With my two pregnancies, I had such differing experiences from start to finish. Most distinguishably different was the first trimester. With my first (Letoya, my daughter), I struggled to eat, felt exhausted and had zero energy. I was basically a recluse, that came out only to work, then swiftly retreated to the comfort of my bed and complete darkness. With my second (Ethan, my son), it was a breeze! I had a few mild food aversions and a slight slump in energy, but on the whole I felt fine. This was a huge shock. Whilst waiting for the symptoms to kick in, the first trimester flew by and I was fine!
I’ve summed up the top 10 pregnancy symptoms in the first trimester for you ladies, based upon my experience. I hope that this provides a little insight and reassurance, that what you are experiencing is completely normal!
Some of us get this to the point that we can eat only crackers, some do not suffer at all. There are so many old wives tales surrounding morning sickness, that it is hard to separate the fact from the fiction. I experienced morning sickness with my daughter but not my son. A lot of people said that they had experienced it with one particular sex but not the other. There is no scientific evidence that would support this however. What we do know is that it may stem from rising levels in oestrogen and progesterone. Pregnant women also have a heightened sense of smell, which can lead to certain potent smells causing bouts of nausea.
I found that it helped to eat small meals, with low fat content and zero spice/heat. The dryer the better! Also ginger biscuits really seemed to settle my stomach. Most importantly, if you are not taking in enough food, make sure that you are drinking sufficient fluids.
2. Increase In Urination
Many women complain about the increased need to use the bathroom, especially during the night hours, which can cause a great deal of disruption. This is due to the pressure on your bladder from your growing uterus. Contrary to many opinions, this does start as early as the first trimester, not just when your baby is considerably larger.
During early pregnancy your progesterone levels increase rapidly, which can make you feel like you need a nap, anytime, anywhere. This is one of the most common first trimester symptoms, that affected me greatly.
To combat this, I made sure that I kept a bottle of water and some high energy fruit on hand to perk me up, when I needed to be alert. A lot of women suffer with anaemia in early pregnancy (which can cause a slump in energy levels). If you think you may be suffering with this, please visit your doctor and he will be able to measure your iron levels, and if required, prescribe Iron tablets.
Wherever possible, take the opportunity to rest. The dishes can wait. As modern mums we have to juggle work, families and our wellbeing, so you need to make sure that take every opportunity to slow down.
4. Heightened Emotions
During both of my pregnancies, I felt extremely emotional during the first trimester. Of course a part of this was due to the new-found excitement and anticipation of impending motherhood, but things which seemed seemingly unimportant, suddenly had to be addressed and sorted then and there. Managing the demands of pregnancy and the expectations for the future can seem daunting, so make sure that you lean on family & friends as much as possible. Remember you are not alone.
5. Food Aversions & Cravings
Some people experience these and some do not. With my daughter I found that I couldn’t stand to eat anything sweet or sugary. This proved a huge challenge in the morning as I have started the day with a cup of tea with sugar since I was around 10 years old. Chocolate, ice-cream, cakes… you name it, I couldn’t go within a foot of it. I have heard of some very strange cravings, with everything from ketchup on cornflakes, to raw onions, to horseradish sauce. You may experience both, one of these or none of these!
Pregnancy relaxes the valve between your stomach and oesophagus, allowing stomach acid to leak into your oesophagus, causing heartburn. A friend of mine suffered so badly with heartburn, that she carried a bottle of Peptobismol in her handbag wherever she went. I experienced it mildly and found that avoiding spicy and fatty foods really helped reduce the impact of heartburn.