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Finding out I was (finally) pregnant with our third rainbow after years of battling secondary infertility and baby loss was one of the most amazing moments. Whether you are expecting your first, second third or subsequent child; the first trimester can be the hardest part. Read on for my top advice for surviving the first trimester, as well as top things you need to prepare for and things to remember to buy for your pregnancy.
First things first… make a shopping list!
Start looking at maternity clothing
Although it is unlikely you will need anything quite yet (unless you're like me and the bump starts appearing around 6 weeks!) it is worth looking into what's available. My favourite shops for maternity clothing across my three pregnancies have been H&M, Jo Jo Maman Bebe and Debenhams. If you prefer, buying standard clothing in a size or two up from your usual size also works! Just make sure you're comfortable.
Pick up essential medicines
Check your personal meds
For me, this meant having blood tests to check my thyroid function and ensure my Levothyroxine was the correct prescription. If you're on medication for your mental health (I was weaned off mine before my pregnancy), or have other essential medications for ongoing conditions, it is essential you book and appointment with your GP to discuss these.
Don't forget Folic Acid
Folic acid is an essential for you to take throughout your pregnancy. You can buy it from supermarkets and pharmacies in 4mg tablets, or as part of a pregnancy multivitamin. It helps to prevent defects in your baby's brain and spinal cord.
Did you know? If you have a higher BMI (over 30) you are likely to be prescribed a higher dose of Folic Acid (usually 5mg).
Start your skin care early
Pregnancy can wreak havoc with our skin; and many, like me, are prone to break outs as well as the inevitable stretch marks. Here are a few products I recommend picking up:
Scar or stretch mark oil
Register with the midwife
Usually this doesn’t take long. Book an appointment with the GP and they'll give you all the details you need to get in touch with the midwifery team in your area. At around 9 weeks you'll have a booking in appointment and then things will really begin to feel real!
Manage your symptoms
Pregnancy, in particular the first trimester, can be full of ups and downs when it comes to side effects like sickness and heartburn. Most pregnancy sickness can be controlled with acupressure bands or foods like ginger. In more extreme cases you may need anti-sickness medication, or even a trip to hospital. Heartburn can be a nightmare, and I have suffered terribly with all three of our children. Although, again, it can be managed with diet, sometimes people (like me!) can need medication. Whatever you're suffering, make sure you talk to your midwife or GP and don't suffer in silence.
For help with surviving hyperemesis gravidarum (severe pregnancy sickness I suffered with Squidgy and ended me in hospital on fluids) watch this video by my friend Sammi-Jo from Mother Freckle.
Next… decide when you're going to announce!
To your other children
When it came to telling the girls the news of our new baby, we basically just came out with it. Our decision to just tell them may seem rash to some (as children often have no filter!) but was worth it for us. Whether you decide to tell them straight away, or wait for the scan, telling older siblings will always be an amazing experience for any pregnant parent.
To family, friends and on social media
We waited until we had the dating scan at just over twelve weeks with all three of our rainbow pregnancies. In my opinion though, it doesn't actually matter when you choose to announce. You can have early scans these days, and if you've not shown any complications there is no reason why you have to wait. Sadly miscarriages can happen at any stage of pregnancy, so choosing when to announce you've got a bun in the oven will always be a personal decision.
Make sure you get plenty of rest
Famous last words, I hear you cry. Especially for those of us that have other children to think about. The reality is, pregnancy can be hard and the first trimester is a party of changing hormones, morning sickness and so much more. For our health, and that of our babies, it is important we rest as much as possible. Go to bed on time, sit down in between school runs, and even have a daytime nap if you can!
Think about your diet
Healthy food, healthy baby
Actually, healthy food, healthy you, too. Growing a baby is hard work and we need to provide our bodies with all the help we can. From ensuring that we eat plenty of fruit and veg to eating regular, balanced meals there are plenty of ways to make sure that our babies are getting all the minerals and vitamins they need to grow and develop inside.
Don't forget to drink!
I don't mean alcohol here (because obviously we should be avoiding that!) but we should be drinking plenty of water. If you're not a fan of water, try adding a bit of fruit to flavour. When you pop to the loo, your wee should be almost clear to show you're taking on enough fluids.
Whether you've just found out, or it's been a few weeks since that positive test, I hope this post can help you survive the first trimester. Whatever pregnancy throws at you, just remember it's not forever and before you know it you'll be rocking that beautiful newborn in your arms.
For more blog posts about pregnancy, check out the category here. Do you have any other tips for surviving the first trimester? Let me know in the comments below.