By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC
Doing some prenatal yoga during my 1st trimester
Those of you who have experienced it know that pregnancy is totally bananas. 9 months of your body being completely hijacked by another creature leads to some pretty interesting side effects. But it can also be one of the most rewarding, beautiful, and radiant times in a woman’s life… IF, and only if, you set yourself up right.
One thing I’ve learned in my 8 months of pregnancy so far is that being prepared is the KEY to a healthy, happy, and radiant baby-growing experience. Each trimester seems to bring with it a whole slew of new and exciting changes, but if you know what to expect and are armed with the right tools, you are in for some much smoother sailing.
My 1st trimester was actually pretty bearable. I never once threw up, could wear all the my normal clothes, and felt decently good throughout. I did, however, feel queasy, super sleepy, and bloated for quite a bit, and the tools below really helped me keep it all together. Since I know every pregnancy is different, I’ve also included some tools for those mamas who have a different experience — more nausea, more of an expanding body, etc.
A major focus for me in this pregnancy has been to minimize stress and anxiety, treat my body with the utmost love and care, and eliminate anything that could harm my growing baby. Luckily, my years of writing this blog and working as a holistic nutritionist have armed me quite well for this intention, and I’m eager to share what I’ve learned with you!
Below you’ll find the most effective, beneficial, and safe products and tools that helped me throughout my 1st trimester. If you have some healthy, non-toxic, natural tools to share, please feel free to add them in the comments!
Even though you may not start showing yet in your first trimester, subtle changes (perhaps even ones only you and see) are already taking place. My boobs grew an entire cup size in the first 3 months of my pregnancy, and I definitely noticed a bit of a “burrito belly” coming in, that was bigger some days than others. With your body starting to expand, it is super important to keep your skin hydrated and supple, which will help avoid stretch marks later in pregnancy. Earth Mama Angel Baby is a wonderful line of non-toxic, natural products for pregnancy and baby, and I absolutely loved this super hydrating Body Butter during my first trimester. Though it’s great for your whole body, I recommend focusing on your thighs, butt, hips, belly, and breasts for maximum benefit. And of course the body butter is organic, free of all toxins, AND has a lovely scent that won’t aggravate morning sickness!
If you’re like me and tend to use your laptop on your lap or rest your tablet on your chest or belly at night, the Belly Blanket is an absolute MUST. It protects your growing baby from the radiation emitted by your computer, iPad, phone, etc. I even used it every time I traveled by plane to protect my baby from the high levels of radiation up in the skies! It comes in a chic grey color that won’t clash with your look, is lightweight, and machine-washable. Radiation in pregnancy is no joke guys, so please make sure you’re protecting yourself and your little one! The Belly Blanket is perfect to use at home, the office, or while traveling!
3. Natural, non-toxic cleaning supplies
Cleaning products account for a huge percentage the harmful toxins you and your baby are exposed to in pregnancy. The toxins in bleach, toxic scrubs, and abrasive sprays can cause birth defects, hormonal imbalances, and complications in pregnancy, let alone be super unpleasant to smell for a queasy pregnant mom. If you haven’t already, now is the time to switch over to a line of natural, non-toxic cleaning and laundry supplies in your home, and toss all the toxic crap. I’m a fan of Mrs. Meyers, Honest Company, Common Good, and Puracy. For more information on detoxing and naturalizing your home and beauty products, check out my guide to 4 Steps to Naturalizing Your Life.
4. Natural anti-nausea remedies
Nausea rears its ugly head for many women in their 1st trimesters, to varying degrees of intensity. I myself felt a little queasy throughout, but have friends who were throwing up nonstop for three months. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it’s important to arm yourself with a bunch of anti-nausea tools to make the whole thing easier. The most effective remedies I’ve found were ginger (in the form of chews, tea, or fresh grated ginger in your food), lemon essential oil (put a few drops on a hanky and seal in a ziplock bag — sniff whenever nausea strikes), and Organic Preggie Pops. To be honest, the Preggie Pops worked the best, but since they do have some sugar in them, I used them sparingly. Many women have also had success with Sea Bands, but unfortunately, I was not one of them. A trial and error approach works best with finding the right anti-nausea remedies for you, but definitely find something that works. Nausea is a horrible reason to deprive your growing baby of vital nutrients and building blocks in the 1st trimester, so make this a priority!
5. A whole foods prenatal vitamin + DHA
All supplements are not created equal, my friends, and just because something is labeled as a prenatal does NOT mean that it is a high quality supplement worthy of your growing bundle and your own health! I recommend a whole foods based prenatal vitamin like Vitamincode Raw Prenatal or New Chapter Perfect Prenatal, which have food-based folate (instead of synthetic folic acid), support for healthy digestion and elimination, and hormone-balancing pregnancy safe herbs and vegetable blends. Also, if you’re not regular eater of low-mercury seafood like wild Atlantic salmon, I highly recommend a fish oil supplement high in DHA like Nordic Naturals ProOmega.
Even though you may not be obviously showing in your 1st trimester, many women (myself included) experience a persistent bloated feeling that can make fitting into your skinny jeans a little frustrating. You don’t need to shell out on maternity clothes yet, but it is definitely worth investing in a BellaBand, which extends the wear of your normal pants and skirts by months and months. I was still using it well into my 2nd trimester. The BellaBand comes in a bunch of different colors and sizes and allows you to leave your pants, jeans and skirts unbuttoned/unzipped, making things infinitely more comfortable. I have one in every color!
Information overload is a common overwhelming symptom of pregnancy, so it’s really important to choose your sources wisely. I am NOT a fan of the typical pregnancy books which can instill a lot of fear, and are not at all supportive of a natural, joyful pregnancy. So I was SUPER excited when I found The Natural Pregnancy Book, by physician, midwife, and holistic health expert, Aviva Jill Romm. Packed with all kinds of useful information like pregnancy nutrition, natural remedies for common pregnancy symptoms, moving your body, and overcoming fears and anxieties around pregnancy and childbirth, this was my ultimate resource in the first and second trimesters. Try to resist the urge to buy up too many books too early… you have tons of time to get all the info you need! In the 1st trimester, focus on educating yourself about the basics, and making sure you have your prenatal care, nutrition, and wellness down for you and baby. A few other fun books I enjoyed in the 1st trimester are Mama Glow and Kind Mama, both wonderful books on having a gorgeous, healthy, and vibrant natural pregnancy. But if you’re going to read just one, The Natural Pregnancy Book has you covered! I’ll share my fave books for the 2nd and 3rd trimesters in upcoming posts.
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