Everyone’s prenatal, natal, and postnatal experiences are individual. We all have expectations whether we realize it or not. With that, I figured I’d round up in one spot what I found helpful from first to second to third trimester for any new mamas out there. Or even second or third time mamas looking to make their prenatal experience more enjoyable.
That is all. I ask that you take what you need, what makes sense for you or intrigues you, and leave the rest. Enjoy!
That first trimester fatigue (and late third trimester) can be REAL. The demand for nutrients and hydration is high and so, based on what sounded okay to ingest, these were some of my personal go to’s throughout pregnancy.
Liquid IV and LMNT
High protein – (not possible for me during first trimester – I lived on bagels and cream cheese, bean and cheese burritos, apples, grapes, yogurt, and sour patch kids). But when second trimester hit, protein became a top priority for me. To help with that, I began drinking my favorite bone broth and taking legion whey protein daily. That all lasted through the third trimester for me.
Magnesium – Calm Magnesium is what I use. This is something I took nightly before pregnancy and continued to take through my prenatal journey. Proved to be helpful for the sleep issues and leg cramps we’ll get to later. Also, my GI tract and bowel movements were straight up anything but normal during the first trimester. Magnesium, I presume, played a role in mitigating some of that.
Prenatal vitamin – Orthomolecular Prenatal Complete w DHA.
Vitamin B12 in first tri. Some women really like sour chews with B12 but I didn’t love them.
To be clear, my first trimester was pure survival mode. I wasn’t the sickest but I did not plan a single thing, sign up for a course, build a registry or complete any traditional prenatal task until week 15-16 rolled around. That being said, education and options are very important to me. I believe you should have autonomy in your birth planning, physical, mental and spiritual prep for labor no matter what route you’re taking. These courses cover a range of costs but are all AMAZING. I have been utterly terrified of labor for as long as I can remember. Education is key to mitigate that.
And we can’t forget my 30 week appointment where I asked my midwife 1000000 questions after getting 90% done with MamaSteFit course. I (and you) will still be unprepared on some level for labor. I’ve (and you’ve) never felt these feelings, physical or otherwise, and quite literally anything CAN happen. It’s my belief that the more informed you can be, the more efficacy and autonomy you’ll have over decisions that need to be made )along with your “team” – friend, loved one, partner, midwife, and/or doula).
I didn’t even begin birth prep until 27-29 weeks. Breathe. You have time bit truly can’t start too early. So much to learn on so many levels – physiology of labor )fascinating), actual logistical options for birthing in your area (different cities/stares/hospitals have different protocol), and mental and spiritual prep and practice.
If you can’t afford these courses, you can ask them to be gifted, you can read books for much cheaper or research for free on the world wide web. Any empowerment is better than none.
A as a woman who was quite literally made to sleep, pregnancy began training me for motherhood I think. It was just weird. In second and third trimester, I’d wake up from 2-4am, or wake up for the day. at 5:30-6am regardless of what time I went to bed. Hunger sometimes played a role as well. Nausea played a role in first trimester. So, I did what I could – kept snacks and water by the bed, took magnesium and/or tea before bed, tried to have a routine, and post first trimester was active during the day (which always helped).
My pregnancy pillow was actually not a “pregnancy” pillow – I bought one for spinal alignment in genera at week 14. It’s the Medcline Pillow and I needed this way earlier than I expected. In fact, my body changed in a way I could FEEL way sooner than I expected. This pillow, for me, was a game changer. It’s a luxury – most prenatal “things” are, but also, worth it depending on your circumstances.
Skin can do weird things during pregnancy – much like your GI tract and sleep. Yay. One of my favorite things about my go to skincare brand is that they’re 100% safe during pregnancy. I depended on Fre skincare and SUNSCREEN. But most importantly HYDRATION.
You need to be very hydrated during pregnancy. And this will, to my understanding, along with your genetics and how your body changes/Carrie’s weight, will determine stretch marks more than any cream you apply. I did start moisturizing my belly, love handles and chest at 25 weeks or so. I used fre skincare body oil – it’s the most lightweight option and no residue. And then added in Burts Bees mama at week 29. It’s a thicker cream for sure. But I figure more topical hydration can’t HURT. And I used it on elbows as well (any dry/rough skin).
Back to those physical changes – I took Tylenol for headaches (which I never get), heating pad for back, hip and SI joint pain. I probably should have seen a prenatal massage therapist and pelvic floor specialist likely but didn’t. We didn’t have insurance, paid out of pocket for our women’s clinic fees to get a discount, and were prepping to pay big time out of pocket for our house build…so massages and PT were extra for something I could manage on my own.
Movement was KEY – My body hurt the worst in the first trimester when I was on the couch 24/7. No surprise there. My hips, feet, and low back felt IMMENSELY and instantly better when I walked multiple times per day and lifted consistently. It was hands down the worst when I’d sit and do nothing (or work).
Weight gain – I gained weight FAST and in two segments of pregnancy. I gained 15 pounds in the first trimester (eating to prevent nausea and literally hitting like 3% movement for the day). Then maintained for almost two months, then gained another 10-15 when I had a staph infection. Then maintained for nearly 12 weeks. It was strange and not gradual. Don’t stress. Your body is growing a literal whole new human. Talk with your doc and manage weight as directed. There are so many factors at play!
I only mention weight gain because MY FEET AND JOINTS felt that pretty immediately.
I do not know if that led to the calf cramps, foot cramps and muscle spasms. But magnesium, movement, foam rolling all seemed to help.
Finally, we talk about the struggle for so many mama’s to be out there. What to wear while your body undergoes the biggest change it likely ever will (in a relatively short timeline). My goal was not to buy anything I couldn’t wear after pregnancy. Luckily, it can be done! And as mentioned earlier, my body changed WAY sooner than I was expecting.
Pillow slip ons for your feet. My God, what did pregnant women wear before these existed?
Bras and underwear:
I went from a 32/34 AA (yes, smaller than an A) to a 36 C in less than 12 weeks. And let me tell you, having a bra that fits can change a woman’s life. It’s the basis of everything you wear and how that clothing falls on your changing body. I got one strapless, and daily bra from my favorite brands: Natori and Calvin Klein.
Bliss perfection contour bra (great T shirt bra with a bit more support than a wireless bra).
My fav daily bra before pregnancy was Natori Feathers Underwire Contour Bra, and one from Wearlively. But I needed to go physically try on bras to find one.
Best underwear pre pregnancy and prenatally to me are anything Aerie No Show.
Pink Blush for dresses that are prenatal, and postnatal friendly. I got these 3-4 dresses from dresses for weddings to daily T shirt dresses. All were amazing.
I also looked for generally smocked style dresses as these were flattering before pregnancy and will be after.
Otherwise, it was sweatsuits, matching sets, and moomoo graphic tees.
I didn’t buy a single piece of maternity active wear. Instead stocked up on ptula, athleta and Lululemon that I knew would fit me postnatal as well.
Wear what you have, thrift shop, think outside the box, and seek comfort if you can. Feeling your best is the cherry on top. I just didn’t want to feel like a stuffed sausage so I definitely sought out flowy-feels-like-im-not-wearing-anything over tight pregnancy clothing. To each their own.
Hope this comprehensive post was helpful – even for just one thing!
You can hear more about my pregnancy journey with bebe Miller on the FitsPRO Podcast – see episodes below
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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