Trimester 1 Update (part 2): Pregnancy Symptoms and What I Ate

perfect health

I have always been hyper aware of my body’s various ways of communicating with me. This is really a blessing and a curse. When you’re trying to conceive you become even more aware (I could go as far as to say obsessive) of all the signs from your body, hoping that it’s all a clue that you’re pregnant. I know that this applies to most women from reading a multitude of pregnancy blogs and forums.

Every single day after ovulation I was sure I was experiencing pregnancy symptoms of different kinds. Cramping, tender breasts, cravings, mild headaches…it goes on. These are of course all the regular symptoms you’d experience in the second half of your cycle. PMS and early pregnancy symptoms are very similar. What didn’t help the situation was obsessively googling every symptom. I would not recommend this to anyone, stay away from google!

Although I was experiencing ALL the symptoms, there were a few in the first month that stood out and I’m now sure were pregnancy signs.

Although I was experiencing ALL the symptoms, there were a few in the first month that stood out and I’m now sure were pregnancy signs.

The first symptom I can remember was REALLY sore breasts. This started from the first week after ovulation. I have experienced tender breasts during my period before, but never this early on in my cycle and definitely not this severe. I couldn’t even sleep on my stomach!

 

The second symptom I experienced was a heightened sense of smell. I felt like I was able to smell everything all the time! The air-conditioner, cleaning products that my cleaner regularly uses, drains, other people’s body odor, other people’s breath etc. I actually had to leave a 7/11 once because I couldn’t stand the smell in there.

 

The third symptom that stood out was the smell of my urine. TMI? Don’t care. I started noticing a pungent smell quite early on, around 4 ½ weeks. At first I thought it was a UTI but I vetoed this after doing further research into other UTI symptoms that I wasn’t experiencing. Surprisingly this is actually a legit sign of pregnancy as a hormone called hCG becomes present in the blood and urine.

 

Next came intense hunger and nausea. I started waking up at 4:30am needing to eat in order to get back to sleep. And so began my morning routine of 4:30am wake up, walk to the kitchen for a snack and back into bed for another couple hours. After about a week of this, I started leaving snacks next to my bed for quicker access. If I went hungry for too long (as in 5 minutes), the nausea would get quite intense. I learned pretty quickly to have snacks readily available to avoid this being a problem.

The constant nausea turned out to be the biggest challenge of my first trimester. It would last from 4:30/5am until mid afternoon. Although I never threw up (I blame this on a strong gag reflex), the all-day nausea was all consuming. I wonder if I had just thrown up in the morning if it would have eased the nausea….I’ll try that next time 😉

I learned pretty quickly to have snacks readily available to avoid this being a problem.

The second biggest challenge was the fatigue. If I could have slept all day, I would have. I even took mid morning naps some times. What a blessing to work for myself with a flexible schedule. I take my hat off to expecting moms who have a full time job during this time! I took the rest that my body needed and gave myself permission to take things way slower. My previous pace of life was not going to work with this growing baby.

Although I tried to stay well nourished, a lot of the healthy foods I ate regularly went out the window. My breakfasts of eggs fried in ghee/butter with kale made me want to get sick. A green smoothie with hemp protein and maca powder almost had me run to the bathroom. And grain-free porridge or pancakes? Forget it! I stuck with simple snacks especially for the first half of the day as I couldn’t stand any meal that was too rich or pungent – bland was best. I had to force myself to eat balanced meals during this time. By dinnertime I could stomach a heavier meal so I tried to pack in my nutrients then.

I mostly craved salt and vinegar based foods like pickles, sauerkraut, olives and cheese as well as Asian (Vietnamese) meals with loads of spice, which was surprising to me since I couldn’t handle flavorful western food.

Here’s roughly what my meals looked like:

Early morning snacks

  • 2 or 3 brown rice cakes
  • Sliced apple with cinnamon + almonds or peanut butter

Breakfast

  • Boiled or fried eggs (if I could stomach it)
  • Mango and chia smoothie
  • Kimchi fried rice with egg
  • Small bowl of rice plus protein of some kind

Mid morning snacks

  • Brown rice cakes
  • Nuts
  • Cheese
  • Fruit

Lunch

  • Veg salad with protein
  • Leftovers from dinner
  • Asian rice dish (one of my main cravings)

Afternoon snacks

  • Crisps (the most natural I could find)
  • Cucumber with salt
  • Baby tomatoes
  • Peanuts and raisins
  • Leftover lunch

Dinner (this pretty much stayed the same as the nausea died down around this time)

  • Sausages and cauliflower mash
  • Steak, homemade chips and veg
  • Chicken stew with veg
  • Blended soup

Although it seems I ate a lot, I could only stomach very small portions at a time. I would often leave half the meal and come back to it for a snack later. Eating lots of small meals frequently really helped with nausea and keeping my nutrition up.

Now that I’m well passed the first trimester, I’m able to enjoy a variety of foods. I am pretty much always hungry and so it leaves a lot of opportunity to get a variety of good food in. Stay tuned for my second trimester update complete with foods I’m eating to stay strong and healthy as well as what I’m doing to stay fit! Check out part 1 of this post to read how we broke the news to the family.

Keep well friends,

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