If you’ve never been pregnant or are in the very early stages, you’ll likely be feeling slightly overwhelmed at the sheer volume of information that’s available from apps, the internet, and the well-meaning mums that want to fill you up with anecdotal evidence of what to expect when you’re expecting.
We sat down with naturopath and nutritionist, Jess Blair from Wellness by Blair to get the low down on navigating each of the trimesters; from symptoms and body changes to how to maximise your health during such a transformative time.
Please note: Every pregnancy is different and can be challenging in many ways. Always seek professional advice from your health care professional.
You may feel tired, lethargic, intensely hungry or experience morning (or all day!) sickness during the first trimester.
HCG rises sharply in the first trimester, so emotions can be heightened during this period. The hormones much needed for the baby can be sometimes hard for the mother to take and lead to feelings of fatigue, worry and sensitivity.
It is safe to train in the first trimester, but make sure you listen to your body and your healthcare professional. Make sure you are not overheating, that you stay well hydrated and are resting where needed. Some exercises that are great for the first trimester include Pilates, yoga, walking, swimming and weight training.
During the first trimester food aversions may come into play. Try eating smaller meals rich with a variety of nutrients. You’ll also be adjusting to swerving the ‘danger foods’ in pregnancy that should be avoided throughout every trimester; including unpasteurised soft cheeses, certain cold meats, undercooked raw meats and fish.
While pregnancy can be super exciting, it also is known to be a time of psychological and physical challenges. From pregnancy anxiety, stressing and worrying to excitement and joy, it is important to establish a good support network from beginning to end of your pregnancy and beyond! Making sure you are sleeping enough, staying hydrated and discussing any concerns with a professional and your support network, whether that be your partner, friends, or family is fundamental to your wellbeing in the first trimester.
You may start to show in the second trimester and hopefully the fatigue and nausea has subsided (halle-freakin-lujah!). Many women claim to feel energetic in the second trimester in comparison to the first. You may also start to feel your baby moving, and you’ll likely start to tell everyone your happy news!
During this time is often where energy is coming back, fatigue may be decreasing and overall happiness and excitement about your impending arrival is surging. The raging hormones you experienced in the first trimester should even out during the second, and most women experience a honeymoon period during this time.
It is safe to continue what you have been doing in your first trimester if all clear by your healthcare professional. As your belly grows, it is important to make sure you are protecting your back during all exercises. Obviously, anything that may lead you to overheat, and with a risk of falling should be avoided, and remember to be kind to your new body and its new limits!
A whole foods diet that is packed with calcium, Vitamin D, protein, iron, omegas and Vitamin A, is needed for baby to develop well. These foods can be found in an array of vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
Make sure that you are not overdoing it even if you feel like you’re thriving. Growing a baby is hard work, and you should absolutely prioritise rest where you can.
During the last trimester, the baby is growing rapidly and you may experience fatigue, stretch marks, heartburn, muscle cramps, difficulty sleeping, increasing need to urinate and Braxton hicks.
Excitement and impatience will be at an all-time high in anticipation for the new baby’s arrival! It’s also normal to feel worried about labour however, so leaning on your professional support team during this time is crucial for your emotional wellbeing.
While you can continue to exercise if you feel well enough, make sure you’re not overdoing it and are getting plenty of rest (after all—you’ll need it after the baby arrives!).
The nutrients needed for this trimester include calcium to help build bones and teeth in your baby. Iron, protein and folate should also be your food focus during the last trimester.
Making sure you’ve got a great support network, including your family, midwives, doctors, friends and other health care professionals is crucial to seeing you through these final stages of pregnancy and to the start of life as a new mama!