I have been pregnant 5 times in the past 5.5 years. One of those pregnancies ended in an early miscarriage, but all 5 came with varying degrees of morning sickness. With each pregnancy, I had more other small children at home to take care of, and thus had to figure out some 1st trimester survival strategies. SO, here are my top 1st trimester survival tips. Hopefully some will be helpful and may the force be with you 🙂
dealing with nausea
Pregnancy nausea is a very specific type of nausea. Though some moms end up puking all the time, a lot of pregnant moms experience a subtle, persistent nausea throughout the day. Here’s how I deal with it:
- Eat often – hunger usually exacerbates pregnancy nausea, so I eat all the time & bring snacks everywhere! Even if it seems like eating will make me puke, I choke down some crackers and the nausea usually goes away.
- Sea Bands Motion Sickness Bracelets – This one may sound crazy, BUT YOU NEED THEM!!! A blog reader recommended these to me and they worked wonders!! These little bracelets are supposed to put pressure on acupuncture points that help relieve nausea. Generally, I’m super skeptical of “alternative” things like that. But I was desperate this 4th pregnancy, so I tried them! Highly recommend!! $8 on Amazon
- Ginger & Mint – Both are supposed to help with nausea. There are flavored lozenges in both flavors. Quease Ease worked pretty well for me, although not as consistently as those Sea Bands bracelets. Tea, candy, cookies, whatever you can stomach in these flavors can help.
- Prenatal Vitamins at Night – Taking a vitamin in the morning makes me feel sick. At night, it doesn’t affect me at all. Win!
- Can’t Stomach Coffee!? – My fellow caffeine addicts, this one’s for you. I love coffee, but when I’m pregnant, the smell makes me want to puke. Yogi brand’s “perfect energy, vanilla spice” tea is the most caffeinated tea I’ve been able to find. It has ALMOST as much as a cup of coffee. Do yourself a favor and have it delivered to your door 😉
Yogi has a bunch of different flavors, but not all are equally caffeinated.
It’s also kind of hard to find. In our area, Target carries it, Walmart is hit or miss on this flavor, and Kroger doesn’t have it. It’s about $5/ box near us, so you might want to try the flavor first. Otherwise it’s $20 for 6 boxes in bulk on Amazon and that’s the cheapest I’ve seen it!
dealing with exhaustion
Just say “no”
To drugs and also to extra things. This is my biggest tip for your first trimester! While many women feel first trimester symptoms beyond the first trimester, a lot only feel horrible for those first few weeks. Often the morning sickness will last from 6-7 weeks until about 12-14 weeks.
Obviously, you need to follow through with prior commitments, but this is not the time to start a new class or begin a volunteer project.
Some things you might be able to say ‘no’ to temporarily:
- Hosting/ entertaining
- Extensive plans with friends
- Other kids starting a new activity
- Optional meetings at church or kid’s school
How Do I keep my other kids alive?
Movies, y’all. JK but seriously. My littles watch MANY more movies than normal when I’m surviving the first trimester. Other ideas…
- Forced free play outside – “I’m setting a timer for 20 minutes, you can’t come in.” I do this to my 3 and 4 year old, and they don’t seem traumatized 😉
- Watercolors – minimal mess, but still painting! (We love liquid water colors from Blick Art Supply. I bought once in bulk for $33 and I’m pretty sure they’ll last until my kids graduate. They’re 100x better than regular water colors and wash out of everything.)
- Paint the deck or sidewalk – cheap paint brushes + water buckets and they can “paint” the ground!
- Phone a friend – Ask a good friend to have your kids for an hour or two. Buy her a coffee & then reciprocate when you’re feeling better again!
- Let your kids destroy the house – while you lay on the couch. My kids love this “game.” 🙂
- Giant paper & stickers – get a giant roll of paper and a bunch of stickers and let them go to town all spread out on your kitchen floor…. while you lay on the couch nearby.
- Busy Toddler – Find her on instagram. She has a TON of ideas for activities with these dot stickers and tips on how to get started on rice bins. This type of stuff occupies kids for a long time the more they get used to it.
- Enforce rest time – one perk of having kids close in age is the older ones still napped when I was first pregnant with my 4th. My 2nd born dropped her nap early, but we always just had her play in her room for a couple hours. When I’m in 1st trimester survival mode, I take a nap almost every day.
Dealing with Cooking
Though I generally enjoy cooking, I hate it during the 1st trimester. I’m super tired & nothing sounds good to me.
- Meal plan – Meal planning actually makes dealing with meals easier because you only have to think about meals once a week. Each day, you just look at the plan and execute. No thought required. Plus, no extra trips to the store!
- Grocery pickup or delivery – There is no reason to set foot in a store when pregnant, especially if you have other kids. Grocery stores smell THE WORST when you’re pregnant! (Or is it just me!?) Anyway, so many offer delivery or curbside pickup services… use that! We love Walmart Pickup! Super convenient, free, and great customer service.
- Double & freeze – whenever possible, double what you plan to cook and freeze the extra portion. Then, you have a “freebie” meal waiting for you in the freezer. This works well with most soups, casseroles, and marinades.
- Crockpot – google “crockpot dump recipes” for super easy recipes where you just dump a bunch of stuff into a crockpot.
- Budget extra for takeout – We budget extra for takeout when I’m pregnant because we just order out more. It is what it is.
I’m usually an early riser. My husband leaves for work early, so he likes to go to bed early. I’ve grown to love being early-to-bed-early-to-rise people! I love the quiet mornings, and that’s when I have more extended Bible study & prayer.
But, not when I’m 1st trimester pregnant. I sleep 9-10 hours a night if possible, basically going to sleep right after the kids and waking right before them.
My spiritual disciplines shift during this time too. I rely on sermons via podcast listen to worship music, and pray throughout the day. When the first trimester exhaustion passes, I’m always eager to get back to my morning quiet time routine!
This too shall pass…
Say “no” to everything extra.
Say “yes” to ANY and ALL offers for help.
Rest in the promise that His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9) … that includes the physical weakness that comes with pregnancy. I can’t tell you how many times I prayed the end of Isaiah 40 over myself and our day-to-day… thanking God for His promise to give strength to the weary, and choosing to wait on the Lord for renewed strength.
If you’re in 1st trimester survival mode right now, hang in there! Praise God for that little life inside of you and remember, this too shall pass!