9 Essential Tips for Surviving the First Trimester

I did not like being pregnant, but I REALLY did not like being pregnant in the first trimester

I know it’s a miracle, and I am insanely grateful to have been blessed to grow my baby. I really am. But being pregnant sucked. The first trimester sucked, the second trimester sucked, and the third trimester was like something straight out of a horror movie.

But today we’re just talking about the Joy of the First Trimester.

(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)

I made it 6 weeks before I got sick.

We had just landed in Hawaii and so far I felt great! I had been enjoying my first few weeks of pregnancy, right from deciding how to tell my husband I’m pregnant to planning our nursery. (I was sad I couldn’t have any drinks, but I was happy to be in Hawaii and determined not to let the drink-less-ness of the holiday ruin my mood.) We had a condo, a rental car, and a beach umbrella. And we had a trunk full of steaks, chicken, and salads from Costco for our ten-day trip.

Then I BBQ-ed some chicken after a gorgeous day on the beach.

Mistake, apparently.

It was all downhill from there.

SO I tried salad. (Not better.)

I tried steak. I tried a hamburger. I tried all the food. 

I was just about to give up and cry when it suddenly occurred to me that bananas (which I don’t like) and cliff bars (which I don’t eat often) were totally acceptable food. 

So we went straight to Wal-Mart to scrounge up some of those things. And then came straight back to the condo to lay on the couch, followed by an early bedtime and some sleeping in. And then some throwing up and complaining about the cramps. The constant cramps. (Just FYI, you SHOULD check with your doctor regarding any cramping – but don’t panic about it. I had cramps until about 4 months in.)

And thus began the Joy of the First Trimester. (And I don’t mean actual joy as in having fun “shopping for all the things to buy when you find out you are pregnant“. I mean “joy” like “misery”.)

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Essential tips for the first trimester + tips for dealing with morning sickness

Now, if you feel great – congrats! This advice might not be that relevant to you. If you can keep working out, that’s AWESOME. If you can eat spinach and chia seeds and keep your pre-natals down, good for you!

But if that’s you, then don’t judge me for what I’m about to say, because you just don’t understand. 

First and foremost, cut yourself some slack. 

You are growing a human – (and it feels like that human is trying to destroy you) – stop worrying so much about “staying healthy for the baby.”

Sure, do your best to maintain your health, your home and your job, but accept that maybe you just can’t. Wear the stretchy pants, lay on the couch, and watch Netflix. If you have to go into the office, ditch the guilt when you have to lay your head down on your desk for 15 minutes. Three times per day. (Yup, I totally did that.)

Related: How to Get Motivated to Clean While Pregnant

♥ Eat whatever you can, whenever you can. 

Seriously. My sister convinced me of this.

One of the reasons that “morning sickness” can be worse in the morning is that having an empty stomach tends to bring it on.

But when all the “healthy” food is gross, your stomach might be empty… alot.

So don’t worry about nutrition, don’t worry about calories. If you find something that you can eat, eat it. For weeks I stressed about nutrition. One day I spent half an hour forcing down a protein powder and fruit smoothie. It was SO awful. But I got it down.

And I kept it down for approx 3.5 minutes.

The day I discovered that I could eat potatoes was the best day. Any form of potatoes! And I could eat cold white food. Ice cream, plain yogurt, vanilla milk shakes. Those things were all ok.

I admitted to my doctor that I was eating nothing but potatoes and ice cream, expecting a lecture. I was SO relieved that he just laughed and assured me that my baby was more like a parasite than a pet, and it would take what it needed from me.

You will feel one hundred times less nauseous if you feed yourself something. (If you can’t find anything that sounds good, saltine crackers are usually a safe bet.)

♥ Sleep. Choose sleep over Facebook. Choose sleep over TV. Choose sleep over any other leisure activity. 

This might actually be uncontrollable. I have never (and I do mean never – apparently even as an infant) been able to just lay down on the couch during the day and fall asleep.

Except for during the first trimester. And the more I allowed myself to sleep, the better I felt. (PS, if you’re already uncomfortable, don’t wait to get a pregnancy pillow. You can grab one for 50% off here with the code mommyonpurpose50 – just for my readers ♥.)

Related: How to Get 500$ in Free Stuff for Baby
Related: Should You Bother Taking a Prenatal Class?

♥ Talk to your doctor at the FIRST appointment about taking Vitamin B.

I had read some theories online about how taking B vit might prevent morning sickness and I was taking a liquid B (this is the one I took, and it says right on the bottle “for use during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects”).

My Doctor said the idea that B Vit could prevent morning sickness has never been proven, but it just so happened that I got sick in Hawaii … where I couldn’t take my B vit because we had traveled carry on only and I couldn’t pack the liquid bottle. I certainly found that it seemed to help.

♥ Read up (and stock up) on a few safe nausea remedies before you actually get sick.

Don’t fight it! Just give in and throw up.

If you still don’t feel better try

  • Deep breathing
  • Inhaling peppermint essential oil
  • Drinking some ginger tea
  • Plain toast or crackers
  • Sea Bands
  • Getting in bed and staying in bed
  • Crying really loud and demanding sympathy

(This pregnancy subscription box gives you some awesome pregnancy sickness remedies in the first box!! I got cute nausea bands and preggie pop drops in mine, as well as an adorable pregnancy journal and weekly bump photo stickers!)

Stock up on prune juice. For constipation. Really. (If you didn’t know this was an issue… you will likely know soon.) 

I don’t fear over-sharing, so I’ll tell you flat out- there’s a good chance that terrible pain off to the lower left in your stomach is poop. Things are changing rapidly in there, and you’re taking iron to boot. (Which can REALLY back things up.) Prune juice is your friend. As is coconut water.

♥ Talk to your doctor at the FIRST appointment about taking Tylenol / using heat / ice.  

I swore I wouldn’t touch tylenol while I was pregnant so I didn’t bother talking to my Dr about it. And maybe you’ll be able to hold out. But when it’s 47 hours into the first migraine you’ve ever had, or four days into your first cold as a pregnant lady, you may just break down and take it.

So know if your Doctor says it’s ok, and know how much is ok.

(Just FYI, I would rather give birth again than have a cold again while pregnant. I DID take the Tylenol, after a complete break down at the pharmacy when they told me that’s all I could have.)

♥ When you are overwhelmed by all the feelings, remind yourself that it’s not you (…or your husband) it’s just the hormones. 

Recognizing your crazy emotions as a force that you aren’t in control of can allow you to feel less overwhelmed. You might still feel sad or scared or confused, but knowing that it will pass and that you don’t have to get it together is sort of freeing.

And if you haven’t grabbed one yet – consider picking up this printable pregnancy and baby journal. It was actually made BY a mom, so she included the REALLY important things you’ll want to remember about this time in your life (because it will be important in another ten years).

♥ Really focus on WHY you’re suffering. 

I swear – even if you’re not sure you really want kids – when you meet that baby it will all seem worth it. You might even sign up to do it again.

Related: 8 Things that Totally Shocked Me About Postpartum Recovery

morning sickness remedies first trimester

first trimester survival tips - best morning sickness remedies to how to deal with exhaustion in early pregnancy! the first trimester can be ROUGH!

first trimester survival tips

34 thoughts on “9 Essential Tips for Surviving the First Trimester”

  1. I’m nine weeks in. This post made me cry. No clue why. Cue the crazy emotions! Pregnancy has not been my favorite so far but this article made me feel a little less guilty about that. Thank you for your honesty and advice!

    Reply
    • Haha Erin!! It’s totally ok to cry at random things all the time. I hope pregnancy gets a little easier for you (it didn’t for me, but I’m not the rule!). It’s ok to not LOVE it. Just remember that it’s WORTH it.

      Reply
  2. I just want to thank you for being the first real honest and raw article I have read about “morning” sickness (surely a man invented the term!!) I have not been enjoying my pregnancy at all so far but feeling insanely guilty at the same time for feeling this way, especially after a miscarriage! I found so much comfort in your article so thank you!

    Reply
    • Congrats on the pregnancy Crestina! You do NOT have to feel guilty about not being thrilled to suffer! That doesn’t mean you aren’t grateful to be pregnant – those are totally different subjects. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post <3

      Reply
  3. I’m nine weeks tomorrow. And out of all the articles I’ve read and support I’ve received so far during this sucky first trimester, your post was the only thing that made sense to me. Thank you. I’m totally crying at my desk with utter, utter relief.

    Reply
    • Aw Erica!! I’m so sorry you’re struggling – it is HARD, but it is WORTH IT! (and it does get better.) Just hang in there girl!

      Reply
  4. Carly thank you so much for your honesty. You literally took the words out of my mouth. I am in my first trimester and hate being pregnant though I love the little one growing in me. This has been so miserable for me but I feel less guilty about it knowing that I’m not alone. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Megan! I’m so sorry you’re feeling icky – I totally get it… it won’t always be like this and you don’t have to feel guilty!!! <3

      Reply
  5. Thank you so much for this!! I’m not excited I’m not happy and I feel horrible that I feel this way. I feel like being pregnant is a major downer and I don’t get how people are so happy about it. So many things upset me like my pants already feel tight and how I’m only gonna get bigger. I wanted to work out but haven’t been able to do jack besides for take naps and force myself to eat every few hours because it helps with nausea. I’m having the craziest dreams and I’ve been getting so angry at my poor husband over the stupidest things. This SUX! Thanks for keeping it real and thanks for letting me vent . I’ve been feeling so alone but I guess I’m not . Also happy to hear this won’t last forever and that I’m not stuck in this monster of a person forever …

    Reply
    • HI Coco – awwww I feel terrible for you and I GET it! It will totally get better… just get through this part, give yourself grace, and that baby will make it all feel worth while!

      Reply
  6. Thank you for this! I’m 7 weeks in and my morning sickness started 3 days ago and has been non-stop since. I knew you would have a post on this and it was really helpful! It’s always good to hear from other people who have experienced the same thing 🙂

    Reply
    • Oooo i hope you feel better soon! CONGRATS on babe 🙂

      Reply
  7. You are the best! I am almost 9 weeks pregnant (my second pregnancy) with a 2 years old and with awful morning sickness. I don’t know why there’s such a small amount of articles explaining that pregnancy isn’t always a walk in the park. I guess many of us just block our memories ha ha. Anyway it’s refreshing to read an article that matches my current feelings.
    Hoping to get to week 14 soon,
    Nat

    Reply
    • Maybe because we forget as soon as the baby comes?? It really DOES get better as soon as the baby gets out lol – I promise <3

      Reply
  8. This was an awesome article to read, very relatable and just “real”

    I’m nearly 14weeks, and have been feeling sick since week 5or6! 24/7!!
    Lost 12kg and can’t find anything I feel like eating or drinking.
    Tried all the usual tips and tricks, pills from the doctor, natural products, ginger, peppermint (you name it) even doing acupuncture! Nothing seems to help…

    I loved your doctor’s comment about the baby being more of a parasite than a pet right now… luckily the baby still gets/takes what he/she needs, it just leaves you depleted.

    It’s hard to feel happy when you feel so miserable all day, every day…
    Your article made me chuckle a little at how true it all is, and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one struggling with the guilt of not being ecstatic.
    I’m really hoping for a bit of relief in the 2nd trimester…
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Awww I’m sorry you’re sick – I promise it’s worth it! I hope the 2nd trimester is better for you too (it sure was for me!)

      Reply
  9. Thank you for this post! Took a lot of words right out of my mouth! I obviously need to give myself a break…I ate a pint of ice cream cuz it’s all I could eat…oh well!

    Reply
  10. This post is really going to help me a lot! I found out I was pregnant while on Active duty orders in the middle of Fort Sill. Trust me when i say that whatever I found to eat that I didn’t throw up I ATE IT.

    Reply
    • Abigail,
      It’s so true – pregnancy nutrition is NOT a one-size-fits-all, some of us can’t eat healthy for our entire pregnancy!

      Reply
      • Whatever man came up with the term morning sickness should be punched because it’s definitely ALL DAY sickness. I used to think I had a stomach of steel because I rarely got sick but this is a new battleground that I am just trying to survive in. I’m so thrilled to be pregnant but not sure why God wanted us to feel crummy during the process!!

  11. I’m 7 weeks today and I haven’t puked yet but I’ve felt like it with everything past couple days. Saltines and ginger ale are my friends right now. I even took some cereal to work to nibble on so I didn’t have an empty stomach. Great advice. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Carey,

      Oh I am glad it helped! Good luck with the pregnancy!

      Reply
  12. Oh my goodness, I so needed this today! This morning I was thinking how I must be the only woman on earth who hates being pregnant! Thank you for your realness!

    Reply
    • Kayla,

      You’re welcome!!! Hang in there – you are certainly NOT alone LOL.

      Reply
  13. I am 10 weeks pregnant and this post made me cry. I feel like finally someone understands me. I am so thankful to be growing this miracle inside me, but that doesn’t always soothe the fatigue and vicious headaches and nausea. I stress so much about “am I doing enough” about my health and beat myself up about it a lot. This post helped me feel less alone and that I am in fact doing a good job taking care of myself and my baby💕

    Reply
    • Sarah, aww I am so glad that my post connected with you and your experience! Pregnancy can be so hard. Hang in there, it gets easier – I promise! <3

      Reply
  14. I needed to read this article today. Finally someone understands me! I’m 9 weeks pregnant and feeling awful. I’m taking medicine for the nausea but apparently it isn’t something that can be fully controlled. I can barely eat and working full time feels like a punishment. Even a bigger punishment is having to listen to every mother telling me it’s normal or to just eat crackers or drink ginger ale and it will pass. It doesn’t. I’m especially grateful for those who give me their useless advices and then confess they didn’t feel nauseas at all at their pregnancies…..

    My baby, thank good, is fine. It’s so great to have a doctor that understand you, and support from your family. I don’t know what I’d do without my husband.

    Reply
    • Gaby – oh I am so sorry you are going through that right now! It’s definitely hard when we get unsolicited advice from others who have never experienced what we are going through. Keep your head up and remember this too shall pass. Good luck with everything. <3

      Reply
  15. Very awesome article. Im about 6 or 8 weeks along and i feel like complete trash. Ginger Ale is the best for nausea and stomach issues. This will be my third child and im looking forward to the day i get to see my little one instead of the way i feel. Im more than positive im getting fixed after this. 🙂

    Reply
    • Oh I’m sorry! it does get better – eventually… Glad you’re more positive now, that is the most important thing you can do! <3

      Reply

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