I am in the middle of preparing a series on Gestational Diabetes, but I decided that a series about pregnancy was more urgent. (I was supposed to write this “best pregnancy” post during the week of January 22nd, according to my editorial calendar, but that never happened >.< ) I have SO MANY pregnant friends, and this is what I wish I could tell you all!!! So here is how to have your BEST pregnancy: First Trimester! Second Trimester will come out later this week, and Third will probably be posted next week (Feb 26th-ish).
If you don’t have time to read it all now, pin it to Pinterest for later!
How to Have the BEST Pregnancy EVER!
I had a drastically different experience with my second pregnancy than I did with my first. I give all the credit to my toddler, who made me take him on walks everyday and who reminded me to eat more frequently (toddlers have a similar eating schedule to pregnant women and diabetics!). During Round #2, I learned about things I wish I had learned the first time around (like Hypnobirthing and rebozos)! Even near the end of my second I learned things that I wish I had learned earlier that improved my life, so I am looking forward to having my best pregnancy the third time around in the future!
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that, at no added cost to you, I may receive compensation for products you purchase through links found on my blog. (Thank you, thank you!) This in no way affects the products I recommend (I only recommend the best)!*
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, so please consult your physician before attempting any of these suggestions. Use your best judgment. What worked for me may not work for you. Each body is different and unique. Do what you feel is best at your own risk. I am not liable for any consequences. I am a blogger. This is a blog meant to provide opinions, suggestions, experiences, and information. Not medical advice. I am human and make mistakes, so information may not be 100% complete or accurate. Thank you, and enjoy!*
First on the list:
Things to Do in Your FIRST Trimester to have Your Best Pregnancy:
To Have Your Best Pregnancy, You Need to SLEEP!
The first trimester is (in my opinion) the worst (unless you hit ->the fourth trimester<-). During early pregnancy, you feel exhausted, tired, sick, and gross all the time, and you don’t even have a belly or flutter kicks to show for it. Many people won’t even know what is wrong with you. Just, get lots of rest. Ignore your husband, friends, and family who think you are ridiculous because you aren’t even that pregnant yet. Trust me. They simply don’t understand it. Sleep.
Every expectant mother feels it, but women sometimes forget what it’s like during the first few weeks/months. It’s especially bad your first pregnancy. Fatigue gets better (sometimes) in subsequent pregnancies, but that may just be because you have to take care of other little peanuts, so your mom energy is kicked into overdrive. *Even with a toddler, though, I took a nap when he napped (twice a day!). Ah, the blessings of having them so close together (21 months).*
We’ll talk about how to sleep comfortably when you are massive pregnant in the second and third trimester posts. For now, just enjoy your ability to sleep with ease.
Take Prenatal Vitamins
If you haven’t already (any menstruating woman should), start taking prenatal vitamins. These are so important, and help prevent so many complications related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Pregnant women need to be especially aware of folate, iron, Vitamin D & C, and calcium.
I’ve been taking prenatals since I was 16, and I am sure it has contributed to my insanely healthy, fast growing locks of hair, in addition to my chunky, healthy babies. My hubby would tease that I overachieved with my baby making and took too many vitamins, which is why my baby was too big to push out (turns out it was probably undiagnosed gestational diabetes). Joking aside, prenatals, vitamins, and minerals are excellent, and you need to be taking them. (Most Americans are deficient in Magnesium, which pairs well with Vitamin D, so look into that as well).
EAT THE MOMENT YOU WAKE UP. (*The Secret to Eradicating Morning Sickness*)
Morning sickness and nausea is usually caused by an empty stomach, so you must not allow your stomach to be empty for long.
I informed my husband of this fact before I got pregnant, so during my first trimester he would force feed me in bed. Options ranged from mandarin oranges to crackers, or whatever else he could find. (I preferred oranges, because he would peel them in the kitchen, so no mess in the bedroom. But desperate times sometimes called for desperate measures, like granola bars).
You need to literally stick something in your mouth and consume it the moment you wake up. I would even keep a fig bar next to the bed.
This tactic was effective during both of my pregnancies (a boy and a girl). I have not barfed a single time! I felt extremely nauseous, felt like passing out, and have been unable to eat Nutella for (going on) 4 years now, but no barfing was involved (score!).
Morning sickness is different for everyone, and every pregnancy. My first (my son) I felt significantly more nauseous than I did with my second, but I know many moms who had it backwards. Listen to your body, and please seek medical attention if you can’t keep anything down at all (especially water).
EAT EVERY 2-3 HOURS. (The Secret to Eliminating Pregnancy Fatigue and Daytime Nausea)
This is SO important. Otherwise, you will feel tired, nauseous, grumpy, awful, and nowhere near having your best pregnancy. So, please make sure you keep your blood sugars level by eating a protein rich snack and meal frequently. This not only helps combat morning sickness, it also helps you have a clear mind, and fuels your body while it’s adjusting to pouring all available energy into your uterus.
Take a break!
If you work, you must insist that you get an opportunity to eat a (protein rich) snack every 2-3 hours. [example schedule: eat breakfast at 6 or 7am, get to work at 8am, eat snack at 10am, eat lunch at 12pm, eat snack at 3pm, eat snack in car on the way home at 5pm, etc.]
If you usually sit down at work, make sure to get up and walk around for 15 minutes every hour or two. You can incorporate this by walking while talking on the phone, walking while you take down notes, brainstorm, or write a report, or simply walk around while you drink water or visit the restroom. A good investment would be to replace your office chair with an exercise ball.
If you usually stand during work, then you should sit down for 15 minutes every hour or two to give your body a rest (and eat snacks).
Making sure you do not stay in one position all day is good for your body, and prevents headaches, swollen feet, and backaches.
Enjoy the Small Luxuries, like Endless Lounging Possibilities.
One perk of the first trimester is that you can continue resting on your belly and back, because soon it will be uncomfortable, or unsafe. When you hit that point (second trimester), you won’t be able to do it for months. Enjoy it while it lasts!!!
To Have Your Best Pregnancy, You Need to Exercise!
For all the following exercises you need to remember that your body is changing, and ligaments are loosening. Listen to your body, and don’t do anything that causes you pain. Something that may have been just fine before, may not be good for you while you are pregnant.
In general during your first trimester, your belly and baby are still pretty tiny, so you can continue your moderate exercises as normal.
If you are a runner, then you can continue your regular running regimen. If you are not a runner, you should stick to brisk walking, or see how you feel on ellipticals.
I am a huge advocate of at least one 20-30 minute daily walk while pregnant. This is most important at 20+ weeks pregnant, so we will talk about it more in the next post, but for now know that walking is important.
Swimming is an excellent exercise to do throughout your pregnancy! When you are massive pregnant, it will feel especially wonderful.
Health professionals don’t recommend outdoor biking, because of the risks that come with crashes and falling (similar to skiing and snowboarding). Stationary biking provides the benefits of cycling, without the risks.
I have mixed feeling about yoga… Many many mothers swear up and down that yoga kept them fit and healthy during their pregnancies (which is great!). I personally did yoga almost religiously during my first pregnancy. I did it during my first, second, and third trimesters. I also experienced excruciating hip pain throughout my pregnancy. I kept thinking that if I did more yoga, my hips would feel better, or that they would probably hurt worse if I stopped. I even did yoga throughout my entire labor. I was miserable.
During my second pregnancy, I was packing and moving across the country, so I did not do yoga in the beginning. I did some prenatal yoga for the first time in my second trimester. After, my hips hurt. I stopped for a while, and let myself heal. Then I tried it again a few weeks later, and OW. I realized that my hips would not hurt until I did yoga! I was heartbroken because yoga had been a huge part of my life for so long. However, I realized that my body was telling me not to do yoga, and I listened.
Yoga is an amazing form of exercise for some women, but if your body is hurting and telling you not to do it, don’t do it!
Other low impact exercises
Any other low impact exercises, such as pilates, barre, step machines, certain aerobics, light weights, etc. are good. If you have any questions, ask your doctor.
Follow the cues your body gives you, and pay attention to what might be the best exercise for you. Also, if you don’t end up exercising during your first trimester, that’s okay. I was usually sleeping, but I exercised on the day or two that I felt good enough.
To Have Your Best Pregnancy, You Need to Know WHAT to Eat:
You need to LOAD UP on PROTEIN
You do not need a Calorie increase in your first trimester (you get 300 extra Cals next trimester), so make all your Calories count. Pregnant women need 75-100 grams of protein per day. When I was forced to count my carbs (and calories), I realized I was only getting about 25 grams of protein per day.
I was also only getting around 1500 Calories per day (I need about 1800 normally). I realized that almost every night I would go to bed hungry, but I would ignore my hunger because I knew I “wasn’t supposed to” eat after 8pm or whatever.
I had to realize that I was pregnant, growing a human, and not getting enough Calories. So I started listening to my body, eating when I was hungry, stopped letting myself go more than 2-3 hours between snacks and meals, and started pairing protein with each carb I ate.
To have your best pregnancy, you need to DRINK WATER.
Have a giant water bottle near you, and chug it frequently. Your uterus is squishing past your bladder, so you will have to pee a lot. Your blood volume is increasing. Your uterus is moving and a-grooving. You need to drink a lot of water.
You need to stay hydrated. It keeps headaches away.
Coffee, some teas, soda, and alcohol are bad for you and Baby, so stay away.
Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea!
Some suggest you don’t start drinking red raspberry leaf tea in your first trimester. However, it could be fine if you were drinking it before you got pregnant. (It promotes fertility in both men and women). Red Raspberry Leaf tea induces mild contractions. These contractions are like your biceps flexing while lifting weights. They strengthen your uterus and prep your muscles for labor and delivery.
If you have had a miscarriage in the past, it might be best to hold off on drinking the red raspberry leaf tea until your second trimester. If you ever feel uncomfortable with it, then stop!
Things to Keep in Mind:
Start looking into HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method and finding practitioners in your area.
Start getting familiar with the Spinning Babies website and their recommendations.
In Short: How do you have your best pregnancy?
Take your vitamins, eat the second you wake up, eat healthy and make all of your Calories count (lots of protein and water), take lots of naps, keep on exercising, drink red raspberry leaf tea, and know that you are AWESOME!! You can do it! Second trimester is the best trimester, and you are almost there!!
Keep on rocking it!
Did you learn anything from this post? Share it with all the prego people in your life, and don’t forget to pin it to Pinterest!