First Trimester Survival Tips for Pregnancy

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after my first trimester recap, i had a few comments and emails about what i did to relieve some of the symptoms i was experiencing during that dreaded first trimester so out popped this! let me also say that these are all things that worked personally for me and we all know i’m not doctor (i would pass out) so be sure to check in with your midwife or doctor about your specific symptoms.

here are my first trimester survival tips for getting through those rough few month of pregnancy!

dealing with morning sickness/all-day-sickness

ugh. this was the worst. as i previously mentioned (and other people have the same thing – yay for normalizing), getting sick and feeling like i’m going to get sick are two of absolute least favorite things in the world. here are some suggestions to combat this terrible symptom:

  • acupressure
    • whether it’s the placebo effect, i at least felt like i was being proactive when i pressed on my wrist or in between my thumb and index finger. here’s some helpful images to figure out where to press to relieve that horrible feeling.
  • sea-band for nausea
    • you could also opt for sea-bands, yes the same ones you might use on a cruise! they are affordable, they work and have no side-effects. also when i was looking online there is apparently “sea-bands for mama.” the difference between the two? ‘mama’ ones are pink and $3 more expensive. ugh – further proof that when you slap “baby” or “wedding” on something the price shoots up!
  • ginger things
    • ginger-ale worked well for the first month but then got too sweet for me. the thing that helped me the most was sucking on ginger candies (i liked these ones) and also buying some candied ginger from the bulk section.
  • don’t let your stomach get empty
    • this was so very counterintuitive to me because whenever i felt sick previously, i stayed far far away from food – for at least 24 hours. this is not the case when it comes to morning sickness – it can actually make you feel worse if you let yourself get hungry.
    • for me, i most often started feeling worse in the afternoon through evening. i ate crackers constantly – like by the sleeve. on the mornings when i’d wake up feeling sick, i kept saltine crackers in my nightstand and forced a few of those down while saying “somehow, this will actually make me feel better.
  • take your pre-natal vitamins and omega 3s at night
    • this is something that was recommended to me and really worked. if you notice that taking your vitamins makes you feel even more queasy, take them before bed so then you can hopefully pass out and not deal with it.
    • also freeze your omega 3s and it will help cut down on the fishy aftertaste.
  • get medication, if needed
    • if it gets too bad, you can talk to your midwife or doctor about taking a prescription if it’s effecting your hydration and nutrition. i ended up taking diclegis towards the end of my first trimester and for our road trip. it does definitely help with the nausea   but the side effect is that it makes you even more tired, which i truly did not think was possible.


this was my second least favorite symptom. the exhaustion was unlike anything i have ever experienced before. it wasn’t mere sleepiness, it was a flat out i-cannot-function type of tired. it felt like i had been partying for a whole week straight and never once took a drink of water (fine, i’ve never actually ‘partied’ really but this is how i assume that would feel like). there wasn’t much i found to combat this except allowing yourself to rest.

one of the main reasons you get so tired in the first trimester is because the placenta is forming and your body is in the process of manufacturing 40% more blood than when your womb was empty! i just kept mumbling “it’s so hard to make more blood. it’s so exhausting, damn you placenta.”

  • go for a 15 minute walk
    • i know, it sounds counterintuitive but getting some fresh air and moving your body actually helps your blood circulate, giving you more energy.
  • take naps if you can
    • i’m not a natural napper. i rarely wake up feeling refreshed from a nap, before or during pregnancy but sometimes your body just needs you to pass out. do it when you can and don’t feel guilty about it.
  • listen to your body
    • if it tells you to take it slower, then do it. if it’s telling you to rest and not do anything except sit on the couch with your feet up, do it.

taste/smell aversions

it is nuts how quickly you can suddenly hate everything that you once loved to eat. it’s like this annoying super power where you can smell things that no one else can and then you cannot unsmell it. i am currently experiencing this in our new apartment – only i can smell the cat pee from a previous renter that lurks in our bedroom and bathroom and everyone else thinks i’m nuts.

  • go easy on yourself
    • you will read all of the articles online and on your pregnancy app that scream “eat nutritiously! eat well-balanced! more veggies! lean protein!” and then you will gag and say no thank you. in talking with my midwife, she assured me that the baby will be just fine catching up on more well-balanced meals come the second and third trimesters. actually, in the very beginning your little embryo is barely using any nutrients from you so eat what you can tolerate.
  • don’t be afraid to speak up
    • it may be hard if you aren’t revealing your exciting news to everyone you encounter but don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t want to go to a certain restaurant or are craving a certain thing. your husband can help back you up too!
    • also it’s okay to request that your spouse not make certain things around you for a bit. hopefully he is empathetic towards this bizarre symptom!
  • rub some pleasant smelling lotion on your collar
    • so many smells were making me nauseous so i ended up putting a thin layer of some of my favorite smelling lotion on the collars of my jackets. then when i was out and about and smelled something unsavory, i could bury my nose in my jacket collar. you could also wipe a little under your nose but obviously don’t use too much and make sure you like the smell!

expanding belly situation

the first trimester is fascinating as sometimes you wake up and don’t notice any bulge of the belly and then when you go to bed you look like you are halfway done cooking! before you launch into full blow maternity clothes, here are some suggestions on how to make your current pants still be comfortable.

  • the ol’ hair-tie trick
    • this is where you take a thin hair-tie, fold it in half, slide it through the button hole and then loop around the button. this will give you some added relief and feel oh so much more comfortable wearing your pants.
  • buy a belly-band
    • belly-bands are an affordable alternative to help smooth out your unbuttoned pants. aside from the fashion part of it, you can pretty well unbutton and unzip your pants and these belly-bands hold them up! it also gives extra coverage by looking like you are wearing a camisole under your regular shirt. i used one off and on but i don’t love things over my bellybutton (high-waisted jeans trend? no thank you) but it’s helpful to have on hand!
  • or just buy the maternity pants!
    • i am lucky in that my mother-in-law got me the most comfortable maternity leggings in the midst of my first trimester. they are from a pea in the pod and i basically live in them. they are what i wore for our announcement photos – so comfy and flattering

ryan and chelsea avery pregnancy annoucement

saying ‘no, thank you!’

whether or not people know that you are pregnant yet, you know and get to say no thank you to things! start getting comfortable with trusting yourself and what you feel you need. here is a quick list of things you can say no to…

  • going out with friends
  • eating certain foods
  • doing the dishes
  • sex
  • cleaning
  • watching TV/movies that gross you out
  • having intense conversations when you are not in the right mindset
  • picking up dog poop (ask your spouse nicely to do this for you)

alright ladies who have survived the first trimester symptoms, what else did you experience and what helped to lessen them?

Tips for dealing with first trimester symptoms


  1. Jennifer Haston

    March 23, 2016 at 8:01 am

    The tired.. I was feeling so tired that I would literally lay down and nap.. that would refresh me for a bit.. and then I would feel tired all over again, quite the sisyphean cycle. (in case its unknown to you and/or your readers- (– but anyway- great tips.. totally going to try that hair tie thing.. not showing yet, but when I do.. totally trying it! I tend to wear dresses more than pants but as it gets colder I won’t have a choice.. 🙂

    • chelsea

      March 23, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      oh the tiredness was so so very intense! i don’t know about the sisphean cycle so i’ll have to give it another read through later!
      yes the hair tie was a life saver for me and good call on the dresses 🙂 hope you are feeling good!

  2. chelsea jacobs

    March 24, 2016 at 10:02 am

    The lotion on your collar tip is genius!
    chelsea jacobs recently posted…Eight Weeks With Jack: Weeks 7 & 8.

    • chelsea

      March 28, 2016 at 7:55 am

      it seriously saved me!

  3. Lindsay

    March 24, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    BRB, saving this link in a million places for future reference.
    Lindsay recently posted…IT’S MY BIRTHDAY

    • chelsea

      March 28, 2016 at 7:57 am

      i gotchu when the time comes and you can complain to me all you want because i get it! that’s the good thing about letting your friends have kids first – they figure out all the tricks and tell you (at least in my experience)!

      and you can ask them all the gross questions 🙂

  4. Claire

    March 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Hey Chelsea — love these tips! Some of my favourites:

    1.The tip to go for a walk when fatigued. There is nothing like fresh air to help invigorate you.

    2. When you suggest to use acupressure. Love how it is resourceful and very much affordable!


    3. ‘Or just buy the maternity pants’. Why the heck not? The belly is only going to get bigger 🙂

    • chelsea

      March 28, 2016 at 7:58 am

      glad you found the tips helpful! that exercise one i have to keep reminding myself because i am still not feeling the energy i used to but i know if i work out – i will feel slightly better!

      good point that the belly is only going to keep growing so might as well get the pants 🙂

      • Claire

        March 28, 2016 at 8:55 am


  5. Courtney {alkeks abroad}

    March 26, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Maternity leggings are amazing! I’m so excited for it to cool off more so I can wear them everyday.
    Courtney {alkeks abroad} recently posted…Baby A: It’s a…

    • chelsea

      March 28, 2016 at 8:01 am

      ha! so funny that we are in opposite seasons because i can’t wait to wear loose clothing and maxi dresses! the leggings are my only saving grace right now!

  6. Hannah Haworth

    March 26, 2016 at 3:32 am

    The sea bands yes yes yes! I wore motion sickness bands from week 6-10. I had to buy a new set because they were getting lose! I kept a bowl of dry cereal on my desk all day that I could graze on to quell the nausea. Plenty of sleep and a day off without guilt if you need it. You may not technically be ‘ill’ but you’re building a baby – it’s ok to need a day off. 🙂
    Hannah Haworth recently posted…Marriage and the First Trimester

    • chelsea

      March 28, 2016 at 8:03 am

      so glad the sea bands worked for you hannah! good call with the dry bowl of cereal and grazed on it all day – so weird to keep eating even though we felt sick but it proved to help some! you are so right that it’s okay to need a day off – that took me some getting used to!