lemon can ease morning sickness in a jiffy, which is exactly why you’re going to want to carry one of these suckers around with you everywhere you go.
Okay, if you don’t want lemon juice oozing all over the contents in your purse, maybe carry this around instead. (Worried about using essential oils while pregnant? I was too. This safety information shows that lemon is safe to use during pregnancy.)
9 Tips to Survive the First Trimester of Pregnancy
…even when all you do is puke.
1. Nap Where You Can, When You Can
If difficulties sleeping due to pregnancy hasn’t hit you yet, you can be almost certain that it will, soon. So, if you can still sleep, do it.
Take a midday siesta and feel no remorse. Your body is growing a new human being, and it takes a whole lot of work on your part.
Plus it will suck the life right out of you. So taking time to rest your body will do you wonders.
Falling asleep literally anywhere was one of the first things that made my husband and I suspicious about the pregnancy we didn’t know about yet. Mid-afternoon would hit and my body would shut down. It would say, “that’s enough, it’s time for some serious R&R.” and it made me wonder what on earth all the ladies that claimed to have so much energy in pregnancy were talking about, ’cause I sure wasn’t feeling it.
If you spend the majority of your day at a job away from home, take advantage of your breaks to sneak out to your car and take a quick cat-nap.
Your nap doesn’t need to be hours long. A 10 – 20-minute nap is enough to give your body and brain the boost they need to make it through the rest of the dreary day.
Already having trouble sleeping? Use the code MHM50 to get $50 off a pregnancy pillow to help you sleep better.
2. Cut Yourself Some Slack
You can’t get pregnant and expect your body to do the same stuff it has always done. Now that you’re pregnant, you:
- get tired quicker
- need to be careful not to do stuff that could be harmful to the baby
- are hungry often
- have sore feet
- need more calories & fluids
- are emotional (your hormones are all over the map)
Don’t beat yourself up for spilling shredded cheese on the floor. Don’t feel bad for crying over that bowl of carrots you just spent shredding and now dumped on the floor (…anyone else?).
Most importantly, don’t feel guilty if you aren’t loving being pregnant.
These next 9 months are going to change and stretch your body like never before. It’s perfectly normal to not feel normal right now.
3. Find Morning Sickness Remedies That Work
Up to 85% of women experience morning sickness at some point throughout their pregnancy.
Which means, unless you’re one of the elite 15%, there will come a time when you, too, struggle with the nauseating sensations of morning sickness in the next nine months.
A couple good morning sickness remedies are:
- Taking Vitamin B6 for nausea (always talk to your doctor before starting a new vitamin/supplement, but if you get the go-ahead, vitamin B6 can greatly improve your morning sickness)
- Preggie Pop Drops (these contain vitamin B6 to help with nausea and are specifically made for helping with morning sickness)
- Freezies (when I couldn’t eat/drink anything else without wanting to upchuck, freezies came to the rescue every.single.time)
The good news: Morning sickness typically tapers off between 14 and 16 weeks of pregnancy, so that’s something to look forward to while you’re watching your breakfast burrito come up.
4. Take a Prenatal Class
Assuming we were baby experts, my husband and I made the unified decision not to take a prenatal class.
With 7 nieces and nephews, what didn’t we know? (A lot, it turns out.)
Having a boatload of nieces and nephews is a whole lot different than having your own child, and we had to learn that the hard way.
We ended up taking our prenatal class after having our first – yes, after – and I’m forever grateful that we did. But, since we didn’t have time to attend an actual class, we ended up just taking an online class.
If you’re pregnant – even if you’re sure you know it all – take a prenatal class. Just do it. I promise, you don’t know it all, and it’s better to be prepared.
(You can take the free, short-version of the prenatal class we took here.)
5. Treat Yourself to Maternity Clothes
I was bound and determined to not wear maternity clothes during pregnancy. I was going to make the statement that you don’t need maternity clothes just because you’re pregnant and we were going to save a boatload of money.
… I lasted about 10 weeks before giving in and buying maternity clothes.
Normal clothes just aren’t comfortable (and that “genius” hair-tie-button thing everyone talks about? It isn’t magical. It pinches. It hurts. It’s miserable), and with all the changes happening in your body, you deserve to be comfortable.
So go to the mall, the thrift store, or online to a local buy and sell and buy yourself three pairs of maternity jeans, two nice maternity tops, and 2 casual maternity tops.
And then thank me later. (Or don’t. Totally your call.)
6. Eat What You Want,
When You Want When You Can
Forget what your mother-in-law, next-door neighbor, and local dog all tell you about eating “only the healthiest stuff”.
When your body throws a major fit and threatens to evict the very lining of your stomach on a moment’s notice, you’re not going to want to stuff your face with a kale and spinach salad.
If pregnancy nausea is kicking your butt, find something that you can eat, and then eat it. Don’t worry about nutrition right now, because even the most nutritious food won’t do you any good if it’s coming right back up exactly 2.7 seconds after it goes down.
Once the morning sickness has passed, you can start eating healthier. For now, make it your goal to find something you can eat and keep down. Then eat that.
7. Three Words: It. Will. Pass.
The nausea, the anxiety, the raging hormones, the guilt – it will all pass (well, maybe not the mom guilt. That sticks around for a few years).
You will start to feel like yourself again and there will come a time – not so far away – when your bladder doesn’t need to empty itself every 25 minutes. That day will come.
For now, find something to help pass the time. Try not to dwell on the hardships, but instead try to find something positive in every day.
Keep yourself busy by making a trip to the store (or, if you can’t make it out the door without upchucking, shop online) and stocking up on the essential morning sickness remedies.
Distract yourself from your aching ankles and swollen feet by binge-watching a new TV show.
If pregnancy anxiety is what you struggle with, find relief in knowing you are not alone and that more than 1 in 10 women struggles with pregnancy anxiety at some point.
8. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is never good. Dehydration in pregnancy can lead to serious complications like birth defects, preterm labor, and inadequate breastmilk production.
The biggest struggle I faced with this was that almost anytime I drank water, I threw up. Water and my pregnant belly meshed about as good as water and oil, except it cued an eruption in my belly.
Thankfully, as I got further into the second trimester I was able to start drinking water without getting sick from it, so I made a habit of always carrying a reusable water bottle around with me so that I remembered to drink.
Pro tip: Carry a water bottle with you so that it isn’t an inconvenience to drink water. Using this type of water bottle (I especially love it because it shows you how much to drink per hour) will help you make sure you’re drinking enough to keep yourself & baby hydrated.
9. Don’t Stress It
Don’t stress over the little things. Don’t stress over the big things. Just try not to stress.
Keep yourself relaxed, and if you feel like you need to have boxes full of baby clothes organized and labelled all the way from newborn up to 3T, stop.
Take a step back. Breathe. Remember you still have several months before this little bundle comes and you will get everything done. And if something gets left undone, it won’t be the end of the world. (Unless your baby comes and you have no diapers. In that case, grab a pack now.)
Chances are, over the months you’ll end up getting piles of baby clothes, toys, crib sheets, and everything else you could need passed down to you. Don’t worry, it’ll all come together.
Try to spend the moments when you feel good enjoying pregnancy, not stressing about everything that has yet to be done.
How to Survive the First Trimester… Your Turn
Did you make it through a rough first trimester? Share your tips for how to survive the first trimester in a comment below.