I am so, so grateful for the little baby inside me.  The symptoms of pregnancy are a very, very small price to pay– I love Paulie so much.  Having said that, I will say that the first trimester of pregnancy was really, really hard for me.  I couldn’t sleep (I don’t normally have sleep problems) and I had pretty bad morning sickness.  I went weeks without being able to keep down more than one meal a day, and that combined with not being able to sleep and having neck pain from my now-humongous breasts made me feel like I was going crazy at times.  I’m in the second trimester now, and thankfully it is so much easier.  So here are my tips for surviving the first trimester:

1.  Get a comfortable bra, and get professionally fitted for it (say, at J.C. Penny or Belk).  I highly recommend the Playtex Comfort Strap bra– it’s the only bra that doesn’t hurt me.  Other bra straps dig into my shoulders and are painful, even the bras with wide straps.  But the Playtex comfort strap bras have gel inside the straps, which is the most ingenious and amazing thing ever, in my opinion 😉  I got a free bra fitting at J.C. Penny, and the woman adjusted the backs of the straps so that it would fit perfectly on me.  Goodbye neck pain!  (I had some neck problems pre-pregnancy– I don’t want to scare people and make them think that pregnancy-enlarged breasts are going to hurt their necks.) 

2.  Vitamin B6.  My obstetrician told me to take 50 mg twice a day for morning sickness.

3.  Preggie Pop drops.  I never would have thought that a piece of candy (at least, that’s what they look like) could help with morning sickness, but a coworker gave me one and I was desperate enough to try it.  And it actually worked!  Of course, the nausea came back as soon as the drop had dissolved, but trust me it was worth it, even getting that little break.  And they taste good!  There’s a regular version and an organic version.

4.  Cylindrical pillows (think pillows that are in the shape of soda cans, only much bigger).  I didn’t want to buy a special pregnancy pillow, so I tried out two very thickly-stuffed decorative pillows that we already had.  They work *perfectly.*  I sleep on my left side and put one between my knees/thighs and hug the other one.  We bought the pillows at Bed Bath and Beyond– they’re called Anywhere Neckroll Decorative pillows.  They’re extemely soft and cuddly.  I also fold up a very thin bed pillow and put it between my feet.  I can’t get comfortable without the pillows, but once I’m curled up with them… aahh, bliss.

5.  Motherhood Maternity clothes.  They are SO soft!  I especially love their drawstring pajama pants.  They have a wide selection of clothes, and I was able to find some that fit my (admittedly picky) style.  Their pants are available in a range of different inseams, so I was able to find some that were actually long enough for me, and I’m 5’11”!  I’m really sensitive to any pressure on my stomach (I always have been, even pre-pregnancy) and so I can’t bear to wear pants that have the stretchy panels that go over my belly.  Thankfully Motherhood Maternity has some pants that go below the belly, and adjust in the back with buttons and elastic.  They are so comfortable that I went back to buy more.

6.  Triscuits.  Many times they’re the only food that my stomach will accept.  I don’t care for saltine crackers, but I live off of Triscuits.  And hey, they’re whole wheat and don’t have MSG!

7.  Cane sugar sodas (such as Jones soda, or Whole Foods’).  For some reason Whole Foods’ orange soda really calms my stomach.  I don’t know why, but some flavors work better than others.  Mug root beer works well, too, but it has high fructose corn syrup.  Whole Foods also sells a canned juice that has ginger root in it.  During the first trimester, if I drank three cans of that, I could keep an entire meal down (woo hoo!). 

8.  Apple juice (not from concentrate).  When my stomach is being nice to me I can drink something non-carbonated.  So I drink watered-down apple juice.  Grape juice is too heavy on my stomach and makes me vomit.

9.  Stool softeners like Colase.  I’ve found that they work better if I take one pill twice a day, rather than two pills once a day (but always check with your obstetrician/midwife before taking anything).

10.  Tucks witchhazel pads.  Giant’s generic version is good; Harris Teeter’s is not.  I won’t say anything more about that– don’t want to gross you out 🙂

11.  Really, the number one thing that helped me get through the first trimester was my husband’s love and support.  I’m so grateful to have married such an amazing man.  He bought a pile of baby presents and wrapped them, and whenever I was having a particulary awful day he gave me a little baby present to open 🙂  It was so, so sweet of him, and it helped me focus on the positive (we’re having a baby!!) when I was feeling especially miserable.  He’s there for me in so many ways.  I don’t know what I’d do without him.  🙂

Yes, the first trimester can be awful, but you can get through it!  My morning sickness got a lot better after the first trimester, and so did the fatigue.  And it is all so worth it.  When I saw my baby for the first time on the ultrasound, it was the most beautiful thing that I’d ever seen.  🙂

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