I’ve been really excited about writing this first instalment of my pregnancy series…the first trimester of pregnancy! It feels like it wasn’t that long ago I was blogging about the heartache of my miscarriage.
I truly feel so blessed that I fell pregnant again after my next cycle following the miscarriage. I know there’s so many women who struggle to fall pregnant again so quickly; have repeat miscarriages and fertility issues (my heart goes out to you), so I really am full to the brim with feel-it-in-my-bones gratitude. My little soul really wanted to come into this world, and I couldn’t be happier!
I found out I was pregnant again the day I went in to see my naturopath. I was pretty convinced I was getting my period (it was due this same day) so my naturopath suggested we check my progesterone levels on around day 21 plus a few other things to see what my hormones were doing. I remember feeling gutted that he wanted me to wait around 2 months before trying again.
By that afternoon, even though I felt pre-menstrual, there was no sign of my monthly so I thought I’d do a pregnancy test ‘just to see’.
As I was waiting for the pregnancy test to reveal its results, I suddenly felt this overwhelming feeling of optimism…I knew in that moment I was pregnant even before I saw the positive results.
My heart skipped a beat when I saw those double lines and I rushed downstairs to tell Gav – he couldn’t believe it! We were both ecstatic, but this moment felt slightly different to the first time we found out I was pregnant. Even though I was over-the-moon excited, a small wave of uncertainty washed over me. The ‘what ifs’ started to ever so slightly dampen my elation.
Oh, hello, crazy SORE BOOBS! This delightful symptom seemed to start pretty much straight away, and is usually one of the first pregnancy symptoms women experience. Then, by week 6, the all day morning sickness and full on must-rest-now fatigue settled in…HOLY MOLY did this side-swipe me grandly!
They say as many as 90% of women experience some form of nausea in early pregnancy and as many as 33% experience vomiting. Mamas to be – this is something to look forward to (wink wink). I never did vomit myself, but boy oh boy did I wish I could several times a day!
One blessing of the morning sickness however, was that it was a fantastic sign my hormones were rising nicely this time ’round (but if you don’t experience morning sickness, it doesn’t mean there is a problem). This really did comfort me as I certainly felt some anxiety in those first few weeks.
Week 8 was the first milestone for us as we decided to have our first ultrasound at this time to see if there was a heartbeat. If a heartbeat is detected, the chance of having a miscarriage is less than 5%. My nerves were sky high, but once I saw our little soul’s heartbeat my body relaxed and I burst out crying. The relief was immense.
From memory, my morning sickness peaked at around weeks 9-10. In fact, each week from week 6 it progressively got worse, until I finally got some relief at week 14, and then like a phantom, it completely disappeared by week 16 (hallelujah!).
In terms of taking or doing something to give me some relief, I found taking a combo of ginger and vitamin B6 tablets (Elevit and Blackmores sell this as a combined tablet) provided a small amount of relief (as did acupuncture), but really nothing took it away completely. For some more tips, you might like to follow this Pinterest board.
My hormones were surging through my body during these early stages, and I’m sure due to the way I was feeling, it contributed to my devilish MOOD SWINGS.
I honestly was revolting to be around 80% of the time, ha ha. My poor fiance and family copped the brunt of it. It’s just one of those things that is really hard to control, so a lot of support and understanding from your partner and family is greatly needed. Thankfully, as soon as the second trimester rolled around, I was pretty much back to my old self.
In terms of my fatigue, it stuck around this whole time and I spent hours in bed each day. I don’t know how I managed to keep up with my personal training work, but somehow I got through it, albeit taking some time off here and there. I stopped coaching clients from week 9-16 as I just couldn’t be fully present and give my clients 100%. I was completely devo to also have to cancel two of my Open-Hearted Connection workshops, but I knew my body was just not able to get through them.
It’s really important to not push yourself during these first 3 months. Get as much help as you can, and take time off if you need to.
Our 13 week ‘first trimester screening’ was our next huge milestone. This truly was an unforgettable, magical, and super special moment for us. I was utterly nervous again, but so incredibly excited. Being able to see so much more in only 5 weeks time since the 8 week scan, was mind-boggling. We could see our baby moving which was beautiful and surreal. And hearing everything was text book perfect, including our blood test results for any abnormalities, was just the best news!
I couldn’t wait to get home and, yes, post the news publicly on social media! The flood of love and happiness Gav and I received from all our friends really made this moment even more real and exciting. I’ll never forget that day.
Obstetrics or Midwifery Care
What a big decision this was, and thankfully, one I had made my mind up on during my first pregnancy. Even though I had been paying for maternity cover on my health insurance for a little over a year, I decided going through midwifery and having my baby at the Family Birth Centre in Subiaco, Perth, was the model of care that was the right fit for me. The centre is also next door to King Edward Memorial Hospital, so if anything were to go wrong, we would be taken care of straight away.
After having my orientation at the birth centre and seeing the birthing tub rooms, I fell in love with this method and have been having clear visualisations ever since of my little one being birthed this way. I’ve even watched a few YouTube videos on water births which has been both educational and empowering.
(more to come on my birthing ‘plan’ in the second trimester post)
Natural Therapies for Mind, Body & Soul
Naturopathy/Homeopathy – I saw my naturopath every few weeks during the first trimester for various supplements to help me along the way.
Acupuncture – I started acupuncture and taking Chinese herbs months before I fell pregnant to start preparing my body for pregnancy. From week 4 I had acupuncture roughly every 2 weeks – sometimes weekly. My sessions with Amy were always so relaxing as she would leave me for about 20mins whilst the pins were in and put on a guided meditation for me to bliss out to.
Reiki – I had one session of Reiki at week 6 which was super calming and nourishing. I didn’t feel the need for another one during this trimester.
Intuitive Reading – I am beyond grateful to be living in the same city as this angel. Faye is a registered nurse and midwife, community childbirth educator, natural therapist (she teaches feng shui and the use of doTerra essential oils for pregnancy, birth and baby), energy intuitive and clairvoyant, with a particular love and gift for tuning into a pregnant woman’s unborn baby.
I had a reading with Faye at week 9 to clear any anxiety I had about miscarrying again and to tune into my unborn baby. It was such a transformational and exciting reading! This may sound a bit ‘woo woo’ for some, but as I had predicted, Faye told me that this little soul was the same one from my first pregnancy. It was so beautiful to hear this and to know that he/she was very eager to come into this world and to have Gav and I as its parents!
Food & Aversions
My usual diet pretty much went out the window as soon as the morning sickness started! Due to this constant ‘hangover’ feeling (yep, that’s what it feels like), I struggled to eat my normal quantity of food. I had major carb cravings for about 3 weeks and could NOT go near a green vegetable! Just the sight of them would have me dry retching in the corner!
The one food I found I could eat with no aversions, was sheep’s milk yoghurt. I went through tubs and tubs of the stuff. Due to the saturated fats, good bacteria, calcium and little bit of protein, I was rather happy I could tuck into it several times a day for a snack. It seriously was my go-to food for several weeks.
After the initial must-eat-carbs phase, the one food that made a world of difference to my level of nausea, was animal protein. This made sense as protein stabilises blood sugar levels (and is extremely important to have preconception and throughout pregnancy), but was also odd as I really did not crave it – especially red meat (someone pass me a bucket).
White meat and fish were my protein sources, plus some organic cheddar cheese if I craved it, and the yoghurt. Unfortunately my beloved eggs were off the menu for 4 weeks (and I can only have them once a week now), as a blood test revealed I was intolerant to them.
I also ate porridge daily with a tablespoon of whole flaxseeds to help with bowel movements, plenty of berries and an apple a day (to keep the doctor away).
Note: what you eat in the months leading up to conception is hugely important during this trimester, especially if you do suffer from nausea and vomiting. I highly recommend getting some dietary advice from someone like a naturopath, and also reading The Nourishing Traditions book I’ve listed below. You might also like to read this post I wrote on the importance of gut health during pregnancy.
My Exercise Woes
All exercise except for a tiny bit of walking, came to a grinding halt from week 7 for a full 8 weeks due to the nausea and fatigue I was experiencing. This was the longest stretch of time I hadn’t done any exercise in, oh, 20 years!!!
Enter the pancake butt and toothpick legs.
The hardest part of not exercising was observing my body atrophying. As someone with a naturally fast metabolism who needs to lift weights in order to have some shape, seeing my body lose a lot of muscle definition was frustrating. I certainly had to dig deep and apply a lot of self-love actions that I teach my clients, to feel okay with this. It worked. And as I write this, I am currently 21 weeks preggie and loving training again! (more on this in the second trimester post)
Note: if you feel like you have enough energy to exercise during the first trimester and your OB, GP or Midwife has given you the all clear, there is no reason not to, and it will probably give you energy (plus do wonders for your mindset). I suggest dropping the intensity by at least 30%, and be careful not to over stretch due to the hormone relaxin being released.
My Favourite Pregnancy Supplements So Far
Juice Plus – I’ve been taking this for 3 years now and it was always going to my prenatal vitamin choice. Actually, it’s more of a ‘whole food’ supplement than a ‘vitamin’, and is highly bioavailable – meaning it is made available to be absorbed by the body (unlike many prenatal vitamins on the market). If you would like more info on Juice Plus for preconception and pregnancy, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a detailed document on the benefits. If you are interested in ordering Juice Plus, I can also organise this for you.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil – This is the best source of vitamins A & D that are critical for optimal expression of the genetic potential, for strong bones, healthy skin, mineral metabolism and hormone production. It also provides an important omega-3 fatty acid called DHA, that is needed for brain development. This is best started preconception and is great for men to take too (hello healthy sperm).
Probiotics – I’ve been alternating between Bioceuticals SB Floractiv and Neways Lacto-Flora for gut health.
Digestive Enzymes – I wasn’t religious with taking these, but when I remembered I had these with food to help break it down. Digestion really slows down during pregnancy, so any help you can get is fab!
The Gentle Birth Method by Dr Gowri Motha
The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Morell & Dr Thomas S. Cowan
Up The Duff by Kaz Cooke (an entertaining read!)
Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali
The Bump Baby App – I’ve loved following this each week to read about my baby’s development.
I’d Love To Hear From You, Mamas To Be…
In the comments below, I’d love to hear any questions you may have on what I’ve written (plus anything else pregnancy related). And for the mamas reading this, if you’d like to share any of your insights and experiences, I’m sure my tribe would love to hear them!
Click here to read my second trimester post.