Thursday, 7 March 2013

5 First Trimester Essentials I Couldn't Live Without

Being pregnant can be a scary place if you haven't done it before, or if previous pregnancies weren't easy. Ok, we have been doing this reproducing malarkey for thousands of years, but it doesn't mean you have a clue as to what to do or what to expect! Quite frankly, what did our mothers do without the internet?!

As my pregnancy draws to a close, I thought I'd put together a list of my utmost essentials to help you survive those initial nine months (which, be warned, will fly by!)

So to kick us off, let's start with the First Trimester.

1. Morning Sickness Provisions
Much of the first twelve weeks are spent trying to manage morning sickness (and keeping it a secret while you're at it!). I was lucky, I didn't get any severe symptoms (a la poor Kate Middleton), but if I was tempted to get cocky and leave the house without having eaten, believe me, I regretted it (think throwing up at bus stops and fainting in McDonalds)!

Always carry with you:
A bottle of water (keep it chilled if possible)
Snacks - I found bananas and granola type bars worked the best (though with a dairy allergy I was limited by my choices!)
Chewing Gum - apparently peppermint combats nausea and it works a treat if you've run out of snacks.
Hair bands - sometimes a bout of nausea can be stopped in its tracks just by stripping off your layers and tying your hair back, especially on hot public transport.

Other things that helped me:
Lemon & Ginger Tea - Ginger is renowned for tackling nausea so find something that works for you. I hated the taste, but I could just sit and smell it and it would help a lot! You could also try ginger biscuits or alternatively, I know of someone who suffered severe symptoms and the only thing that worked was eating sticks of pure ginger (yuk!).

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

2. An Understanding Husband
Whether you're freaking out at the sign of any new symptom that might not be 'normal', living with your head in the toilet or too busy sleeping on the sofa to make dinner, an understanding husband / partner / boyfriend is essential. If he could be a Saint - with the patience of - that would be even better, because unbeknown to him, he will be working very hard over the next few months (years?) to make your life as easy as possible.

Now, I know, you're kinda stuck with the one you've got so no exchanges or returns allowed, but even if he's not always Mr. Sensitive, a little communication (both ways) goes a long way. Remember, he's not going to understand - he's not the one going through it after all - so it's up to you to tell him how you're feeling and if there's anything practical he can do to help you out.

The best thing Mr. D did during my first trimester was get up early every day to make me a slice of toast and get me a drink before I got out of bed and had a shower. If I started the day without these things, I had a habit of feeling faint. He was also always the one keeping the cupboards stocked up with snacks and bottled water so I always had something on my commute.

3. Pregnancy App
You've never been pregnant before. You have no idea what your body is about to put itself through. And, as outlined here, you're not actually in contact with any health professionals who can answer your questions (save them up for that Booking In appointment, your midwife will LOVE you!). So what do you do?

You Google everything! Ok, bad idea. If you Google everything you'll end up scrolling through hundreds of threads on mother's forums where no one is an expert but everyone has an opinion. My advice? Download the Pregnancy App to your phone.

It takes you through your pregnancy week-by-week and if everything is going well and you just need to know you're normal, it will probably cover it here. If you're still in doubt, phone NHS Direct for advice or speak to other Mums you know and trust. If the temptation to Google is too much, then do it with caution and give more attention to professional health websites, trusted magazine websites than you would mother's forums!

4. Vitamins
In pregnancy it is an unfortunate fact that you can't take much in the way of medication. This is because no one is willing to give their unborn child up for testing as a guinea pig and so doctors can't necessarily say whether something is safe or not. So, as always, prevention is better than cure.

Hopefully you're taking some kind of pregnancy supplement anyway and this will go a long way to ensuring your body is topped up with all the goodness it needs. But, if there's a cold making its way round the office then you might want to call in the big guns. I swear by Berocca. Whenever I have a cold coming on I have one of those a day and it never develops into anything more than a sniffle. Trust me, or you'll be stuck at home with your head over a bowl of boiling water wishing you had just taken a glass of the fizzy orange good stuff.

NB: Too much of a good thing? Apparently, it is possible to overdose on certain vitamins, so be careful if you're taking a pregnancy supplement as well as Berocca. You might want to switch to either/or just in case.

Remember to also talk to your doctor about getting the flu jab.

5. Your Best Friend
Possibly most important in the first trimester is the ear of a good friend. This is a huge event in your life and yes, you're meant to be keeping schtum, but confide in one other person and you have the ear of someone who can allay all your fears, share in your excitement and listen to your rants. If your best friend is also your work colleague then you also have someone looking out for you and covering for you in the event of morning sickness, or if you suddenly stop drinking copious amounts of Diet Coke and coffee. If she's a very good friend she might even submit to a faux health kick so that you're not the odd one out when you swap cocktails for orange juice and burgers for salads!

And remember, the reason you're not supposed to make a huge announcement during those first few weeks is because something could go wrong. Think about it, if something went wrong and you fell apart, who would you need around you? Your best friend.

Over to you! What would you include in your First Trimester Survival Kit? Comment below!

Stay tuned in the coming days for Trimester Two & Three!

Update: Check out my 2nd Trimester Essentials here and 3rd Trimester Essentials here

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