nutrition for pregnancy

My First Trimester

So if you didn't know yet, now you know, we're pregnant!

In this post I will try to sum up how my experience has been throughout my first trimester. I think it's important to note that this my experience only and I don't want to project any experiences, positive or negative, onto others who may also be in their first trimester.

Hiking up to Poo Poo Point at 13 weeks. Those 8 miles were a lot harder than I remembered. An extra 9lbs. makes a difference!

Hiking up to Poo Poo Point at 13 weeks. Those 8 miles were a lot harder than I remembered. An extra 9lbs. makes a difference!

Weeks 1-4

I had quite the dilemma this March because as a Baha'i, we Fast from sunrise to sunset for 19 days in preparation for the New Year (Naw Ruz). For more on that, read my post here. However, my nutritionist-self knew that it would be very unlikely to be able to ovulate if I were fasting. Since being "with child" is an exclusion to Fasting in the Baha'i Faith, I prayed and decided that "bringing forth one who will make mention of Him" will take a higher priority than continuing with the Fast. This is my own personal decision and interpretation of the Baha'i Writings.

So I fasted for the first week of those 19 days. Expecting that my "normal" ovulation day would be a few days late, I decided to stop my fast to give my physiology some time to reset. However, as I expected, my ovulation was delayed by about a week! Which goes to show how important proper nourishment is for a healthy cycle!! Though, once my body sensed it was in a "safe place" with adequate nutrients and calories to sustain a baby, it was go time ;).

I experienced my first pregnancy symptom only 4 days after I ovulated! Coincidentally (or was it?), I first became nauseous upon getting in the car on our way to the Naw Ruz party. I was obnoxiously burping to give myself some relief. My whole life I've easily gotten nauseous especially when in the car, but this seemed different. I tried not to think too much of it, thinking it was WAY too soon to have any signs just yet.

On Day 28 of my cycle, about 6 days after ovulation, I experienced a very unusual uterine pain, very unlike menstrual cramps. It was as if there was a sharp tugging in the wall of my uterus. It happened again the next day and I instantly knew that I was experiencing "implantation", where the fertilized egg implants into the wall of the uterus. This was also confirmed by a slight drop in BBT (basal body temperature). At this point, I was both excited and fascinated that I was feeling the whole process! I suppose being very in-tune with your body does pay off. How amazing is the human body?! The following 3 days, I experienced quite severe nausea, night sweats, frequent urination, and sore breasts.

Circled is the "implantation dip" in basal body temperature (BBT)

Circled is the "implantation dip" in basal body temperature (BBT)

Weeks 5 and 6

During these days I began waking up several times throughout the night and being wide awake and energized by 4:30 am (much earlier than my regular 6:30). Thinking about the possibilities of why I might be awake, I decided to consider hunger as an option. Ding ding ding! Though I didn't feel hungry per say, I realized it was my cortisol keeping me awake (which is a hormone that goes up when the body needs food).  So I started keeping some almond butter with fresh fruit or bulletproof bars by my bed. Each food I had was equivalent to a particular duration of sleep that I would get from eating that food. Once I figured this out, I slept really well but am still getting used to "nightly feedings".

If I wait longer than 3 hours to eat, I am hit with some nausea but as long as I'm eating (protein, specifically) frequently, then I'm just fine. My husband gave me a ginger tincture to ward off the nausea if I haven't had a chance to eat. The regularity of meals reminds me of when I was vegetarian, eating every hour but never feeling satiated. Now, I feel satiated because my meals are well-balanced but for a while I felt like I needed to eat so often to prevent the nausea. It's important to note that the increased frequency of meals didn't really mean I was overall eating more. My meals were just smaller than they were pre-pregnancy.

I gained 6 lb. in one week! My guess is that the increased blood volume and breast size are responsible since I didn't notice any additional body fat. This was the only weight I gained throughout the first trimester.

I feel energized in workouts but my body is definitely letting me know (with instant nausea) if I've been pushing a little too hard. I've developed an understanding of how hard I can push in workouts and still feel good afterward.

Weeks 7-12

I've suddenly had to change my sleep hours. Staying up passed 10 pm is no longer an option. Some nights I would nap on the couch from 8-10 then head to bed or sometimes would just head straight to bed soon after dinner and always be asleep before 10. Gone are the occasional late night get-togethers with friends, sleep is now a priority.

Though needing to shift my sleeping hours, I've still felt that I've had stable energy throughout the day without compromising my focus at work or energy in my workouts.

During these weeks, I had the most "cases" of food aversions. Though not terrible, occasionally fried eggs or ground meats have smelled too strong for me and caused instant nausea. Surprisingly sardines, steak and liver have been fine!

Overall, my experience through the first trimester was quite pleasant. I can't really complain about much. Eating more often and using the bathroom more often seemed to be the most significant changes for me. I expected at least some nausea and had less than I expected and I was surprised that I didn't even vomit once! It turns out all the detoxification I did beforehand paid off! Stay tuned for a future post regarding how I've been caring for myself (specifics on diet, workouts, etc.) throughout my pregnancy. I know I've been getting lots of questions about how I've navigated my first trimester so I hope this is helpful for some of you.

My biggest surprise throughout this experience has been the fascination with witnessing the growth of a child that I have no physical input on. Yes, I'm kind of like the refrigerator, providing all of the necessary ingredients for creating a masterpiece, but God is the ultimate Creator and He is the Chef in this kitchen. I will pleasantly stand by and experience His miraculous Creation.