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My Fit, Positive Pregnancy: First Trimester Recap

I'm pregnant and today marks the end of my first trimester! HURRAY!!! Here’s the down-low on the first 12 weeks of my first pregnancy following 2 (very early) miscarriages.

But first, a fun fact: I was about 5 weeks pregnant when I had a recent photo shoot with my local photographer, Mick. I still felt really good at that point, but the progesterone bloat was SO real, especially around my belly, hips, and thighs. There were a bunch of photos I wasn’t able to use - like this one below - because I was afraid my bloated belly would give away the news!

Remembering Weeks 6-12

Well, I spoke too soon about feeling good at 5 weeks pregnant.

Week 6 marked the beginning of a very long stretch of insomnia, nausea, fatigue, and food aversions.

I went from sleeping 8-9 hours per night to not sleeping for more than 2-3 hours at a time. I’m told this is preparing me for feeding baby every few hours ‘round the clock. (I think I’m gonna need more eye cream…)

At first it was maddening, but my husband shared some really good advice with me:

“Embrace being awake.”

Sounds kooky - but it worked.

Once I just accepted that I would wake up and be alert for about an hour (or more) each time, I started finding ways to use the time. I wrote emails for clients, wrote blog posts, researched maternity clothing, and blasted my way through 6 seasons of the FX series, “The Americans” on Amazon Prime.

(Still not done with it yet, but my Russian is getting pretty good. Da.)

What I've Been Eating

One of the most common questions from the few people who know I’m expecting?

“Have you had any weird food cravings yet?”

Oddly enough, no. I wouldn’t really call them “food cravings” like the cliches you hear about pregnant women craving things like pickles and ice cream.

Before I knew I was pregnant, I was doing a low carb/high fat phase with my nutrition. I was all about the protein, veggies, and healthy fats. Things were going great…

And then, around the end of week 5, everything changed.

During weeks 6-12, the food aversions and nausea hit BIG TIME. I suddenly had very specific food requests, and they could change on a dime. Not because I had a “craving”, but more like, “This is the only thing I can even consider eating right now that doesn’t make me want to hurl.”

Some of my first trimester, very-specific-food-requests included:

  • Chicken Soup: definitely the most common. I now know where ALL the best chicken soup places are in Durham.

  • Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup: reverting to childhood on this one. I added sliced ham to the sandwich for extra protein.

  • Scrambled Eggs and GF Toast. There were some days I had this for breakfast AND dinner.

  • Turkey Panini: Pre-pregnancy, I’d never had a panino (a grilled Italian sandwich) in my entire life. In one week of my first trimester, I think I ate 3. I found these amazing grilled sandwiches at a little cafe in Apex, and was a little worried “The Panini Effect” would become my ticket to rapid weight gain city. Not to worry though, as on my last trip there, I was unable to finish the sandwich and my mood turned quickly to, “Ugh. Panini. I am done with you.”

  • Turkey Sandwich and Soup: I ate this for several lunches during my trips to Charlotte for Yoga Teacher Training. Sunflower Bakery was my go-to place!

  • Banza (Chickpea Pasta) Mac & Cheese: I don’t even know what to tell you about this one, folks. At least it was high in fiber?

These meals were definitely much higher in carbohydrates than I typically eat, and much lighter on the vegetables. Even if I was eating more carbs, I made sure to always have them with a serving of protein and some fat to help buffer blood sugar spikes.

Now that I’m out of the nausea and food aversion woods, I’m more back to my normal carb sources: oats, fruit (bananas, apples, and oranges are all the rage right now), potatoes, rice, beans, etc. And I’m happily back to eating protein and vegetables at every meal, too.

What I’ve Been Drinking

Remember me, LAQ, the girl who loved coffee?

Well, she’s gone.

I weaned myself off caffeine pre-pregnancy (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post) and honestly, the thought of coffee makes me vomity. I’ve had a few small decaf cappuccinos and oat milk lattes here and there, but if they’re larger than 6 ounces, they go unfinished. It doesn’t even interest me any more, and I no longer wake up and go straight for the coffee maker.

It’s a pretty amazing feeling to be honest. To no longer depend on caffeine to start the day, and to no longer crave it in the afternoons.

My water consumption has been through the roof, and my 30-ounce Yeti of ice water is never out of reach.

How I've Been Training

I’ve gone from working out 5 days a week to being lucky to make it around the block for a dog walk. The garage gym is collecting dust, and so is my yoga mat.

I’ve had to miss a few weekends of yoga teacher training because the only yoga pose I feel like doing is Savasana (aka “corpse pose” - a relaxation/meditation pose where you lay flat on your back and close your eyes.)

This is the first real break I’ve taken from workouts since I started working out consistently in my late 20s. Remarkably, I’m not beating myself up for it. I know this phase is temporary, and I also know my body is working hard and has other priorities right now.

My body is busy building a tiny human!

If you’re in your first trimester and you’re reading this, I hope you can be kind and gentle with yourself - however you’re feeling. The gym isn’t going anywhere, and THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

If you’re wondering what workouts are safe and recommended for pregnancy, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology released updated guidance on exercise in pregnancy and postpartum in Spring 2020.

I can’t encourage you enough to read these, as I received a lot of mixed messages and outdated information from other fitness and health care pros who claimed to be certified in pre-natal/postpartum exercise.

A Big Departure From Normal

The first trimester was absolutely wild, and I can’t believe it’s already over.

At our first official OB-GYN appointment, we got to see the baby and hear its heartbeat. Everything looked great and he or she sounds strong!

When I told my midwife Amy (who is also pregnant!) that the first trimester was kicking my butt, she gave me some great words of wisdom:

“It’s survival mode.”

So, I rested a lot. I did the best I could. I didn’t beat myself up for things outside my control. And I kept reminding myself that none of this lasts forever - and that I might even miss it some day.

Are you currently expecting and in your first trimester? If it’s already in the rearview mirror, what was your experience like? Were you full of energy or did it hit you like a truck? Share your experience in the comments below! I would love to hear from you - it’s crazy how every woman’s experience is so different!

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