I’m now at 21 weeks when I’m finally sitting down to write my first trimester recap. It seems like a distant memory now, but at the time, I thought it would never end!
I found out I was pregnant on Thursday, November 2, after almost a full month of feeling "off" - I could tell something was up with my body. I had been taking pregnancy tests, but they were all negative up until this point. I was beyond excited to be embarking on this adventure and so relieved to finally have an answer for why I was feeling so bloated and fatigued.
The first trimester is such a strange time. You can't tell anyone you're pregnant, but EVERYONE knows that something is up! At least 3 times a day, I was asked if I felt ok or told that I looked like crap. I just had to go along with it. This isn't the case for everyone, but I gained a good 15 pounds in those first three months. Yet I never looked pregnant. So that brought a lot of insecurities and frustration.
Needless to say, there were a lot of changes going on that took getting used to. Here's the recap, if you're interested in more deets!
My body definitely changed in the first trimester - immediately! However, I never looked “pregnant.” My pants stopped fitting very early on due to what I believe was just bloat and weight gain due to the drastic change in my diet (more on that below). The biggest change was in my boobs. Already big for my body, they got even bigger! At least 1-2 cup sizes within the first 12 weeks. I gained a lot of weight in my first trimester and I’m guessing most of it was from my increase in boob size!
During the first 15 or so weeks of pregnancy, I was very sick. I felt nauseous pretty much 24/7. It was actually the worst at night. Eating dinner was always a struggle. Thankfully, there was no vomiting. I was also very tired during this time. Previously, I hardly ever sat on the couch. I don’t even know how to turn on our television! Now, I was regularly taking naps when I could and very much looked forward to going to bed at night.
Like I said above, my diet drastically changed in my first trimester. Before pregnancy, I typically ate a very low carb diet. I ate a lot of vegetables, fats and protein in the form of smoothies, salads, etc. Once I got pregnant - this immediately ended. Suddenly, I was no longer able to stomach this nutrient-dense diet I formerly enjoyed. In fact, all I felt I could stomach was processed carbs. I hadn’t eaten a bagel in at least 5 years and suddenly that was the only thing I could tolerate.
I had a very difficult time accepting this mentally. As a nutritionist, I know how important it is for a pregnant woman to eat a healthy diet. I wanted to give my growing baby everything he needed and more. However, I couldn’t deny that I felt good after eating a bagel and awful after force-feeding myself a salad. This experience taught me a lot. I learned that I needed to cut myself some slack, have compassion for my changing body and know that this phase would be over soon and I could focus on maximizing my diet then. For now, I needed to just get by and give my body what it wanted.
When I wasn’t eating bacon egg and cheese on an everything bagel, I was able to trick myself into eating “healthier” carbs in some ways. For example, I would eat lentil pasta with wilted spinach, pesto and melted mozzarella. Siete tortillas (made from cassava and coconut flour) came in handy to make quesadillas and egg tacos. When I did buy bread, I would buy sourdough, which is fermented, making it easier to digest.
About a month before getting pregnant, I started a membership with Orange Theory Fitness. This is a high intensity workout that includes treadmill, rowing machine and a variety of weight exercises. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced, intense workout. For the majority of my first trimester, I was able to continue attending classes about 2x/week. I did notice as time went on that the workouts were getting more and more difficult for me to get through. I probably could have continued the workouts for a little while longer and modify the exercises, but I decided that it was not worth the money to attend a class (it is not cheap) and not put in 100% effort. I honestly believed that I would be able to run through most of my pregnancy, but that ended pretty quickly. It just doesn’t feel right for me so I stopped even attempting at around 12 weeks and have been mostly walking instead.
Excuse my language, but I felt bat shit crazy during my first trimester. Even though I was genuinely happy to be pregnant, I felt very depressed and anxious with no explanation of why I was feeling that way. I had a handful of anxiety attacks, which I haven’t experienced in a few years. I had no control of my emotions and found myself crying constantly. This was discouraging for me because, over the past few years, I have put so much effort into NOT feeling this way. I think this had to do with a combination of feeling sick, hormone changes, frustration with my growing body, eating gluten and processed carbs after 5+ years of eating gluten free, and lack of sleep.
All I have to say is thank God for Min-Chex and a pre-existing meditation practice!
I am not a great sleeper to begin with. I usually wake up at least once per night to go to the bathroom. Around the 8 or so week mark it got even worse. I went through a phase in which I was waking up around 3:30 and unable to fall back asleep. This would happen at least 3-4 times per week. It was incredibly frustrating, but thankfully it isn’t happening as much anymore (only on occasion).
Overall, the first trimester was pretty rough. I am so grateful that I’m past that phase. However, it was definitely a learning experience. I learned that even though I have grand expectations of how certain experiences will go, things rarely go as planned. I thought I would have this healthy, active, perfect pregnancy from day one and it ended up being the opposite. I was definitely humbled by this wretch in my plans! I learned that I need to relax, which is something that I usually have a hard time doing. I felt much better once I surrendered to the experience and listened to my body rather than doing what I thought was “right.”