Pregnancy Update: The First Trimester

Just in case it wasn’t obvious, I’m pregnant! I have been debating for a while about whether or not to do a pregnancy blog. I’ve been keeping a journal for myself of how I’ve been feeling each week but I’ve really enjoyed reading other people’s pregnancy blogs. On the off chance that someone else will get something from my experience I’ve decided to add mine to the blog universe.

Baby Size:  baby has gone from a tiny formation of cells to the size of a lemon! That’s a lot of growth in three months.

Pregnancy Symptoms: I had a relatively easy time through the first trimester, I had some nausea but no vomiting fortunately. I never really felt badly enough to take any anti-nausea medications, it mostly just affected my appetite. Morning sickness is definitely a misnomer as I would have it off and on through the whole day, it would usually peak around dinner time. For me the first trimester was basically a carb-fest. I wasn’t super hungry most of the time and if I did feel like eating it was generally fruit or some form of bread. My main ‘cravings’ so to speak were toasted english muffins with peanut butter and hot cross buns with melted cheese on top. Both of these are things I normally eat though, I didn’t have any really strange or out of the ordinary cravings. I did hear that if you eat a lot of peanut butter while pregnant it can decrease the chance of your child having a peanut allergy. I’m not sure how true this statement is, but since I love peanut butter I’m using it as an excuse to eat all that I want.

Another thing I had a lot during the first trimester was boob soreness. For me it was the same feeling that I get right before my period, except all day every day. It’s mostly gone away now (I’m 17 weeks as I write this post) but it was rather uncomfortable for a while there. Boob wise, one thing I was not prepared for was the change in my nipples. I really had no idea that this was a thing before I got pregnant, but your nipples get slightly darker and larger during pregnancy. The changing size also caused mine to be super itchy! It was a very strange thing but I had to learn how to subtly itch them while in public because sometimes it would get unbearable.

I can’t say I was surprised by this one, but the fatigue was unreal. It’s one thing to read about pregnancy nausea and fatigue and quite another to actually feel it day and day out. I really didn’t want to do anything except lie around on the couch. I’m pretty sure I was in bed by 8:30 some nights and around 2:30-3 pm every afternoon I would have a strong desire to nap (definitely did on some days).

Weight Gain and Baby Bump: I actually came out the end of the first trimester at around -2 lbs from my starting weight. I was trying to eat healthy but I really didn’t have much of an appetite and I couldn’t force myself to eat. Most of the pregnancy books and websites say you should gain around 5 lbs or so during the first trimester but I joined an online community for my due date month and it seems that there’s a pretty big weight gain variation for the first trimester. Some women in the  group lost as much as 10-15 lbs while others gained that amount, it varies widely depending on how sick you felt and what your appetite was. I asked my midwife about it at one of my appointments and she said as long as I don’t have a history of eating disorders and I’m not actively trying to prevent myself from gaining weight, then she’s not worried. I’m trying to keep a positive mindset about it and not worry.

As for an actual baby bump, I don’t have much of one yet. The photo below was from when I announced my pregnancy on social media and was taken at the end of the first trimester. As you can see I don’t really have much of a bump yet, the t-shirt I’m wearing is a maternity one and I clearly am not filling it out. To me my ‘bump’ looks mostly like bloating, like I’ve just eaten a huge meal and now can’t do my pants up. For reference I am on the tall side, 5’9, and I’ve heard if you’re taller you don’t show as much since the baby has more space. Like the weight gain, I think everyone shows differently and at different times.

Pregnancy reveal | flimsylion.com

Exercise: Having been inspired by all the super fit pregnant girls out there posting photos of themselves working out while 9 months pregnant I figured I’d just keep doing my regular workout routine with maybe a few modifications. Wrong! The first few weeks after I found out I was pregnant I was able to keep working out normally but once six weeks hit I was so tired just from regular everyday activities that I didn’t even want to think about going to the gym. On top of that, I found during my first trimester that I’d get out of breath way more quickly than normal. I consider myself to be in decent shape before I got pregnant but all of a sudden I’d have to catch my breath after walking up a flight of stairs. This on top of being tired did not make exercise a particularly pleasant experience. I did get in a few workouts here and there but they were usually easy cardio workouts on the elliptical or incline walking on a treadmill. I did try running a bit since I’d heard you can keep doing it if you were running before you got pregnant, but I could barely run at all before I’d be out of breath. I tried running again recently since I’ve had more energy now that I’m into my second trimester, but I found the jiggling feeling around my midsection to be quite uncomfortable. I think running is out for me for the rest of pregnancy.

Travel: Before I knew that I was pregnant I had booked a trip to Hawaii with my mom and a friend of mine. Luckily the timing turned out to be alright as the trip fell right at the end of my first trimester so it happened as I was starting to feel better and have more energy. We flew from Toronto to Chicago which was around 1 hour and 40 minutes, and then from Chicago to Honolulu which was around 9 hours! Hawaii is not exactly close if you’re travelling from the Eastern side of North America. My friend and I booked the window and aisle seats in a row of three (my mom flew separately since she was in Vancouver beforehand) and for three of the four flights, including both the long ones, we had a row to ourselves. It was nice to have the extra room to spread out, and it meant I could have the window seat and only had my friend to bug every time I went to the washroom. Pregnancy wise you have to be careful when flying since you are at an increased risk of blood clots. You’re supposed to get up and move around every 30 minutes to an hour I believe, I wasn’t moving quite that often since I was trying to sleep a bit, but I did make an effort to move around more than I usually do. I haven’t really been affected by the constant urge to pee so far this pregnancy but I was worried about potential dehydration so I was trying to make sure to drink a lot of water while flying, which of course meant more bathroom breaks. Overall I didn’t notice a huge change in how I felt flying while pregnant compared to normal, but I’m not that far into the pregnancy, it may be different once you have a huge belly. I did notice that it took a little longer to adjust to the time change this time around. It was only a six hour time difference but I couldn’t make it through the first day without an afternoon power nap. It’s probably because I’m more tired than usual already and then throw jet lag on top, not a great combo. I still had an amazing trip though, nice to get some sunshine in before we head into Canadian winter. Anyone who’s hesitant about doing a babymoon or little trip during this phase of pregnancy I’d say go for it, the benefits definitely outweigh the extra tiredness, just be realistic about the activities you plan.

Hawaii

Books and Apps: Initially when I started reading What To Expect and The Mayo Clinic guide to a healthy pregnancy I was going to read along week by week to keep up with where I was in the pregnancy. That lasted about a month and then I got impatient and read the rest in a matter of weeks. Now that I’m pregnant I seem to have an insatiable appetite for pregnancy and baby related knowledge. I’ve read through a lot of blogs, websites and articles and I still want more. I have The Bump app on my tablet which updates me each week on baby’s progress and gives me different articles of relevant info to my stage of pregnancy. There’s a bunch of different versions of these apps but I’ve been pretty  happy with The Bump so I’m sticking with that one. I also joined an online community message board of women due the same month as me. It’s been pretty cool to see what everyone else is going through and helps ease some of my fears as people post about the same things I’ve been feeling. Does anyone have any favourite books, blogs or apps that they liked while pregnant?

For anyone interested, these have been my favourite blogs to follow through weekly pregnancy updates:

Oh She Glows

Baby Kerf

Daily Garnish

The Uphill

Ashley’s Green Life

Ultrasounds and Appointments: My first appointment was with my family doctor when I was around 5 weeks pregnant. The appointment was booked as a general check-up before I found out I was pregnant so I saw my doctor earlier than most people have their first pregnancy check up. She sent me for a few blood tests and booked a dating ultrasound for me at seven weeks.

The first ultrasound was pretty amazing even though you can’t really see a whole lot. At that point the baby just looks like a little peanut blob but we got to hear the heartbeat which was amazing. I’ve heard that once you hear the baby’s heartbeat your miscarriage risk decreases significantly, so it was pretty amazing to get reassurance that early on. My partner came with me to the ultrasound and he was very happy that he did. Ahead of time we weren’t sure if he would be allowed in the ultrasound. The technician did the first part with just me in the room (it was a vaginal ultrasound btw, I did not know that was a thing, but apparently the baby is too small at that point to be seen on a regular ultrasound) and then asked if my partner wanted to come in. Then she had us listen to the heartbeat and printed some pictures for us. I think for him, seeing the baby on the ultrasound was the first time it really seemed real so it was definitely worth it to go.

They don’t give you the results directly so I went back to my regular doctor a few weeks later to get the ultrasound results. Fortunately everything looked fine as well as my blood work all came back okay. They test for immunity to chicken pox, german measles and a few other things in case they need to give you a booster but I was fine for all of them. She also tested my HcG levels which is a hormone your body releases while pregnant, she had warned me that since I had done the blood test so early that it was possible I may have to do it again if the number wasn’t high enough, but thankfully it was nice and high. My ultrasound dated my pregnancy as one day behind what we thought from my LMP which is pretty good since some people can move by a few weeks.

My doctor had explained my options during my first appointment that after this appointment my care would switch to either an OB or a midwife. Both are covered by provincial health care in Ontario so it’s really just a personal choice about the type of care you’d like to receive, unless you’re high risk in which case you’d go with an OB. I’d decided that I wanted to go with a midwife and had contacted two different clinics but hadn’t heard anything back (both clinic websites had stated that if you don’t hear anything you’ve been placed on their wait lists) so she decided to refer me to an OB just as a back-up, if I heard from the midwife clinic I could cancel my OB appointment. About a week later I heard from the receptionist at my doctors office asking if I had a backup hospital to delivery at since they’d been having trouble finding me an OB at the hospital I’d requested. I had a day of panic of worrying that I didn’t have either when I heard back from one of the midwife clinics saying they could take me. I’m not sure if there’s a baby boom happening in Toronto in March 2018 but I’ve learned my lesson that you really need to be on the ball and get those appointments happening as soon as you know you’re pregnant.

In the first trimester you can do a blood test in the first trimester that tests for down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities called the Panorama, or Harmony test. In Ontario the test is only covered if you’re considered high risk and costs about $500 to do privately so we elected to skip that one and do the combined first trimester screening which is an ultrasound and blood test done at twelve weeks. It was worth it just to get to see the baby again! This ultrasound we could see a bit more of the baby and the little guy/girl was squirming around like crazy. To do the down syndrome testing they need to get a measurement of the fluid at the back of the baby’s neck but the baby kept moving so they he/she was facing the ultrasound wand, it was quite cute really. I also ended up having my first midwife appointment at around 10 weeks.

Now that I type this out that seems like a lot of appointments! This seems to vary a lot by where you live, I think I was quite lucky with the number of appointments I got to have. It’s a nice reassurance when you’re feeling worried about how the baby is doing in there to get to hear the baby’s heartbeat on a doppler or see them on an ultrasound. Heading into the second trimester I have a midwife appointment around once a month and I have the big gender reveal ultrasound coming up in November. I believe as long as I remain low risk that will be the last ultrasound I will have.

So that brings me to the end of my first trimester update, is there anything I missed? How could I have missed anything, this update somehow came in at over 2500 words! Anything you want to know about that I didn’t mention? I’m always open to suggestions and requests. I think now that I’m into the second trimester I’m going to move into posting updates every other week. Does anyone other than me actually enjoy reading these types of posts?

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