Dr. Kristen Mitteness
My First Trimester
That first trimester is something, eh? Mine was comparably not very difficult, but it sure was interesting. I found it much easier to manage when I was able to read or hear about other women's experiences, so I've decided I will share mine, too.
I took my first pregnancy test 3 days after my missed period. My periods are generally on time and I didn't have any impeding signs of it coming (which is also common), but I was going camping over the weekend and that always involves prosecco so I wanted to be sure I wasn't (or maybe was!). I peed, did the test, immediately looked at it to see only one line, threw it away and went to work. 4 hours later I realized I didn't let it sit for the required 5 minutes! When I got home, I dug it out of the garbage and looked at it. It now had two lines, but the second was pretty faint. It reminded me of a C19 test that sat for too long and looked weird. So I assumed it was still negative. Okay, off to camping.
4 days later and I still didn't have a period so I decided to take another test. I still had exactly zero symptoms of either an impending period or a pregnancy so I had no expectations. That being said, at the time I was tracking my basal body temperature and it was still elevated. So, technically, I guess that is a symptom. Anyway, sure enough, I got a positive test! Okay, here we go! I felt cautiously optimistic. I experienced a chemical pregnancy at the end of January / beginning of February of 2022 and had experienced more symptoms than I did this time around (insomnia, heightened smell, constipation, swollen boobs, food aversions) so it just didn't feel "real".
During weeks 6 and 7, low grade nausea kicked in. That was my first obvious symptom. It wasn't ever so bad that I would puke, but it just lingered there and was especially worse if I was hungry. I was also visiting family and friends in Minnesota at this time and having a hard time sleeping in new places. I typically can sleep anywhere at anytime, but not so much on this trip. It was fun to be able to share the news with my closest friends and family in person.
After week 7, I didn't experience any more nausea. Now, if I didn't eat something every 3-4 hours, I was a wreck. Mostly emotional, but my energy would tank, too. The problem was, I didn't want to eat anything except bread and sandwiches (All kinds of sandwiches! Bagel sandwiches, croissant sandwiches, grilled cheese, wraps). And I typically don't eat bread or bread products. So, I got as much good, real food into my system as I could. Luckily, once I started eating, I was okay, it was just getting myself to the point of eating. I tried my best to make protein a priority. I ate eggs most mornings, local bacon and sausage, sardines and/or oysters at least once a week, liver, grass fed butter, potatoes (which helps curb the bread craving), lunch meats and cheeses (yeah, yeah, I know the risks, but I decided it was okay for me). Coffee wasn't an option. While I loved the smell of coffee, it was pretty rare I could drink it. I opted for decaf or half caf when I did drink it. I didn't even really want to eat chocolate. Like, who am I?! This was maybe the hardest thing to get used to. Typically I eat my first meal between 11 and 1 pm. I'll have a snack or smaller meal mid afternoon and a bigger meal around 7 pm. I was used to fasting. This felt so different and almost wrong. Oh, and SMOOTHIES! I crushed smoothies. I copied the Go Green recipe from Stella's and finally purchased a replacement for my blender. Smoothies are also a great vehicle for collagen, too, to ensure the extra protein and nutrients for a growing bebe.
I was tired. Really, really tired. I didn't have any energy to do anything I didn't have to. I felt like I was doing the bare minimum. I took 1-2 naps most days. I am so, so, so thankful I have a schedule and work that allows me to be present less than full time. I had no creativity and had to take an extended break from social media posting. I would have what felt like a "bad" day of just not feeling right every 3-4 days. In between those times, outside of the weird eating habits, I felt pretty okay. Eventually I gently succumbed to this and enjoyed my first slow summer maybe ever.
I was also a bit constipated. I feel like this symptom isn't talked about enough. I tend to lean towards this side, anyway, but I would go a few days without pooping and it was pretty uncomfortable. It could have partly been because I was eating less clean than I typically do, but I think hormones also play a role. I've talked to many other pregnant mamas who experience this. I often recommend magnesium if it gets to be too much. In fact, I keep it stocked at the clinic mostly for this reason. Thankfully for me, it's been pretty manageable. My squatty potty is a game changer. I'm so glad my pelvic floor physio recommended it after my surgery.
Oh! I also didn't seem to tolerate heat very well. While I'm typically someone who loves sitting on the deck reading, I spent most of my days inside curled up on the couch. Heat felt extra uncomfortable most days. But, other times I was totally fine. What a weird time.
While I didn't have extra energy, when I was able to drag my butt to the gym, MAN did I feel SO. MUCH. BETTER. I would get about 4 hours post workout of good energy, good mood, decent appetite. It was always worth it. Early on, my physical capacity felt normal but slowly I noticed my physical strength and stamina decreasing. Regardless, I still felt so much better after a workout. Below is a picture of baby's first hike! Yamnuska near Canmore, Alberta.
Even with these symptoms, actually being pregnant still felt surreal. Was this actually happening? Is everything okay? Anytime something felt a little off, I wondered if things were progressing normally. I didn't gain a pound in my first trimester. In fact, I hung around my low end of normal (I typically weigh between 127 and 132). I briefly got up to 129, but I was right around 127 pounds for the first 14 weeks. It seemed impossible because I was eating way more frequently than I normally do. But, growing a baby takes a lot of nutrients! That being said, I am not someone who gets hung up on weight. I don't really care nor do I typically weigh myself, but I was simply curious. My body was changing slowly (getting thicker around the belly, muscle mass seemed to be decreasing, feeling "softer"). I basically just looked like I ate a big sandwich (which I probably did). Once we got the first ultrasound at week 14, it all felt really real. Baby rolls! Baby waves! I was hesitant on getting an early ultrasound, but I was having a really hard time trusting the process and that was exactly what I needed. Now, it officially feels real. And off to the second trimester I go!