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First Trimester Tips & Favorites

first trimester tips via Food by Mars

I’ve been so excited to announce recently that I am pregnant and expecting in June’19. This is my first pregnancy and it’s been such an incredible experience. I plan to share more soon, but have been so far compiling some First Trimester Tips based on symptoms like morning sickness, diet, and remedies! The first trimester for me was quite rough because of the morning sickness, AKA 24/7 nausea, and general crappiness, though I’ve been so grateful for it all… it’s just not ever what I expected! I often felt held back, down, and confused with these symptoms but honestly found that keeping distracted was the best way to get through the 9 or 10 weeks straight I felt like this. Also, as someone who loves to eat well… I felt like a failure when I couldn’t. I hated that all I could eat some days were gluten-free pretzels and the bare minimum of water! But I had to just do what I could and not be hard on myself… and trust that my body had all the nutrients it needed to do its thing from how I ate and lived before all of this.

One of the weirdest things about the first trimester is the initial shock, not really telling anyone, and then feeling sick on top of all of it. So I was very anti-social, not keeping plans, and basically went MIA for 3 months!! But it’s what worked for me, as an introvert, when I don’t feel well… it’s hard to fake it. I need downtime to reset and feel better. That said, as you’ll read below, I did have obligations like the 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training I had already signed up for and committed to, which while very difficult to complete feeling sick all the time… it was a blessing for me. I remember after telling my class the news so they knew why I couldn’t do certain things… they were all so supportive and kind, and I got so much advice from the fellow mamas in the class. That helped distract me for sure considering I hadn’t yet told my family or most friends!

So the best thing all in all, was to distract myself. Some of the tips and remedies listed below would work for a few days, then back to not working… very sporadic. It was hard to find anyone “magic pill” to “fix” the symptoms… I started to accept I had to just get through it as best I could and trust without being a control freak. Once it subsided around week 16, I was back to craving my regular food and started to get my energy back. I was also able to tell my family, etc. and it felt so great to get it out in the open! If you’re reading this feeling very sick or confused about the first trimester, I’d offer the advice of trusting and being open-minded to you while keeping distracted as best you can and hope the info below is helpful to you!

Why do we get “morning sickness”?

From the research I’ve done, it seems there are 3 possibilities at work here…

  1. It’s a primal instinct to not want to eat anything that could introduce a pathogen to your body like parasites, etc. – This resonated with me since I found myself drawn to “dead” food like pretzels and white rice most of the time and not something more nutritious “alive” like greens! Even an avid foodie and cook like myself, couldn’t stand the sight or smell of any vegetable and most animal proteins.
  2. Gut bacteria imbalance – I don’t doubt this has some role to play, a supplement called CocoLaurin helped me a bit with this listed and linked below.
  3. Drastic change/surge in hormones – This for sure makes a ton of sense! Our hormones are changing so rapidly, it can make us sick to our stomachs. And it’s best not to mess with it and go with the flow.

It’s super common for most women, but some don’t get it at all! We are all so different, and each pregnancy can be different. I try to just show kindness and compassion for my body no matter what.

first trimester tips via Food by Mars

Food & Drink (aka my First Trimester Diet):

Like I said, I was drawn to mainly “dead” foods… but here and there, I’d get a raging craving for fruit or a crunchy salad. I think that was the “old me” crying out for a whole food – hahaha, having these things on hand, however, helped when I just couldn’t get anything down.

  • White Rice
  • Raw and Dry Roasted Almonds with sea salt
  • Plain Baked Chicken Breast
  • Room Temp Water
  • Occasional GF Pretzels and Simple Mills Almond Crackers
  • Avocado
  • Electrolyte packs
  • Peppermint Tea
  • Sparkling Water
  • Some fruit (citrus like lemon seemed to bother or increase acid reflux which I NEVER experienced until now)
  • Chocolate Protein Powder with Collagen

Morning Sickness Remedies and Supplements:

These all had a hand in helping me out, but nothing was a perfect “fix” for me personally. I’d encourage you to try anything that sounds good, though!

  • Gummy Pre-natal Vitamins (If you can’t swallow, which I couldn’t, these are helpful… now I’m back on my normal Prenatal vitamins with Prenatal DHA)
  • Topical Magnesium – this really helped me with the lack of sleep as well!
  • Vitamin D3 – I took 2-3,000 IUs extra besides what was in my Prenatal being pregnant in the winter and not having any sun and all!
  • CocoLaurin – there’s a theory that some morning sickness is due to gut imbalances, so this is to help with that, it did help me some days!
  • Homemade Essential Oil Blend I learned from Aromatic Studies in NYC (Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Lavender, Spearmint) & Pocket Farmacy to sniff – some oils aren’t recommended topically during pregnancy, but you can still sniff them and get amazing benefits!!
  • Sea Bands – should help with dizziness, especially
  • Gin Gins
  • The protein and collagen mentioned above was also helpful.
  • **Medication: I stayed on my Thyroid meds during this time, in fact as a rule of thumb, once you know you’re pregnant… you should tell your doctor immediately so you can get updated lab work and confirm if changing your meds are needed. Many women may need to up the dosage if Hypothyroid.**

Self-care & Distractions:

  • Binging on Netflix – anything NON-food related
  • Binging on Real Housewives of New Jersey
  • Warm Magnesium Baths with music
  • Dancing it off
  • Light, seated yoga (too much movement made me nauseated)
  • Walking outside
  • Vacation! I had already planned my husband’s birthday vacation and we went during my sick times, but the sun and sea really helped take my mind off of things. I also was scared to get sick on restaurant food, so we cooked most meals at home and I did my best with getting well-rounded meals. Salads, avocado, and my packed crackers helped along with all my supplements.
  • Just doing the damn thing… some days I really had to force myself to just do ANYTHING to take my mind off of how I was feeling. Other days, I really needed to stay in and sleep… listening to my body as best I could amidst the confusion and bad moods was helpful.
  • Knowing when to turn off electronics, I found too much laptop and mobile time made me even dizzier.
  • Talking to my friends or meeting new people – I started my Yoga Teacher Training (RYT-200 Hrs) during this time, what are the odds?? I had 10 hour days of non-stop yoga, meditation, lecturing while we sat on mats and blankets, and having to figure out how to stay awake and have to eat while not looking like a total anti-social wench. It was QUITE the test… after a while, I opened up to my classmates about what I was going through because it was getting so bad that I couldn’t always practice and had to observe or take breaks. Talking it out with all the other experienced moms in the group (when I hadn’t even told my family yet!)… really gave me a sense of belonging and support. Just talking and venting about it, made me feel better. Hearing about their stories and advice was also really helpful to make me see the light at the end of the tunnel!
  • Putting makeup on – sounds crazy and certainly didn’t happen daily… but there were days I needed to feel like a person who wasn’t SICK! So even if I was home all day, there were days I’d blast the music and just put on some Beautycounter. Some freshening up never hurts if it helps you feel good about yourself.
  • Breaking up with bras and underwear… yeah I said it, while you might not have a legit bump yet, your digestion tends to be in such shambles, you still have some bloat and weirdness happening. After a while, everything bothered me, my bras felt tighter (the boobs were certainly the first things to grow— talk about NEW for me hahaha) and my underwear bothered me… so I just started going commando when I was home all the time and even sometimes outside as long as it wasn’t obvious hahaha – making myself more comfortable was really all I cared about at that point! Other than that, I love using Lively brand (without underwire), I went from literally a size “S” to the bustier collection AND they have cute nursing bras and the cotton undies are super comfortable. I have a discount code if you’d like to try them for $10 off: AMB-FOODBYMARS2
  • Being alone or alone with my husband… my first trimester hit in the midst of the holidays, I had to basically cancel Thanksgiving because I couldn’t stand the food (though we pulled it together somehow and I was even able to eat it)… and there were tons of social engagements I skipped out on. I just didn’t feel like myself or felt very social and I did my best. When you feel bad and can’t tell anyone why… it makes it a bit harder to show face! But do YOU.
  • I also switched from an OBGYN to a Midwife Practice in New York City, as this was the best fit for me. I’d encourage you to make sure you’re comfortable with your practitioners because this is a big deal!!

Books, Tools, Resources:

Special Note:

I’m fully aware that a lot of my followers and readers are having health challenges that are also blocking them from optimal fertility and being able to get pregnant, Hashimoto’s and PCOS was a major blocker for me… and I was insistent on getting both into as good of a place as I could while trying. To all of you, no matter what the struggle, you’re not alone. I see you and empathize. To those who have suffered from miscarriages… I send you my friend’s recent blog post on her struggle and journey with this (a fellow Hashi’s lady herself), and just encourage you to keep going and trust. I must have said “trust” a million times in this article alone because that was the key for me… trusting that I put enough in place health-wise to see what my body could do now, and be open to the experience. I’m also a part of this Facebook Group that is a helpful community and resource for all things Hashi’s-Fertility related if you need help and support with that. I’m planning more posts, one specifically on Fertility tips and favorites. Sending hugs to you all, wherever you are… XO

-Alison Marras
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