Pregnancy – The First Trimester
You’re pregnant, can you believe it!? Huge congratulations!! This is such a special time, and it’s an incredible thing you are doing. Just 2 little cells will develop into this gorgeous, perfect little being and it’s all happening within you. It’s a really amazing feeling, very feminine, special and humbling.
Unfortunately at this point in time, you may be feeling a bit (or a lot) average… You can’t really tell many people yet, you may be feeling bloated and gross, super tired, skin breakouts, nausea, vomiting, sore boobs, emotional, the works. 9 months feels like the longest time EVER. But hang in there, it does get better!
So what actually happens?
A whole lot! Cells multiply very rapidly and differentiate into different cell types such as bone, heart, lungs or skin. The placenta is developing. By week 4 the ‘baby’ starts to look like a little tadpole and nestles itself into the thickening endometrial layer. Mum’s hormones are adjusting and her body starts to shift and change. Bub takes all he or she requires to develop and grow, sapping nutrition and energy from mum wherever possible. No wonder we feel so darned awful during this time!
By week 6 little facial features are starting to appear, and little bubba has its own heartbeat! What a trooper! The endocrine organs such as the thyroid, thymus and pituitary gland are beginning to form, and by week 8, bone and nervous system development is in full swing.
In terms of symptoms, I personally felt an overwhelming sense of fatigue beginning from this point.
All I could think about was bed! And fair enough, I was growing a human! So give yourself a break, go to bed really early, and even allow yourself a little nap in the afternoon if you can have that luxury… I know I know, they all say it, but ‘enjoy the sleep while you can’. It’s true!
By about week 8, the nausea kicked in for me. Luckily enough I wasn’t actually vomiting, but that queasy and ‘not quite right’ feeling is really tough too. It feels like this pregnancy is going to go on forever! And not to mention the fact that you can’t really tell anyone about it yet! I’m also feeling super bloated, and my pants are feeling tight around the belly.
This is not yet the baby showing, really just the bloating, but it’s very uncomfortable nonetheless. Time to purchase some pregnancy jeans and loose-fitting dresses! Oh and the sense of smell! Extremely heightened and sensitive, and certain things (cigarette smoke, certain food, your hubby’s cologne) can just make you feel nauseous in an instant!
By week 10 I am also noticing some serious mood swings. Tears at the drop of a hat. Yes, the stereotype is true! My diet has become pretty beige and bland during the day due to nausea and sudden food aversions, but at least in the evening I’m ok so I’m trying to get in a good meal, like some homemade tacos with chicken and veggies, a piece of salmon with steamed veggies, or a nice veggie stew. When I eat a heavy meal eg a curry I feel absolutely dreadful the next day, so best to avoid these and stick to lighter foods.
Week 11 my skin has broken out, and I look like a teenager. Oh, joy. That’s probably a combination of raging hormones and the change in diet as mentioned above. Not cool. The good news is: the first trimester is almost over, which means (for most people) it does get better now, AND you get to make the big announcement. Yay!
As for little bubba. It is now officially called a fetus (not an embryo anymore), and he or she measures about 2.5cm. The heart is developing, and the liver is starting to produce blood cells for bone marrow, the endocrine organs are starting to secrete a small amount of hormones. Bones are forming but are still soft and flexible, ovaries or testes are developing, and the face is well-formed. It’s so insane to think about everything that is happening at this stage, every week there is a huge progression in development, and it’s all still so tiny! A true marvel of nature, so despite the ‘side effects’, I am in awe!
Although it can be tough to eat well when all you are craving is hot chips and gravy, it is actually really important to nourish yourself appropriately. Ideally, you want to eat well all the time, and start a good quality pregnancy well before falling pregnant, but sometimes pregnancy is a surprise, so we just need to get on top of it asap. And the saying ‘you are eating for two’ is actually incorrect – you are eating for 1 (bub is not even 2.5cm big yet!), but you need NUTRIENTS for two.
Ensure your diet is rich in natural plant foods, unprocessed and unrefined, raw nuts and seeds, and lean protein. Eat fish, but keep your intake to maximum twice per week to reduce heavy metal exposure, or supplement with good quality fish oil. Also try to minimize environmental toxins, pollution, paint fumes, cleaning sprays, plastic food containers, etc. The more natural your home and your life, the better for bub.
If you can’t even face a green leaf… try to do what you can. A green juice might go down well, nice and fresh with a squeeze of lime. If you need crackers for morning sickness, try adding some avocado or nut butter for good fats and protein. Small meals often work well too – see my post about Morning Sickness here for more tips.
And most of all – look after yourself. It’s ok to nap, sleep in, and rest as you need to. Put your feet up and enjoy some quiet time, and soon you’ll be feeling better and ready to tackle the fun project that is the nursery! Yay!