The first few months of pregnancy can be a trying time. I felt like mine was especially challenging because of the timing of everything. I felt my worst this time last year, over the holiday season when we were traveling—visiting friends and family who I couldn’t tell our exciting news to yet. Perhaps I could have handled this period much better had I known what was in store for me before we ever conceived. Of course, every pregnancy is different and you may not experience any of these symptoms. If so, feel eternally grateful and please no bragging!
The cute term morning sickness threw me for a loop. I always thought I’d wake up in the morning one day, have a little throw up, know I was pregnant, and never have to worry about again. Maybe like a hangover in that after you get it out, you feel so much better. Pregnancy nausea is nothing like that. It’s all day long. If you do vomit, it doesn’t get better. The nausea is caused by the huge hormone fluctuations happening in your body to help your baby grow. Typically, the nausea subsides by the beginning of your second trimester when the placenta takes over a lot of baby’s nourishment needs.
I’ve always heard about weird food cravings like pickles and ice cream (which I enjoy both, but separately) but didn’t have a clue about food aversion. This was one of my first real pregnancy symptoms. I had cramping and slightly sore breasts, both of which can be confused with your menstrual cycle about to start. Then one night my husband was heating some chicken in the microwave, and I couldn’t stand it! It’s likely caused by the same hormone fluctuations associated with nausea, and mine started to ebb along with the nausea in the second trimester. It’s also rumored that it’s actually the body helping you avoid potentially harmful foods.
What a fun topic to discuss! First, as you may have seen a trend by now, it’s the hormones. They relax smooth muscle in the body, some of which is in your digestive tract. Next, iron in prenatal vitamins that essential for your little peanut can also have a side effect of bowel irregularity. Finally, if you take any medication to help with your nausea, it likely also has this lovely side effect. So, I was quite uncomfortable. Fiber and stool softener can somewhat help. For me, I didn’t feel the major relief until my nausea passed and was off the medication. Experiencing nausea, food aversion, and constipation all at once can make eating a huge struggle. I could only stand some foods, and it didn’t take much until I had to stop eating. Being around folks that didn’t know about my pregnancy during a food-centered holiday? Ugh.
Finally, I was just utterly wiped out. My body is making another human being! Of course the hormones are a factor in addition to all the extra work your body is doing to sustain and grow another life! Usually, the second trimester can bring some relief, but I was pretty tired throughout my pregnancy. It is a good excuse to sleep in and take lots of naps, though!
The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s all temporary. Enjoy the time now while you don’t have a screaming infant to tend to and pamper yourself. Find ways to soften around the discomfort. Breathe into it. Look for something that does feel good, and notice how your body has the capacity to feel these multiple sensations at once. Hot water with lemon, saltines, and naps also go a long way.