This post is in partnership with Hancock Regional Hospital as part of their empowering women and children site. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own. Be sure to check out their site for additional resources and support. This post contains affiliate links.
ICYMI, I’m pregnant!! Fortunately I made it through the first trimester FAR better than I expected (you can read about my pregnancy fears here). Fortunately, I didn’t have some of the more common first trimester symptoms that are talked about most (like morning sickness). I did have a slew of other strange symptoms I hadn’t expected! What I realized this first trimester though, is that every pregnancy really is SO different. If you read my fears post, there were certain symptoms I was convinced I’d experience, but totally didn’t – and there were some symptoms I NEVER thought I’d experience and did. It’s a completely unpredictable journey and no two are alike. Still, today I wanted to share some of the common and uncommon first trimester symptoms and some tips for working through them!
Tender and swollen boobs
This was probably the first pregnancy symptom I had, it was actually why E thought I was pregnant! Luckily it only lasted a few weeks. It comes from the increase hormones in our bodies initially so it shouldn’t last too long. During that time, once I knew I was pregnant, I just kept telling myself, “this is probably nothing compared to when you start breast feeding!”
I’ve had chronic headaches for over five years, so initially I didn’t think this was a pregnancy symptom. But I found that a lot of women struggle with headaches in pregnancy so I decided to include it. This was the biggest lifestyle adjustment for me. All my previous methods of managing the pain no longer were “okay” since so many products haven’t actually been tested on pregnant women. Oh and to make the headaches even more fun, our A/C broke 3 times between the first and second trimester (in the dead of summer) so I had to practice extra safety in the extreme summer heat we were having.
I used a lot of ice packs initially which helped but only a little. My headaches typically lasted a minimum of 8 hours a day and basically mix that with fatigue and I was pretty bed ridden. Then I started seeing a prenatal chiropractor twice a week and my life changed! My nervous system had actually been in shock for years (we’re talking lots of spasms and pain) and he ran some tests and was able to see what I already knew! It’s a much more gentle approach than normal chiropractic work.
He only does like 2-3 adjustments on me, and when he did more I had terrible headaches for the days that followed, and fortunately after telling him that he was able to explain to me why it happened (he had used a slightly more aggressive approach where we did like 6 adjustments), and my body couldn’t handle it. So we went back to the 2-3 minor adjustments and I’ve been feeling amazing! I’ve also been doing neck and shoulder stretches to help strengthen everything and ensure the adjustments are set up for success.
This was the worst of my first trimester for sure. Which I’ll gladly take over morning sickness or nausea any day! Before I realized I was pregnant, I thought I was sick or narcoleptic – all I wanted to do was sleep! Once I learned I was pregnant, it became easier to understand what was actually happening and plan for it. I started taking daily naps and was really gentle with myself on getting things done. I tried to adopt the mindset of “get 2-3 hours of work done a day and that’s it! That’s all you’ll probably have time for once you have a newborn anyway.” It was nice, because beyond my initial panic of not meeting deadlines, I was able to relax and enjoy this time. I know not everyone works from home and has the luxury of a midday nap. So for those going into a 9-5, see if you can convince your boss to let your work remotely or at least flex your schedule so you can get home for a nap in the afternoon.
Before getting pregnant, I thought women constantly peed thanks to the baby pressing against their bladder. But nope! Before I realized I was pregnant, I actually noticed an increase in trips to the bathroom. One I found out I was pregnant I thought it was in my head. But, it turns out there’s actually a hormone which increases in pregnant women that actually causes the frequent urination early on and throughout your entire pregnancy! Best tip: go when you gotta go! I’d try to hold it but then end up sneezing and peeing myself a little, #realtalk.
Again, I thought this was something I could look forward to later on in pregnancy, but thanks to frequent trips to the bathroom my rock solid 8-9 hours of night started being interrupted 2-3 times a night. Thankfully the insomnia wasn’t too bad. I only had a few nights where I slept 4-5 hours (which I realize is what tons of normal American’s get any given day; in fact the research shows that women need more sleep). On those days, I usually just let myself get up, would watch some Boy Meets World and have a bowl of cereal until I could fall back asleep in an hour or two.
This was my second worst symptom by far! I could not stop sneezing!! It was a big factor in my frequent waking and insomnia actually at first (I was getting up 4-5 times a night). Once I realized my sneezing was related to pregnancy symptoms (thanks to all that extra blood the body is making), I decided to get a humidifier. That made an immediate difference. The first night with the humidifier I only got up once or twice! If I wake up in the middle of the night from a sneeze now, I just increase it’s strength and that usually does the trick.
Nausea / Heart Burn / Vomiting
Luckily I only had this for 2-3 days! I was vegetarian for the months before pregnancy, and not knowing I was pregnant I actually had been eating vegan my first and second month of pregnancy. From all the research I did on vegan pregnancies I think that helped A LOT. I know every pregnancy is different, but if you caught my fears about pregnancy post you know my stomach is not made of steal and I’ve tossed my cookies more times than I’d like in my life . When I went to the doctor, the nurse said I probably wasn’t getting sick because I wasn’t really eating processed food or putting extra hormones in my body. So if you are experiencing this consider going vegan or at least vegetarian and limiting dairy if possible.
So where did the few days of nausea and heart burn come from?
Well I got this INTENSE craving for brisket nachos. Like nothing in the world was going to satisfy me unless I ate it for dinner. I decided to get them and felt SO sick the next few days. After spending a couple of days with heart burn and nausea I was convinced the symptoms were going to last my entire pregnancy (thankfully they didn’t) so I ordered some slippery elm lozenges which helped a lot. I haven’t thrown up, but my doctor said that B6 helps a lot with vomiting and nausea and I’ve heard ginger pills can help with all of these symptoms a lot too for some women. If you want more tips for dealing with nausea and vomiting, my friends at Hancock Regional hospital shared their tips here.
Anyway, I went back to my normal diet after and felt SO much better! Today (in my second trimester) I’m not vegan anymore and will very occasionally eat meat, but I try to stick with mostly whole foods (fruits, veggies, grains). Again, everyone is different and will experience different things during the pregnancy, so just be open to trying new things and tuning into your body.
Are realllll! This was worse on my finances than me TBH. I would eat potatoes non stop for a week and then all of the sudden want nothing to do with them. Or I was inhaling watermelon like there was no tomorrow, and then couldn’t bring myself to eat it. Just know they will come and go quite unexpectedly so maybe don’t stock up on a bunch of perishable items to protect your bank account from your changing preferences!
Luckily I did not have this! I eat a pretty high fiber diet to begin with and am super regular. I think there was a day or two I didn’t go on my normal schedule. Around that time I had decided to start taking a prenatal probiotic and maybe it was a coincidence, but I’ve never had a “back up” since 🤷🏻♀️.