1st Trimester Survival
Hello there my fellow mommies to be!
Thank you for stopping by to share in our mutual happiness and misery ;-)
I’m Darja (pronounced like the infamous MTV cartoon character Daria) and welcome to my Blog!
I am a singer songwriter and first time mommy to be and I would like to share with you how I survived the very interesting time that was my first trimester.
So right now I am actually 26 weeks pregnant but trust me the memory of the first trimester is still very fresh.
Let’s start from the very beginning. When my husband and I started trying for our first little one I immediately went to my OBGYN to get informed. She suggested that I should start taking my Pre Natal vitamins and Folic Acid. The reason why folic acid is so important even before you are pregnant is because it reduces the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida by up to 70% according to the CDC. And pre-natal vitamins are just essential for the general development of the baby and since the productions of a human requires more nutrients than our body is used to we need a bit of help with additional supplements.
I personally opted for an organic version, by Garden of Life MyKind Organics.
First I’d like to say that every pregnancy is very individual and everyone one experiences different symptoms at different levels of intensity. The most obvious one I think we all know of is morning sickness – which really should be called all day sickness in my case – but there are a few more other interesting fun facts you should know about. In total in my case I experienced 10 different symptoms during my first trimester and here is a list of those bad boys:
- Shortness of Breath
- Extreme Fatigue
- Fear and Anxiety
- Vocal Range Changes
- Nausea, Food Aversion, Sense of Smell
- Mood Swings
- Constant Peeing
The Big News
So fast forward to the big news the very first symptom I noticed immediately and which put me on high alert was shortness of breath. I was just walking down a small stair case and noticed that I was huffing and puffing and since I do a lot of exercise and would consider myself quite fit, I knew that something is going on. And according to the Period Tracker App on my i-phone I was three days late. And so it was that on my Birthday January the 6th I basically knew I am pregnant and the next day it was confirmed by a pregnancy test. So it was a very special Birthday surprise indeed.
1. Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath is caused by the increase of the Progesterone hormone, which increases your lung capacity, allowing you to breathe deeper during pregnancy, because you need around 20 percent more oxygen during pregnancy. Your body has to get used to is first, leaving you feeling short of breath. I still feel it once in a while when I walk my doggie, but nothing as bad as during the first trimester.
2. Extreme Fatigue
The other symptom I noticed pretty much straight away is extreme and random fatigue. During the first trimester I would experience a full system shut down starting 6pm. At first I would try to fight it, because there were things I wanted to get done, but the truth is that the energy required to produce a little human, cannot be underestimated so to all my fellow “mommies to be” especially those lucky enough to be able to work from home like me, allow yourself that quick power nap and rest your body – and if you need to take a day off from work just do it - you need it and you deserve it! You are creating new life after all and if there was ever the perfect time to love and nourish yourself now is the time!
3. Fear and Anxiety
At this point I want to be honest with you guys. Even though we were trying to get pregnant, while my husband was over the moon happy, my first very emotional reaction was fear and anxiety. It was mainly the fear of the unknown, the fear of everything changing irreversibly and for good, and also the very surreal and nerve wrecking realization that there is a human organism growing inside of my human organism – and that thought just kept boggling my mind and it still does. And I was judging myself for not being more excited and happy, but then again your body is going through extreme hormonal changes so a lot of my fears and worries were also related to that I think. I also started feeling quite isolated and alone in my experience – because we decided to not tell anyone until the end of the first three months. So the one thing that helped me out during those first few weeks was going online and reading forums, and I very quickly realized that I am definitely not alone in my struggles and that experiencing fear and anxiety is quite natural even if your little one was planned.
What helped me out a lot was to go on different forums and read about what other mommies are saying. Also I always felt like during the first trimester I was so busy trying to survive all my symptoms, that there was hardly time to establish a proper connection with my little one. So I got myself a pregnancy journal, which to this day is one of my favorite purchases so far. It is a Day-to Day Pregnancy guide with interesting facts about the baby's development every day and sweet quotes. There is also room to write notes and letters, so I started writing little letters to my unborn child and my husband also started leaving his notes. To this day it is one of my favorite things to do.
And now that I am 26 weeks along I am in full enjoyment of my pregnancy and I really feel the magic of it all, so for all you ladies who are currently struggling with all sorts of crazy hormonal anxieties, trust me you are not alone and I really hope that you will experience the same bliss that I am experiencing right now very soon. Don’t be hard on yourself and don’t judge yourself. Have trust that it’s just a phase and definitely seek professional help if you need it and talk to someone you trust. Many of our fellow mommies to be suffer from ante natal depression, which is caused by hormones and is a very tough state of being to deal with.
LIST OF RESOURCES FOR PRENATAL DEPRESSION - LADIES YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!
4. Vocal Range Changes
So as some of you might know – I am also a singer songwriter and if you are interested to see my work you can find me on iTunes and Spotify, Instagram and my website at www.darjasmusic.com, and the reason why I am mentioning it is because one of the other symptoms I started noticing almost immediately, was that I am unable to hit my high notes as well as before. So of course I googled it and yeap there was – pregnancy hormones can affect pretty much everything including your vocal chords. Higher levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause swollen vocal chords, and make your voice sound deeper than normal, so I decided this is the perfect time to write new songs and be creative in other ways – I still do my vocal exercises and I work with an incredible vocal coach who is leading me through my pregnancy in a very soft and spiritual way…
5. Nausea, Food Aversion & Increased Sense of Smell
Now let’s talk about the big one the morning sickness and nausea. So in my case the nausea, food aversion and increased sense of smell walked hand in hand. I do think I can consider myself quite lucky compared to some other mommies to be, because not once did I have to throw up, but the feeling of nausea and queeziness was present all day long as soon as I got up and especially if I didn’t eat on time. What I find really interesting how our body goes into embryo protection mode – so in my case I was averse to seafood, any sort of meat and anything with strong smells and different sauces – basically I became averse to any food that could potentially make me sick and cause a termination of my pregnancy. So the thought of my body being so smart in protecting my little one, kinda helped me get through it emotionally. Physically all I could eat was very neutral foods - raw vegetables and fruit as well as pasta, bread and crackers. I was powering through it and I was even performing on stage, but I always made sure I have a snack with me in the car in my bag in my jacket. My five go to snacking options were as follows:
1) Organic crackers
2) Fresh veggies and fruit
3) Nuts and dried fruit
4) Preggie Pops
5) And I loved drinking Ginger Root Tea – I would literally cut up one finger of fresh organic ginger and pour hot water over it. It really helped me out.
I would also have different food cravings like ice cream and pickles and I would not deny myself and I did not put any extra weight during the first trimester. So don’t worry about it too much – when it comes to food during the first trimester obviously it’s good to stay healthy but in my case for example I also felt like I am in full on survival mode here so I just did whatever is necessary. So don’t be so hard on yourself just do what it takes to get through it.
Slide: 6. Mood Swings
The other thing you should be aware of are extreme mood swings and judging from my experience it would be good to give a heads up to your support system. On a couple of occasions I went from being madly in love with my husband and the world to wanting to off him and everyone else in the blink of an eye. And again I am very happy to report that this is normal as well – it is caused by hormonal fluctuations. So I made sure that in my lucid non crazy moments I let my husband know that I still love him even when I want to kill him. Shout out to all the amazing and patient men out there who are in it to win it with us, and who take the hormonal abuse like a grown up mature man. Thank you gentlemen so much...and sorry...very sorry...
So progesterone is causing a lot of havoc in our system during that first trimester – and constipation is another fun fact I did not know about. Food travels through the intestines a lot more slowly, causing constipation. Another major cause of pregnancy constipation is the extra iron from prenatal vitamins – and by the way that same extra iron can cause extra nausea. I was eating a lot of dried prunes and made sure I drink lots of water and herbal tea. Smooth Move by Herbal Medicinals in particular. It is said that exercising will help too but in my case was feeling so sick and nauseous all day up until week 12 that the only exercise I was able to do was some mild stretching and a strenuous climb into my bath tub at night.
So I am not sure if you ladies are with me on this, but the one thing I was looking forward to when I first found out that I was pregnant is the absence of period cramps. So turns out that to accommodate my little munchkin, the uterus has to grow and expand and that very natural expansion of the uterus is accompanied by uterine cramps that in my case felt very similar to period cramps. The one and only thing that got me through those first initial crampy weeks were my nightly warm baths. So ladies if you like taking bath stock up on your bath salts and bath bombs.
The Bath Oil by the German Brand Kneipp is to this day one of my favorites. It turns the water into a soothing blue color and the smell is so relaxing, my husband also loves to sit in the bathroom with me to just take in a bit of aroma therapy :-)
9. Constant peeing
The extra blood flow makes kidneys produce up to 25% more urine soon after conception. This increased urine production peaks by about 9 to 16 weeks of the pregnancy, then settles down. I literally couldn’t get through one night without going to the bathroom two, three and sometimes 4 times a night. I am so happy that went away after week twelve in my case.
In early pregnancy, heartburn is caused by the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the uterine muscles to fit your growing baby–and also relaxes the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. Zantac is to this day my trusty over the counter safe to take during pregnancy companion when I experience heartburn. But definitely ask your healthcare practitioner if it’s safe for you to take it. Also I invested into an amazing pregnancy pillow that I got on amazon. I can’t recommend this pillow highly enough – with all the different physical and emotional aches and pains going on the one thing I always look forward to is to sink into that pillow at night.
To all my fellow mommies to be I really hope this article proved useful to you and that I was able to share some things with you that you may not have known before. I would be ecstatic to hear from you , because ultimately I am doing all this to create a community where we can safely talk and help each other out. I want to hear how your experience was during the 1st Trimester! And if you have any questions for me, please reach out! Leave your comments!
Much Love and Success to you all always!