The next nine months are sure to take you on the ride of your life, but the first trimester is arguably one of the toughest to face. You’ve got hormones gone wild and you’re adjusting to a lot of changes all at once; morning sickness leaves you feeling worse for wear, you feel constantly bloated, and you’ve never experienced exhaustion at this level. On top of everything, you’re probably keeping the pregnancy news a secret from larger social circles, which makes it even harder to manage it all.
We promise, after powering through those first three months, things really do get sweeter. That all-over bloat suddenly starts turning into an adorable bump and you can start experimenting with your wardrobe, you come out of the cloud of first trimester fatigue, nausea (hopefully) subsides, your stamina (and libido!) revives, you can finally share the news and shift your focus to the incredible thing your body is doing.
Knowing what physical and emotional changes to expect in the first trimester can help you face your pregnancy with some much needed confidence. So to ensure you’ve got all the information to hand, we’ve spilled the beans on the best ways to handle your first trimester hormones.
Prioritize sleep. During your first trimester you may find a whole new meaning to the word exhaustion; merely walking up a flight of stairs is enough to leave you breathless (which is totally normal FYI). As your body goes through the hormonal motions, don’t forget to cut yourself some slack! Your body will let you know when it’s time to slow down – it’s just a case of listening. A little extra sleep at night will do you wonders and a power nap from time to time is perfectly OK. Plus, now’s the time to make the most of the extra shut-eye before your little one arrives!
Bonus tip: Exercise is also a great way to boost your energy and combat exhaustion during your first trimester. For extra support on the subject we’ve got a blog post with everything you need to know about first trimester exercise. To recap: rest when you need to, workout when you can, and keep on looking forward to the second trimester when your energy levels will start to rebound!
Fend off queasiness. Morning sickness is the bane of first trimesters and as you may well know, nausea and vomiting can strike at any time of the day and often triggered by a number of things. You can clap back on the symptoms by adding some more vitamin B6 into your meals, such as bananas, avocadoes and nuts or even drinking a cup or two of ginger tea, which can lower the acidity in your gut. For even more hot tips, discover the best foods to fight first trimester nausea.
Keep comfort close. Are sore and tender breasts making you straight up uncomfortable? Again, you can thank hormones for this lovely side effect. The pain is from enlarged mammary glands that are gearing up for milk production, and an overall increase in blood flow and body fluids. It’s such a nightmare, we know; painful, annoying and at times unbearable to go about your day as normal when all you want to do is whip off your bra and pop on some ice packs. To get some relief, in a more appropriate setting, give your chest a light massage whilst taking a warm shower. The aim is to reduce the overall swelling, and the warm water can help minimize tenderness and gentle, circular massaging motions around the breast can help to keep fluids moving properly. Practice makes perfect, after a few goes’ you’ll be a pro.
Bonus tip: Make sure that bra (that you want to whip off) is well-fitting, soft and supportive. Now is a great time to get re-fitted and pick up some wireless bras, as underwire can make the tenderness worse.
Meditate to feel great. Yoga has become a phenomenon in the last few years, so much so there are even yoga classes designed to do with your dog (yep – it’s called Doga). But back to the topic: yoga has long been a prenatal exercise staple, but it’s also a fabulous addition to your 1st trimester routine for more reasons than fitness. It’s a warrior at slaying those tension headaches, can help you mitigate stress and anxiety, and support your emotional wellbeing from the start of your pregnancy. Feeling stressed about the changes to come is completely normal, but that daily stress is definitely tightening muscles in your neck, chest and shoulders. No surprise here: that muscle tightness leads to tension headaches and increased anxiety. Yoga can help you soothe both of these things. Take 5-10 minutes every morning to stretch, breathe through your favorite poses, and lift your spirits with empowering affirmations to keep you feeling light and lifted.
Take back control. There may be days this trimester when you’re feeling totally out of control. Don’t worry mama, mood swings are common during the first trimester, and those pesky hormones are the culprit for the way you’re feeling. One second you’re happy and excited and the next you’re blubbering and you’re never entirely sure why. These emotions tend to sneak up on you, and finding life hacks to handle them once they hit can really make the difference. One of our top suggestions is to make a playlist of your favorite relaxing music and keep it on your phone (Spotify works a treat!), so when you feel irritability start to rise, you can plug in and use the music to find your calm. Picking a few positive affirmations that you can say to yourself when you feel the tears coming can keep your eyes dry as well.
Bonus tip: Running a warm bubble bath and cuddling into a good book is always a failsafe option.
The first trimester is a tough mountain to climb, but you’ve got this – we promise! With a tirade of emotions weighing you down, you may even find a weekend getaway is exactly what you, your partner and your body needs. If you’re looking for more good reads, take a peek at our packing guide for weekend getaways.