So Bumpie and I made it to the end of another trimester and what a ride it’s been!
Before I go into the all the gory details, I’ll remind you that this is an honest account of my experiences in pregnancy. I discuss potential PPROM and changes in babies movement, so please don’t read on if you could be triggered by any of this!
You can watch my video diaries here or you can read on and find out, how as much as the books and the movies make out that as soon as trimester 1 finishes, all the symptoms disappear too, they don’t!
You know I like to start with the facts, so here goes:
The second trimester of your pregnancy is from week 13 to week 28 – roughly months four, five and six. As well as feeling and looking more pregnant during these weeks, you may also have more energy than you did in the first trimester.
This will come as a great relief if you have been struggling with sickness, tiredness or anxiety about getting through the first trimester. (Tommys, 2018)
Second trimester symptoms (Pampers, 2017)
- Baby bump- At some point, for example, you’ll begin showing that beautiful baby bump. Be sure to show off those curves in some gorgeous maternity clothes.
- Feeling movement- Another big milestone you may experience is feeling your baby move for the first time. At some point between week 16 and 24, you’ll probably notice your baby start to move. Your baby will become more and more active until week 32. Then your little one’s level of movement will likely remain quite steady until you give birth. That’s because he’ll still have plenty of room in your belly during the second trimester to try somersaults before it gets a little cramped during the final trimester. If you notice your baby’s movements have slowed down or stopped call your midwife or your maternity unit immediately.
- You may encounter some other symptoms as well. These could include feeling out of breath, dizzy spells, backaches, high blood pressure, constipation, haemorrhoids, round ligament pain, and trouble sleeping.
I remember in my Trimester 1 blog, confirming here that I had experienced all of the possible symptoms for the first 12 weeks. I can confirm, thankfully, that there are some of the above symptoms that I have NOT experienced in Trimester 2! What a result! There were however, some additional ones that don’t seem to be listed so I will go through them all below…
Baby Bump (clothes)– “Be sure to show off those curves in some gorgeous maternity clothes”. I won’t lie, this is easier said than done. Maternity clothes took me a very long time to find and what I know now that I didn’t know at the start was that even if something says ‘grows with your bump’ or ‘suitable for all trimesters’, it may not be! There was a period where all I lived in was Mat’s pyjamas and gym clothes. Now, you all know I am no fashion expert and spend most of my days in gym wear but it when it comes to every day clothes, I can confirm that ASOS, H&M, New Look and Topshop have been best for quality and growing with bump, but I did put a pair of jeans on the other day and couldn’t get them past my hips so don’t spend too much on maternity clothes, as they may not fit you after a few weeks. When it comes to gym/active wear however, I can recommend a few small businesses who really do have products I love! Check out Natal Active and Latched who I have discount codes for too (just ask!) and also Mammarelli. I do have a couple of pairs of Reebok leggings too which are good, I won’t even pass comment on Nikes new collection and another one to check out is Seraphine but support the small businesses where possible please!
Baby Bump (daily tasks)– Again, less about showing off those curves and more about not being able to reach your feet because of the curves! I should say before I continue; I absolutely love my bump. To the point that I think I’m going to really miss it once baby is here. But… as this trimester has progressed, it does start getting in the way! I won’t go into too much detail but buying a shoe horn was a bit of a reality check, not being able to see down below when I shaved was another and actually having to have the conversation with Mat about helping me keep myself tidy there, paint my toenails and put my socks on in the coming weeks was the final straw!
Feeling movement- Honestly, the single best thing about this trimester but also the thing I have had most anxiety about. Feeling those flutters in the early stages (it was around 18 weeks for me!) was incredible and I remember thinking Mat would be able to feel it through my skin, but that took a wee bit longer. Some people feel movement a lot earlier but my placenta is anterior so there’s a bit of an extra cushion there too so it took a bit longer for us to see and feel movement through my skin. Now, at nearly 29 weeks, movement excites me every single day. I absolutely love that feeling and watching Mat interact with Bumpie when they’re having a little dance party inside me fills me with warmth. He’ll lay beside me with his head and hand on my bump and say hello. I really do treasure those moments!
NOT feeling movement- Advice says that if you notice a change in your baby’s movements, to contact your midwife or assessment centre immediately. In the earlier stages, it’s difficult to establish a routine or pattern of movement but as pregnancy progresses, it will become easier to detect changes. I have had two episodes of reduces movement which have resulted in trips to the ante natal triage department at the hospital. The first time, Bumpie had consistently been pretty active; I’d feel movement every time I was relaxed or stopped work etc during the day, then at night when I was fully relaxed on the sofa, I would feel what I thought was Bumpie having a party. Lots of prolonged kicks and flutters. On this occasion, however, I went from 5am to 10pm without feeling a thing, resulting in increasing anxiety as the day went on and a trip to the hospital for reassurance. They used a doppler and found heart beat without any difficulty, but I still felt no movement. The next day, we went back in and this time, I was scanned and reassured that everything was ok. As the sonographer scanned me, I felt a big kick and only then did I breathe a sigh of relief. They explained that it was positional and should improve as baby gets bigger. Afterwards, I felt a slight wave of guilt that we had gone in and taken up valuable time of medical professionals but knew it was the right thing to do. The second occasion was similar and only a couple of weeks after the first. This time though, as they used the doppler, baby started moving and I felt instantly better, but very guilty when they took us for a scan anyway, just to double check, and an emergency came in over the phone. I couldn’t help but think we were wasting their time when someone more worthy of their time was waiting. However, the staff quickly reassured us and reminded us that this is just as important. So I’ll finish by saying, do not feel guilty. If your baby’s movement pattern changes, go and get checked out. It could prevent something more serious and at the end of the day, could save a life! You know you and your baby better than anyone!
Other symptoms- feeling out of breath, dizzy spells, backaches, high blood pressure, constipation, haemorrhoids, round ligament pain, and trouble sleeping. Although I have had some of these, none of them (except trouble sleeping!) have been so bad that I even mentioned in my vlog but I’ll touch on them all now.
Feeling out of breath- I’ve had a little bit of this sometimes if I’ve been in one position for a long time, but generally it’ll go as soon as I move. I’ve also noticed I’m a lot more breathless than normal when out walking or exercising but I’ll say a little bit more about this later when I talk about adapting my training.
Dizzy spells- I’ve had a couple of brief dizzy spells but only if I’ve stood up too quickly or have had a sicky day. Nothing I have been concerned about!
Backaches- Only in the last 2 or 3 weeks have I had a bit of a sore back, but again, generally only if I am in one position for any length of time and as soon as I move it eases. I am having to move about a lot to avoid it, which, especially in bed is pretty annoying, but luckily, this isn’t causing any real problems and hopefully it stays that way!
Constipation– I went through a few weeks of feeling so constipated it hurt, then I went through a couple of weeks of having the opposite. So again, other than being a bit annoying, I don’t think I’ve suffered too badly and I’m pleased to report, it definitely hasn’t led to haemorrhoids! Let’s hope that continues…
Round ligament pain- Other than a few episodes of light cramp type pains, I haven’t had this too badly. All very manageable and eased itself. I think on one occasion, around week 15/16, I took pain killers but it didn’t ever last too long!
Trouble sleeping– Can I just change this heading to Insomnia? Wow, this has been a biggie! If you have watched my vlog, you will have seen me yawn a lot and that sums up this trimester. I thought extreme tiredness was more prevalent in trimester 1 but I have struggled! Thankfully it seems to have improved a bit now but for a long time, I’d be going to bed exhausted, falling asleep really quickly to wake up a couple of hours later and be awake for about 4 hours. My normal waking hours became 1am to 5am. I get up for clients at 6am so really not ideal! I tried everything I could; Bach Rescue Remedy, meditation, staying up later, going to bed earlier, reading, staying in bed when I woke, getting up when I woke… nothing really worked and it seems only time has improved things. One good thing is that it taught me to listen to my body; I learned how to nap during the day and not feel guilty if I didn’t achieve a task because I simply couldn’t function. I guess it’s just teaching me the reality of being a mum to a new born and preparing me for the sleepless nights to come, and I know it’s a symptom in trimester 3 but hopefully I’ll manage a few more nights sleep first!
There’s a lot more not listed in the quoted article so I’ll continue below. Grab yourselves a cuppa, I think it’s gonna be a long one!
Hyperemesis Gravidarum/Sickness- The main part of trimester 1 and yes, it continues. I’d love to say that as soon as I got to trimester 2 it stopped but I have had some pretty hellish days. Even as I write this now, I’ve just taken an anti sickness tablet and am sipping away on full fat cola. On a positive note, it has absolutely 100% improved. I have gone from being laid up in bed for days at a time on three types of anti sickness meds to being able to fully function with some intermittent nausea and the very occasional vomit! As trimester 2 progressed, the amount of times I was being sick reduced and the medication seemed to start working. I managed to get back to work and now as long as I always have my anti sickness tablet, I am a fully functioning human! There were a few days as I started to feel better that I actually worried that something was wrong with me or with baby. Sounds ridiculous right? To have such strong symptoms constantly and then all of a sudden feel kind of ‘normal’ made me anxious. Hyperemesis is a condition that doesn’t go away but it has got better for me. I do still stick to my decision though that I’ll need to wait til Bumpie is somewhat independent before I even consider being pregnant again haha! The thought of going through this while looking after a baby or toddler is a scary one!
Thinking my waters have broken– One of the scariest and most worrying days of my life, never mind pregnancy. If you have watched my vlog, you will have seen my ugly tears and complete fear that my waters had broken at 20 weeks. The day after the 20 week scan, I was feeling awful. Really sick and nauseous and the tablets weren’t working. It was a bad day and very early morning, I knew it was going to be one of those days where I didn’t achieve much and I was ok with that. What I didn’t expect though was while I was being violently sick for about the third time that morning, a gush of fluid would leak onto the floor beneath me. Without going into it too much, it didn’t look or smell like wee and I’ve never had any problems with my bladder control, other than needing to go every 30 minutes now! I called Mat at work in a right state before calling my Mum and then ante natal triage who told me to use a pad to monitor fluid and call back in an hour if there had been any more. I was so worried my waters had broken and I’d experienced PPROM, but luckily there was no more fluid and the midwifes didn’t seem to concerned. They asked me to monitor it at home but explained that sudden discharge or urination as a result of being so sick was quite common. I was glad they thought everything was ok but couldn’t help remain worried and anxious about what that could have meant. From that moment, the love and bond I developed from Bumpie just grew and grew and I’m so grateful that everything turned out to be ok. Preterm, premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) is the premature rupture of the amniotic sac and can lead to severe infection and increased likelihood of premature birth and occurs in around 3% of pregnancies.
Ever growing breasts- They are less tender and a lot happier to be touched, but the bras that I had to re- mortgage for in trimester 1 do not fit. Just like the maternity clothes, do not spend lots of money on nice bras, because regardless of what anyone says, your boobs will continue to grow during trimester 2!
Baby brain- This is a real phenomenon. I won’t go into too much detail but let’s just say there have been a number of ‘episodes’. Being more forgetful, clumsier and a failing sense of time is just part of it. Forgetting to put a tea bag in Mat’s tea, giving him a flask of cold soup for his lunch or putting fresh orange in my coffee are the reality!
Cravings– Throughout the pregnancy, I’ve had a few spontaneous cravings, but they haven’t really been consistent. This has resulted in 56 Dib Dabs being delivered, me eating 3 and the rest sitting in the cupboard (anyone for sherbet!?), a massive bag of carrots being bought from Tesco, for me to eat 2 raw and the rest be turned into soup and a selection of Fry’s creams which Mat ended up eating! The only consistent one is fresh orange juice, to the point that I cannot get enough of. I’ve had to put a limit on it due to the amount of sugar, otherwise I’d be drinking 2l a day. I thought I may be lacking vitamin C or other nutrients, but aside an increase in chocolate, my diet is pretty well balanced just now and all my blood tests have been spot on so there’s no real reason other than it is the best taste in the world. Think I’ll go buy some shares in Tropicanna!
On a similar note, I need to mention coffee. I went completely off this in trimester 1 and for anyone who knows me, you’ll be as shocked as I was. However, this trimester has seen my love reignited and although it’s now decaf only, there’s no better taste than that coffee first thing in the morning! Roll on being able to have caffeine again though!
Acne- Not much to say on this one other than my skin has endured it’s own rollercoaster this trimester. Some weeks my skin is great, others, I have Mount Vesuvius erupting or a cluster of spots requiring their own post code! Aren’t hormones wonderful!?
Heartburn– Not something I have EVER had in my life before but wow, it’s real. There doesn’t seem to be any link to what I’m eating or drinking but it will just randomly strike and stay with me for hours. Gaviscon made me extremely sick (I think I was just having a sicky day and it put me off!) so I’m trying to get by on Rennies. Any suggestions would be most appreciated!
Extreme itchiness- Apparently totally normal as your bump grows and skin stretches. I’m not convinced that I should have had itchy bump, bum, thighs and genitals constantly for a week though!? For a few days I walked about naked under my dressing gown, lathered in coconut oil, taking any anti-histamine I was allowed and trying not to claw my skin off! I washed all my clothes just in case I’d developed a reaction to the washing products, but I still don’t know what caused this and it settled down again soon after. I do still get periods of itching, just around my bump but definitely not to that extreme! There is a disorder called Obstetric Cholestasis which affects your liver during pregnancy and causes extreme itchiness, but I was tested for this and didn’t have it. If you have extreme itching, it could be worth getting this checked!
Adapting training- I’ve written a separate blog on Training in Pregnancy so I won’t go into too much depth here other than say, all of a sudden, like in the space of a few days, I felt very pregnant and had to make some big adaptations to the intensity and duration of my workouts! I’m so grateful that I am still able to exercise and I am still enjoying it!
Intimate waxing– You may remember me describing this in trimester 1 as a brutal attack. At 9 weeks pregnant, it really was. However, I have since had this done twice again, and I can safely say it was fine. If you’re not great with waxing anyway, don’t think pregnancy will suddenly solve all your pain problems, but I can safely say, trimester 2 is way easier than trimester 1 and I even managed to get all the hair removed!
Illness- Seems to be escalated in pregnancy. Probably down to our reduced immune systems but I can confirm that having a cold is pretty brutal when you’re pregnant! Nothing more than a simple head cold but I was wiped for a good three days. Lacking energy, feeling weak and just generally took way more out of me than a cold ever would. I had no choice but to listen to my body, rest and recover. I also had what I think was a sickness bug which although you’d think I would be used to dealing with sickness at this point, left me feeling completely wiped too! It took about a week to recover fully from this, I didn’t train, I didn’t work and I wasn’t eating properly. If you get ill in pregnancy, remember that your body is fighting for two and it will affect you more than usual. Listen to your body and be kind to yourself!
Feeling full- After not having much of an appetite in the first trimester, one of the best things about this one is my love of food! I’m eating well and just the feeling of actually wanting to eat is great. However, towards the end of trimester 2, I’m struggling to eat much. I’ll be desperate for a certain meal, get it and then only manage about a third. I just feel like there isn’t much space in there. That’s ok normally but when you have to make a decision between another slice of roast beef or the last yorkshire pudding in your Sunday roast, it’s a tad disappointing. Eating little and often has become the only way to do it and my portions are probably just like Bumpie’s will be when we start weaning!
Stretch marks– Not something I have any more of than before but something I’ve been asked about a lot. I have been using Mama Mio products to try and prevent them but it’s hard to tell if they work or if I have just been lucky so far. It’s not something I am too bothered about; I guess it’s part of the process of growing a human. They may appear during this trimester or even post partum but I’m ok with that. If you’re worried, keep hydrated, moisturise regularly and try and remember they are completely normal! I have some from pre pregnancy and I’ve just embraced them!
Spending and Nesting- We made a few big purchases this trimester. The nursery is underway with furniture arriving next week, Bumpie has more new clothes than me and thanks to our generous families, we have the pram and car seat too! It gets so exciting when you see all the little person things in one place! I’m definitely in full on nesting mode. Everything I have ever wanted doing in the house is happening and I’m cleaning more than ever. I got excited about a new tumble dryer and clothes pulley, a new vacuum cleaner and have become a DIY lover; painting the bathroom and the ensuite, helping Mat make TV units and light fittings and hanging picture frames and mirrors that have been in the spare room since we moved in! The big thing though is that I have turned into a crafter. I am the least creative, artistic person ever but for some very unknown reason I have a new hobby. I’m making a garland for Bumpie’s room, I’ve made no end of Christmas decorations and I’m knitting a hat! What has happened to me!?
So there we have it. Another honest reality of pregnancy. The highlights for this trimester- feeling Bumpie move and feeling less sick but the biggest thing of all… the realisation that when I get to the end of this trimester, when I edit the Trimester 3 vlog or write the Trimester 3 blog; Mat and I will be parents. We will have a tiny human to look after! It’s safe to say, shit just got real but oh my goodness, we are so, so excited!
Please get in touch if anyone has any feedback and thank you so much for reading!
Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
Exercise in Pregnancy
October Workout 11
Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
October Workout 10
Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
For me, trimester 1 is done! Complete! Finished! Ended! I’d love to say I nailed it, but instead I’ll go with I made it!
I’d also love to say that the trimester 1 symptoms are gone and that they were exactly like we read in books, but what’s not often spoken about is the severity and the reality of some of the symptoms and the fact that they don’t just go away when you get to 12 weeks. (That part’s a story for the Trimester 2 blog!) So I’m going to delve into my Trimester 1- you can watch my video diaries here or you can read on for an honest account of my first 12 weeks including all the things that nobody ever warns you about…
One of 8 😛
Let’s start with the facts…
Trimester 1: The first trimester begins on the first day of your last period and lasts until the end of week 12. This means that by the time you know for sure you’re pregnant, you might already be five or six weeks pregnant!
A lot happens during these first three months. The fertilised egg rapidly divides into layers of cells and implants in the wall of your womb where it carries on growing. These layers of cells become an embryo, which is what the baby is called at this stage.
During this trimester, your baby grows faster than at any other time. By six weeks, a heartbeat can usually be heard and by the end of week 12, your baby’s bones, muscles and all the organs of the body have formed. At this point, your baby looks like a tiny human being and is now called a fetus. He or she will even be practising swallowing! (Tommys, 2018)
First Trimester Symptoms (Pampers, 2019)
The symptoms you experience in the first trimester can vary from week to week. Also, the symptoms you experience during this pregnancy might differ from what you experienced in a previous pregnancy.
Here are some of the most common symptoms you might encounter during this trimester:
- Tender breasts. In the early part of your pregnancy, pregnancy hormones could be making your breasts heavier, and a little sore or tender. You could also experience a tingling sensation. With all that extra blood to carry around your body, your veins may be more visible through your skin. Meanwhile, those hormones may also make your skin, moles and birthmarks or your nipples a little darker. Most of these changes gradually fade away after birth, although your nipples may stay be a little darker than before.
- Feeling tired or exhausted is particularly common in the first trimester, as your hormones go into overdrive. The best thing you can do is get plenty of rest. Keeping to a healthy diet and doing gentle exercise might also help you feel better. Your doctor or midwife can give you personalised advice on the kind of pregnancy diet to follow to suit your calorie and nutritional needs, and what exercises are safe for you to do at this time.
- Implantation bleeding. After conception, as the fertilised egg burrows into the lining of your uterus, you may experience some light cramping and spotting. This is more likely to occur around the time of your first missed period. Although, implantation bleeding is nothing to worry about, it’s always safest to get in touch with your doctor if notice any bleeding during your pregnancy.
- The queasiness (and sometimes vomiting) known as morning sickness usually appears in the first trimester. Contrary to its name, though, it doesn’t strike only in the mornings! Try to think of morning sickness as a reassuring reminder that you are pregnant. You might be able to ease some of the symptoms with a few lifestyle changes, like avoiding food or smells that trigger your nausea, and eating smaller, more frequent meals of plain, low fat foods. You may find cold foods easier to stomach than hot meals. Food or drink that contains ginger may also help take the edge of your queasiness, but ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist before taking ginger supplements.
- Frequent urination. The hormonal changes you experience in the first trimester may result in your needing to pee more often than usual in the first trimester of pregnancy. Don’t drink less water, because it’s important to stay hydrated. Instead, you might just need to plan ahead a little more to ensure you always have a loo nearby.
- Thicker, shinier hair. Some mums-to-be find that the extra oestrogen coursing around their bodies makes their hair more luxuriant in the first trimester. This could be one of the more welcome symptoms of pregnancy!
- Hormonal acne. An increase in oil production triggered by hormones can clog pores and lead to acne in some mums-to-be.
- Cravings. It’s not unusual to have hankerings for strange foods when you’re pregnant. Or you may find that you suddenly can’t stomach items that you used to enjoy eating or drinking. It’s usually fine to give in to cravings from time to time, as long as you keep to a healthy diet overall. If you start to crave any non-food items like dirt or coal, tell your doctor or midwife straight away. This could be a sign of an iron deficiency known as pica, which can be dangerous if it isn’t treated straight away. Read more about how to get the right amount of iron and calcium (another important mineral) in your diet.
I can confirm that all of the above, except for the implantation bleeding (not everyone experiences this and because I didn’t, I won’t be discussing!) happened to me during Trimester 1 and I’m going to tell you all about it now.
Just before an early scan!
Tender Breasts: “Pregnancy hormones could be making your breasts heavier, and a little sore or tender.” What this actually means is that pregnancy hormones make your breasts feel like boulders, it hurts to put a bra on or to turn over in bed and your partner touching them is a thing of the past. Running or jumping is no longer an activity that is safe or healthy and you will spend a fortune on bras that are still unlikely to fit.
They were the reason I decided to take a pregnancy test. I’d only been off the mini pill for a matter of weeks and hadn’t had a period when my boobs started to ache so bad that I was waking up in the night every time I moved. I thought maybe my period was due but this was tender breasts like never before and even washing them whilst showering was difficult. We found out we were pregnant, much to our surprise while only about 2 weeks and I think I only made it to 4 and a half before ordering some unflattering maternity sleep bras to keep them in place in bed. Not long after that, my sports bras were digging in and well, a ‘normal’ bra (rare for me anyway!) was an impossible task. I took some measurements, spent a small fortune and for the next seven weeks, the boulders had holders that were supportive. Unfortunately though, now at 13.5 weeks, it’s time to do all this again. The pain and tenderness has gone and I’m getting used to my fried eggs to melons transformation, but I am spilling out of all those bras as they continue to grow. Time to re-mortgage I think so my new found friends have somewhere safe to live again!
Fatigue: “Feeling tired or exhausted is particularly common in the first trimester, as your hormones go into overdrive.” This one is pretty accurate. An overwhelming tiredness that leads to irritability and discomfort caused by the hormone changes, I’m sure, but also due to the fact that no matter how tired you are, you just cannot seem to sleep!
I’ve never been a napper. Even after long haul flights or weekends at festivals, I’d manage through the tiredness, keeping myself busy ‘til bedtime. I’ve never felt the need and never really wanted to try. Until now! The fatigue started around 5 weeks and hasn’t gone away. It hits like a tonne of bricks at any time of the day with no warning. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you have planned, those hormones like to remind you with a bit of a bang that they are still working. Black bags under my eyes are now just part of my look and mixing up my words and forgetting things, although now I feel I can blame baby brain, were pretty regular occurrences. I’ve had to teach myself how to nap, and how to slow down. The evenings have been tough. I’d get comfy on the sofa after my shower and no sooner had I sat down was I up and down, lying on the floor, swapping spaces with Mat just to try and get comfy. The tiredness would hit and most nights up until about 3 weeks ago, I was in bed for about 9pm!
I’ll do another post on training during trimester 1 but the term ‘listen to your body’ is key. All of a sudden my ‘max effort’ or ‘full capacity’ felt like it had halved. My resting heart rate increased and during exercise, my heart rate easily reaching my usual ‘working heart rate’ simply during the warm up. It’s been very much about adapting and going with the flow. I’ve trained less in the last 12 weeks than I ever have in my life. I thought I’d struggle to accept that but I guess I know I’m ‘training’ for a way bigger event than I ever have too so working out less frequently, lifting lighter or moving slower is ok.
After one of my first workouts since being pregnant!
Nausea: The queasiness (and sometimes vomiting) known as morning sickness usually appears in the first trimester. Contrary to its name, though, it doesn’t strike only in the mornings! You don’t say! This for me did strike in the mornings but unfortunately for most days, lasted ‘til at least mid afternoon, sometimes later! The other unfortunate thing here is the title. For me it should read Sickness with Nausea in between.
I started feeling nauseous around 4 weeks. Earlier than most, I believe, and at that stage, made us question whether we might be having twins. (There are two sets of twins in Mat’s direct family so it was a high possibility but an early scan, which I’ll talk about later, confirmed only one!) I wasn’t physically sick until about 5 and a half weeks, and oh how I wish I hadn’t moaned about the nausea at 4! This started with morning sickness; feeling like I was going to vomit the minute I opened my eyes in the morning, followed by around twenty minutes of constant retching before finally being sick and whatever I’d managed to put in my mouth between retches coming straight back up again. In the earlier stages, sometimes I’d be ok once I’d had something to eat; other days I was lulled into a false sense of security and would be at work, often having to make an excuse to clients to run inside for something mid session, having a quick vom, a ginger snap and heading back outside to continue their session. Other days, the nausea and vomiting would last all day long with most days being sick around 8 times every morning and often upto another 8 times over the course of the day. Some days I’d think I was doing well, only being sick in the morning then feeling good, but a smell could change all of that, making me sick again and changing my whole day. Toast, crackers, biscuits and potatoes were all I could stomach (along with some random foods which I’ll discuss under cravings) and meal times were becoming an issue. Around 6 and a half weeks, I got really dizzy, my blood pressure was on the floor and I was extremely dehydrated. A bit of scare which resulted in me on the bathroom floor, calling Mat who was outside resulted in a call to the GP and the first warning of hospital admission. At that point, the doctor diagnosed me over the phone with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), which is a condition that affects around 1-3 in every hundred pregnant women. If you want to read more on this check out NHS information here. I was prescribed my first lot of anti sickness medication, which Mat immediately went to collect and was told if I hadn’t managed to consume a certain amount of liquids by that evening, they would like to admit me for monitoring, stronger anti sickness meds and fluids via IV drip. This wasn’t something I really wanted, given that the NHS was just opening back up after the global pandemic so I did everything I could to keep those liquids in and managed (just!) to avoid it.
Full fat, flat coke (my hangover cure) were the fluids of choice; I’m sure not what they would have advised given the lack of nutritional value and caffeine content (around half of the recommended caffeine allowance in pregnancy) but it worked, and has continued to work for me since. Ginger snaps in a tub by my bed help and I have a couple the minute I open my eyes. Then whenever I make it downstairs after the series of retching and vomits, a slice of white bread toasted, with honey and a can of Cola along with an anti sickness tablet would determine how my day would go. If the toast and cola stayed down, it was/is (I’m still doing this!) it would be a good day.
Around week 7, I was prescribed a second type of anti sickness which I was to take along side the first one. This helped a bit, but by the end of week 8 (what is often described as peak week), I was sofa or bed bound most days, clients and sessions were cancelled and the threat of admission was looming once again. A third anti sickness drug was prescribed and the combination of all three meant I was able to have some good days where I could do more than lie on the sofa and run to the bathroom. I even managed to introduce some vegetables and although my diary now started at 1pm, I could work most days.
I haven’t enjoyed pregnancy because of this and if you are in a similar position, or know someone who is, do something about it! Get help. I think I am over the worst of this now but I am still being sick most days and surviving on a very limited diet and a combination of anti sickness tablets. I’m not sure if I have HG or just bad sickness, but it definitely hasn’t been easy. Now I’m not taking anything for granted. Craving carrots or broccoli= WIN! Hoovering my house = WIN! Going for a walk = WIN! Showering, getting dressed and applying mascara = WIN!
Eating biscuits in bed is now normal!
Frequent Urination: The hormonal changes you experience in the first trimester may result in your needing to pee more often than usual in the first trimester of pregnancy. This really means, ordering a SheWee and a urinal bottle and using it in the back of the car or van. It could also mean family and friends questioning you after using their bathroom twice an hour. Or dropping your belongings at the front door so you could run in and wee with the bathroom and front door wide open.
This was worse at the start of Trimester 1 and has eased a lot now but wasn’t easy to manage mid pandemic when many public toilets are still closed! There’s not really much more to say about this other than now planning my days around toilet stops!
Thicker, Shinier Hair: Some mums-to-be find that the extra oestrogen coursing around their bodies makes their hair more luxuriant in the first trimester. This was also the case. However, for someone who’s hair is already pretty thick, this has resulted in a few bottles of plughole unblocker for the shower.
The statement also refers to or is read by most as the hair on your head. What I will tell you however, is that this affects all of the hair on your body. Pre lockdown, I was getting IPL (laser hair removal). I had only had a couple of sessions but it was working really well, and by now, if it wasn’t for lockdown and not being allowed these treatments while pregnant; my legs, underarms and intimate area should have been silky smooth. Now, 13 weeks pregnant, I have two simple choices. Shave every single day, or, turn into a gorilla. When the beauty therapists opened back up a few weeks ago, I decided I would go back to waxing. I used to get waxed regularly, and although I disliked having to grow the hair long enough, I never had any problems. I managed with the pain and I’d go as far as saying it really didn’t phase me.
I can confirm that waxing in Trimester 1 is unlike any other waxing experience I have ever had. I always thought I would be one of those people who were neat, tidy and smooth down below for labour and the thought of anything otherwise, genuinely made me cringe. I can now safely say, however, that if I’m so big that I cannot shave myself, and Mat isn’t willing to do the deed, I will quite confidently and happily present myself in the labour ward hairy. The pain! That wax was like a brutal attack; it made me clench my fists, I was sweating, I almost kicked the therapist in the chest and I left with only half of the hair removed. This is your warning ladies- do not attempt an intimate wax in late Trimester 1. It is not worth it. I am however, keen to establish if it does get any better during Trimester 2 or 3, as although I’m saying I’ll confidently deliver my baby looking like a gorilla, I know I am not actually that confident and would much prefer to be silky smooth. I am not going to find out for myself though so if there are any ladies in Trimester 2 or 3 who have had a wax and not had to come home and sit in an ice bath, please shout!
Hormonal acne: An increase in oil production triggered by hormones can clog pores and lead to acne in some mums-to-be. I don’t really have much to say on this. I had skin that looked like it’s teenage self for a few weeks but a change in skin care seemed to help. I’ve always been prone to breakouts and pre pregnancy was following a really good skincare regime after seeking advise from a specialist last year. Unfortunately, most of these products contained ingredients not safe in pregnancy and so after a bit of research, found a new love for the brand Tropics. I will post later about pregnancy skin care and share what is working for me!
Cravings: It’s not unusual to have hankerings for strange foods when you’re pregnant. Or you may find that you suddenly can’t stomach items that you used to enjoy eating or drinking. Thankfully, I haven’t had any strange cravings. You hear about some people eating coal or chalk, or deciding they suddenly love liver, but for me it’s been a bit of survival mode on my standard diet of beige carbs with whatever I’ve fancied in between.
I haven’t had a coffee in about 8 weeks and although I still love the smell, the thought of drinking it makes me nauseous. That’s a huge deal for someone who normally survives on it! The other odd thing I’m not really feeling is cheese. Normally, cheese is life. As there are so many cheeses which aren’t safe to eat during pregnancy it was something I was pretty worried about. I’ve been known to have cheese as part of every meal and snack. Other than a bit of halloumi and an even smaller amount of cheddar, I just haven’t felt like it one bit. I do hope that soon I grow to love them again as I really can’t imagine a life without my two favourite C’s!
I’ve been a bit up and down in terms of what I’ve fancied throughout this trimester. To the point that for a while, spending over £80 on foods I ‘might want’ was pretty normal. Mat struggled to get it right too, often returning from the shop with my favourite snacks (Ben and Jerry’s and Reeces to name a few) for me to tell him I didn’t like them. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I wanted salt and vinegar crisps. I couldn’t get enough of them! Then one night, Mat had a packet sat next to me on the sofa and I had to tell him to leave the room, I then left the room to be sick and I haven’t been able to be anywhere near salt and vinegar crisps since. I also went through a phase of having tinned pears on a daily basis, another thing I’m not fussed for now and there was an incident with an Indian takeaway that has resulted in me questioning whether or not I will ever eat a curry again. I’d had a ‘good’ day around week 8 and decided I wanted an Indian takeaway, something that I loved before. In fact, we’d make two curries a week for dinner pretty regularly. Anyway, I devoured this takeaway but at around 11pm, I woke up and was instantly sick. This sickness bout lasted all night and all day and the thought of anything remotely like this, still to this day makes me want to be sick.
I’ll finish this section by saying, if you or someone you know is suffering from sickness in pregnancy, eat whatever you want. Don’t worry about nutrition, just go with it and eat whatever you can stomach and keep down that day. If it changes daily, find something else you might want. Don’t fight it. Eventually, you will be able to add some ‘goodness’ back in and enjoy food again. I’m making slow progress but I’m definitely eating more of a variety now than I was 4 weeks ago!
So that’s the things people talk about in more detail than it’s normally discussed. There’s a couple of extras though that I’m adding in that really got me thinking; bowel movements and keeping pregnancy a secret. Let’s go:
Bowel movements: Probably a controversial talking point at the best of times and during pregnancy it’s no different. It’s apparently normal for pregnant women to experience constipation. It’s less common, but still relatively normal for pregnant women to experience diarrhoea. (NHS, 2020)
I got both. Yes, every day without fail, in between retching or vomiting, I had diarrhoea with very little warning. There’s really no need to go into any detail here, but for those of you who’ve asked why we haven’t been out enjoying our new campervan since we got it, there really is only one place to be if you’re having sickness and diarrhoea and that isn’t a PortaPotty or a communal campsite bathroom.
So that’s my morning routine covered, I was also lucky enough to experience the other end of the poop scale, albeit thankfully, not regularly. There were numerous evenings mid trimester 1 where I’d be rolling about the living room floor, eating copious amounts of fruit salad and Googling how to treat constipation. This isn’t something I’ve been bothered with much, but I can confirm it hurts, it is uncomfortable and it didn’t ease easily.
Thankfully, I’m now a lot better in both areas. I guess the re-introduction to non beige carbs and the sickness easing a bit is helping but after this pregnancy, let’s just say I won’t ever take my stomach of steel for granted again!
Keeping pregnancy a secret: Hiding all of the above has got to be the hardest part of the first trimester. We traditionally keep it a secret until after the twelve week scan to make sure everything is ok, which I understand, however, I also think it’s very beneficial to tell close family and friends in advance of this because let’s face it, if everything wasn’t ok, you’d probably welcome their love and support. In addition to close family and a couple of friends, by around week 4 of my pregnancy, my skin specialist, my personal trainer and my business coach all knew. By around week 8, my beautician, my hairdresser and a couple of clients knew. (My hair cut and colour, the dreadful wax and my lack of energy in training sessions were all important to me!)
Not only was I struggling to hide my vomiting and frequent urination, I was expanding rapidly. I should have mentioned; I went up 3 bra sizes and 8 cm in a matter of weeks, but for someone who had a pretty flat stomach, the growing bump (or bread bloat as it was in the early weeks) meant clothes weren’t fitting properly anywhere. I was wearing Mat’s clothes to work, his pyjamas to chill and the thought of finding something to wear for upcoming events was causing me stress. My car was like Postman Pat’s van with the number of parcels I got delivered and then had to return in an attempt to find something to wear for a garden party hen day. My normal clothes wouldn’t button up, the size bigger I had ordered in advance was now gaping open and the next size up fitted around my chest and midline but was hanging off my shoulders. I turned to maternity options, (which I will write another post on I’m sure) but there is nothing in my usual style and I felt like I looked pregnant. I ended up telling a few of the girls I would be with before the event, at around 11 weeks (5 days before my scan) because my alternative was genuinely making a rubbish excuse and not going.
Maybe it’s easier to hide for some or maybe my hormones and lack of sleep and nutrition made me over think things, but I can honestly say, the relief at 12 weeks when we found out everything was ok and we could share our news was real! What felt like the biggest and hardest secret ever to keep was out in the open! The best thing about this though, being able to finally talk about how I feel. That was the hardest part; going through this and not being able to really tell anyone how I actually felt.
My girls and I after me telling them my news at 11 weeks weeks and eventually finding something to wear for this hen day!
So that’s it. The longest blog post I have ever written but by far the most honest. This wasn’t written to scare anyone off becoming pregnant, it wasn’t written for sympathy. Instead, it was written to highlight the reality of what a lot of women unfortunately go through. The best thing about writing it though; being able to talk openly.
I’ve been honest; I haven’t enjoyed the first trimester but it certainly hasn’t all been bad. There have been some fun times, some memorable times and some ‘pinch yourself’ moments. I’ve moaned a lot (sorry Mat, Mum and sister!) but all the while I’ve remembered the good that is going to come from this. All of this; the good, the bad, the ugly and all the things that nobody ever talks about has been absolutely worth it! Our baby isn’t even here yet and I’m sure I still have a bit of a journey before he or she arrives, but the love I feel for our little baby bear, my wee bumpie is indescribable. We cannot wait to become parents, to start the next chapter of our lives as a family and bring our little one up surrounded by love and happiness.
Now, Trimester 2; if you wouldn’t mind being a wee bit kinder to me and show me where to find that pregnancy glow everyone speaks about, I’d be very grateful!
Thank you so much for reading,
The team is expanding!
Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
Exercise in Pregnancy
October Workout 11
Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
October Workout 10
Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3