In today’s post, I’ll share my best tips for surviving the first trimester of your pregnancy!
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 (because that’s how that works… ha!) Thus, I had to figure out some pregnancy tips for the first trimester in order to take care of everyone, including my preggo self.
SO, here are my top 23 pregnancy tips for first trimester symptoms. (Including some ideas for those little ones…)
Hopefully, this post will be helpful and may the force be with you!
First Trimester Nausea Tips
First trimester nausea is a very specific type of nausea. Though some moms end up puking all the time, a lot of pregnant women experience a subtle, persistent nausea throughout the day those first weeks. (For some women, it lasts the entire pregnancy!)
Here are some ideas for dealing with the nasuea:
1. Eat often
Hunger usually exacerbates pregnancy nausea, so I recommend eating often & bringing snacks everywhere! Even if it seemed like eating might make me puke, I would try to choke down some crackers and the nausea usually went away for a little bit.
If this is your first baby, you might feel especially concerned about what you eat and maintaining a balanced diet. My OB doctor always said – just eat what you can stomach during the worst of the first trimester & you can focus on healthy eating later in the pregnancy. 🙂
2. Sea Bands Motion Sickness Bracelets
This one may sound weird, BUT THEY ARE AWESOME!! A blog reader recommended these to me, and these sea bands bracelets worked wonders!! These little bracelets are supposed to put pressure on acupuncture points that help relieve nausea.
They’re marketed for motion sickness/ sea sickness.
Generally, I’m super skeptical of “alternative” things like this. But I was desperate during my 4th pregnancy, so I tried them! Highly recommend!!
I bought them for $12 at Walgreens in a moment of desperation, but Amazon is cheaper.
3. 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.
4. Take Your Prenatal Vitamins at Night
Taking a vitamin in the morning makes me feel super sick. At night, it doesn’t affect me at all. Win!
5. Can’t Stomach Coffee!?
My fellow caffeine addicts, this one’s for you. I love coffee, but when I’m pregnant, the smell alone is enough to make me queasy. I’ve heard this is a common side effect of pregnancy… anyone else!?
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.
WARNING: not every grocery store carries this. I’ve seen it at Target for around $5/ box. Otherwise it’s $20 for 6 boxes in bulk on Amazon and that’s the cheapest I’ve seen it!
Yogi has a bunch of different flavors, but not all are equally caffeinated. This “vanilla spice perfect energy” is the highest caffeinated one I’ve found! Just helpin’ out my fellow addicts!
Dealing with Pregnancy Fatigue & Exhaustion
6. 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 that are super important, but otherwise, I’d encourage you to let a lot of stuff go during the pregnancy. Pregnancy is probably 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
- Anything after 6 pm because that’s your new bedtime
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…
7. 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 ALL THE TIME, and they don’t seem traumatized 😉
In fact, if it’s nice weather outside, they usually get in the zone of playing outdoors & stay out for longer.
Minimal mess, but still painting!
We love liquid water colors. Liquid water colors are 100x more brilliant/ brightly colored than regular water colors and wash out of everything so easily. I don’t do any special prep to protect the table, floor, clothes, whatever…
But if you have younger kiddos or you don’t want to deal with diluting the liquid water colors, try traditional water color palates or tempera cakes.
You can even set up an “invitation to create.” I don’t do this often, but when I do, I set it up when the kids aren’t around (quiet time, during a movie, whatever).
Then, they “discover” the activity and feel like it’s their idea to do it instead of yours. #Mindgames haha
Put out some blank paper, a shallow dish of water, some brushes & one water color palate per child.
9. Paint the deck or sidewalk
Get some cheap paint brushes + water buckets and they can “paint” the ground!
10. Phone a friend
Ask a good friend to have your kids for an hour or two. Buy her a coffee & then reciprocate during your second trimester if your energy comes back.
11. Let your kids destroy the house
…while you lay on the couch. My kids love this “game.” 🙂
Later, you can bribe them with candy to clean it up 🙂
12. Giant Paper Roll Ideas
I love having a giant roll of white paper on hand for whatever… those liquid water colors I mentioned, markers, a new box of crayons, stencils, do a dots, stamps. If you roll out a big piece of paper on the floor, it’s all the more fun! And if it’s all washable, who cares if they get it all over!?
Cut off a huge piece of a roll of white paper.
Use painter’s tape to tape it to the ground or table.
Try one of the ideas below:
Stickers – Right around 2-4 years old, my kids love a blank piece of paper and some stickers. You can peel off the “background” part to make it easier for a 2 year old to get the rest of the stickers off. My kids love playing with these basic dot stickers (it’s the 1,000+ pack and will last forever haha)
Or buy the foam puffy stickers from a craft store on clearance after the holidays. Who cares if the holiday is irrelevant!? (Your 3 year old sure doesn’t!)
13. Speaking of Busy Toddler … Rice bins!
Susie from Busy Toddler also has tons of tips on how to get started with rice bins in this article. This type of stuff occupies kids for a long time the more they get used to it.
14. Enforce rest time/ quiet time
One perk of having kids close in age is that all 3 older ones still napped when I was first pregnant with my 4th.
My 2nd born dropped her nap pretty young, but we always just had her play in her room for a couple hours because it was the other kids’ nap time anyway.
If you are home with other kids, one of my top pregnancy tips for first trimester is to let yourself nap every day when your littles nap!! I am not a “napper” at all… I basically NEVER nap when my kids nap… except during the pregnancy fatigue of first trimester and those early newborn days.
When your toddler is starting to drop their nap & transitioning from naps to quiet time, we use a “3 toy rule” and this “okay to wake clock.” The toddler can pick 3 toys to bring to her room, and she has to stay in her room quietly until the clock turns green.
When they argue, “I don’t want to nap!” or “I’m not tired!” I say, “That’s okay! You don’t have to nap. You can just play quietly in your bed until your light turns green.”
If they come out, remind them they have to stay in, discipline as necessary (take a toy away or lock the door), and eventually they’ll figure it out if you stick with it!
Dealing with Cooking
Though I generally enjoy cooking, I hate it during the 1st trimester. I’m super tired & everything makes me want to puke.
15. 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!
16. 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. Just make sure your pregnancy brain doesn’t order from the wrong walmart… I have ordered from the wrong one more than once!! #speakingfromexperience
I have friends who love Instacart for delivering Aldi too.
17. 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.
Google “crockpot dump recipes” for super easy recipes where you just dump a bunch of stuff into a crockpot.
19. Budget extra for takeout
We budget extra for takeout when I’m pregnant because we just order out more. It is what it is.
20. Spiritual Life
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 an early-to-bed-early-to-rise person! I love the quiet mornings, and that’s when I have more extended Bible study & prayer.
But, not when I’m surviving the first trimester. I sleep 9-10 hours a night if possible, basically going to sleep right after the kids and waking just a few minutes before them so I can guzzle some of that energy tea!
My spiritual disciplines shift during this time too. I don’t spend as long a time in regular scripture reading… but I do try to rely more on sermons via podcast listen to worship music, and pray throughout the day. There’s so much grace! The God who is growing and shaping your baby can sustain you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually through those exhausting first trimester months.
When the first trimester exhaustion passes, I’m always eager to get back to my morning quiet time routine!
Medical Tips for First Trimester
Once you get that positive pregnancy test, your body changes like crazy and your developing baby is changing daily. During weeks 1-8 alone (sometimes before getting pregnant is ever even on your mind), the baby’s heart starts beating, the brain and spine begin to form, the facial muscles form, webbed fingers & toes start poking out, lungs form, and the inner ear begins to develop. The inner ear on your growing baby is forming before you even test positive.
I’m not a doctor so take this as you wish and always run medical advice by your own doctor!
But, here are a few body & health related tips for the first trimester!
21. WATER – Stay Hydrated!!
If you don’t have one yet, get a leak proof reusable water bottle and drink water all the time!! Yes, you’ll have to pee a lot. But, you will have to pee a lot no matter how much you drink. And, it’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re pregnant.
I love these hydrocell water bottles. It keeps my water COLD & is truly leak proof! (That’s important when there are little people around…) It is dishwasher safe and seemingly indestructible. The 18 oz ones work for kids or these smaller kids’ ones are great too 🙂
22. Prenatal Vitamins
It’s important to take a prenatal vitamin your first trimester. Any brand will have a good amount of folic acid, which is crucial for baby’s development.
That said, those prenatal vitamins can add to the nausea! I usually took mine at night right before bed. I actually still take vitamins at night to avoid nausea of digesting them.
23. Find a caregiver you jive with!
The best way I know to find a good caregiver is to ask for recommendations from friends you know and trust. You can also look at reviews online and look for specific qualities in the reviews that you care about. Personally, I wanted someone who seemed to be a good listener, who had an office that ran on time (relatively) and someone who tried to deliver his/ her own patients.
24. Schedule Your First Appointment Around 8 Weeks
Typically, an OBGYN office will have you come in around 8-ish weeks pregnant to meet you, get your vitals, check baby’s heartbeat, etc. You can’t reliably hear the baby’s heartbeat until 5 1/2 – 6 1/2 weeks, so most offices will have you wait until the 8-12 week mark for your first appointment.
25. Check With Your Insurance Provider
I wrote about the 10 questions you’ll want to ask your insurance provider once you find out you’re pregnant. You could do this any time between when you first find out and around 12-16 weeks. There’s not a huge rush.
A Few More First-Time Mom First Trimester Tips
26. Don’t Buy Maternity Clothes Yet…
If you “pop” early, use a belly band or just the good ol’ rubberband trick to make your jeans last longer. And if you don’t have any, grab a couple flow-y tanks or tees to layer under other clothes. I’m officially a HUGE fan of ordering clothes on Amazon. The reviews and customer images help a lot with my decision making. Size up with a couple flowy tanks so that it’ll work for first trimester and postpartum.
While you’re at it, check out my ultimate guide to a minimalist capsule maternity wardrobe!
27. Pregnancy Tips For First Trimester: Bras
If your breasts get really huge and sore, try a cheap wireless bra. Just grab one in tan and one in black to get you through for now. Chances are you’ll have to also get nursing bras anyway.
I really like these wireless t-shirt bras from Victoria Secret (this is my go to every day bra and I went up a size in pregnancy!) Go up a band size and maybe one cup size too from your normal bra size. They’re often on sale for $25. Or just go in and get fitted.
Or, these wireless cotton bras get great reviews… Those $5.99 ones get insanely good reviews. I had some nursing bras that looked identical to that and I loved them.
7 More Practical Ways to Prepare for Baby
I have a separate post with 7 practical ways you can start preparing for baby. It explains:
- budgeting realistically for baby (including a spreadsheet you can use!)
- figuring out health insurance specifics
- how to discuss parenting issues with your spouse
- tips for sleep training your newborn (START RIGHT AWAY WITH OUR METHOD – YOU CAN THANK ME LATER!! Haha)
- and more
Remember, 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 and hopefully some of these pregnancy tips for first trimester will help you!
Praise God for that little life inside of you and remember, this too shall pass. Pregnancy feels eternal and then – BAM! Your due date arrives, time to give birth & baby is here! So so hard, but totally worth it. I promise!