The Good, the Bad, and the Carbs of My First Trimester
Long before I even wanted to be pregnant, I’ve always enjoyed reading about other people’s pregnancy experiences and how their lives and habits changed because of them. I will say upfront that I do not write this point from the standpoint of being a medical professional, an expert on pregnancy (LOL), or anything of the like. I just wanted to share my first trimester with the world and answer your all’s most asked questions from my Instagram! So, here goes:
How long did it take you to conceive, and how did you tell loved ones the news?
If you read the post I published recently about my miscarriage, you’ll know that I conceived 2 months in a row. Once by accident, once on purpose. I know that is a tough pill to swallow for anyone who has been trying for months or even years to conceive, and it breaks my heart. None of us will ever know why our fertility journey is what it is, but I will say that I do believe a few things I did helped me conceive quickly, from a nutrition and functional medicine perspective. I’ve never been on any form of hormonal birth control, I’ve eaten in a way for years to balance my hormones and cycle, and I was also using essential oils that contribute to positive hormone balance. I’m not saying these are “the only” reasons, but I do believe they worked in my favor.
As far as telling loved ones, Ross, my mom, and my friends Danielle and Emily got the short end of the stick. They had known about the miscarriage, so they all received panicked calls or texts about my positive pregnancy test the second go around. After a couple of weeks, I got more creative telling other members of my family and friends, and I would typically call them and say something totally out of the blue to throw them off guard. There were a LOT of screams, happy tears, and genuinely shocked reactions. If you missed the video of how I told my staff on Instagram, check it out under the baby highlight - it’s hilarious.
Tips for staying sane while trying for a baby.
I fully realize that I was only “trying” for one cycle, which doesn’t even tough the emotional exhaustion that people who have been trying for years experience. I was using my Ava bracelet, and I’ve tracked my cycle for years, so that was hugely helpful to know when I was ovulating (and it was spot on). But because of the miscarriage, I definitely approached that month with terror. I tried to have fun and be lighthearted, but all I could see was a future journey plagued with loss and heartache. To help deal with the stress, I shared that I was trying with a few close friends that would support and pray for me, I clung to my faith, and I did my best to avoid living in the fear that I would miscarry again or never be able to conceive a healthy baby. To be honest, I faced more of those fears when I actually got pregnant again because it felt like each day was a potential risk for weeks.
Did you get sick?? How did you open a business??
I opened my Northgate studio about 1.5 weeks after finding out I was pregnant, and I was TERRIFIED I would be deathly ill. My mom threw up all 9 months of both pregnancies, and I have braced myself for that reality to be my own since childhood. While I have experienced some fatigue and some nauseous days in the first trimester, I’m THRILLED to say that I have never thrown up or felt totally incapacitated. I’ll also say the adrenaline of being at work and knowing how many people are counting on me to rally is always motivating to me. As a kid who grew up performing and working through any illness or ailment, I think I genuinely click into “go-mode” and will muscle through just about any bad feeling. Granted, if I’d been puking my guts out, no promises.
Did you modify your exercise routine.
Yes. As soon as I found out, I stopped any form of running or spinning. Hear me - I had not been running or spinning regularly in months. I would go to spin classes maybe once a week, and regular running hadn’t happened in forever. If I had been doing these things all the time, I wouldn’t have felt the need to quit, but my heart rate gets SO high in these forms of exercise because I literally will not quit, modify, or slow down to save my life. I was terrified for the first month I knew I was pregnant, and I didn’t feel 100%, so it just wasn’t worth it to me to do extreme, hour-long cardio in pregnancy. I have continued to do Pure Barre and Empower, but I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from Reform because it’s just hard to control my abs, and that class has so much core work to modify. It’s super safe with the modifications, but it hasn’t felt great to me. I have also taken SO many more breaks than ever before in my life. On average, I’ve always worked out 6-7 times per week, and I’ve probably averaged 4-5 times most weeks, which feels bizarre.
How has teaching and taking Pure Barre felt?
I answered most of this in the question above, but I have definitely been far more tired teaching, and far more winded. For someone who typically has unlimited amounts of energy, it has been unusual. I’m not good at resting, and I’ve tried, but don’t worry everyone…I still can’t nap to save my life. I have slept in 30 minutes - an hour later most days, though!
Cravings, aversions, and what have you eaten?!
This is probably the saddest and funniest part of my first trimester. Though I have eaten some crappy foods, I will say that my priority has been to find the best ingredients possible, even if I’m eating nothing but carbs. So, I’ve still bought primarily sprouted or sourdough bread, organic cheeses and snacks, and fruit popsicles with no sugar. I’ll start with the things I’m not eating and work towards the things I have been consuming.
Caffeine - I gave up coffee the day of my miscarriage. I know that you can consume caffeine in moderation while pregnant, but it’s so bad for your hormones, and it’s not worth it to me, so I quit cold turkey. I have had the occasional chai or caffeinated herbal tea (and dark chocolate), but nothing more.
Kombucha - I didn’t drink it until week 12 because I wanted the go ahead from my midwife. There is “concern” about the alcohol content of fermented foods, but they metabolize in a totally different way than true alcohol, and it’s not absorbed by the baby. So, I’m back on the train (praise God).
Uncooked/unpasteurized foods - Many people say to avoid soft boiled or over easy eggs (anything runny) while pregnant, but I’m sorry, it’s a much bigger risk to eat crappy, chemical laden foods or fast food than runny eggs. I’ll take my chances there because the benefits of eggs are so worth it. I also feel fine about cold pressed juices that are unpasteurized, though I haven’t sought them out. I have avoided sushi, lunch meat (WHICH I HATE ANYWAY, literally gagging), bean/alfalfa sprouts, and raw cheese (though I’d be okay with this one if it was well-sourced).
Genuinely, all the carbs - I always wanted to be the world’s healthiest person while pregnant, and I knew there was no telling how I’d feel. I’m sad to say that the main things I have HATED in this trimester are salads and most vegetables. I’ve eaten more bagels than I can count, grilled cheese, string cheese, cream cheese, organic white cheddar popcorn at 9:00 am, and other SUPER weird things for me. One day, I ate an entire box of mac n cheese, and don’t even get me started on the amount of Simply Mills crackers I’ve consumed. It’s not that I’ve had insatiable cravings for these foods, it’s more like, when I get nauseous, they are the only things that make it go away, and it feels better to keep eating them than to sit in discomfort. Bizarre, but this child does not understand my nutritional habits. I have also loved fruit, real fruit popsicles, and smoothies with spinach hidden in them.
Prenatal - Many women have a difficulty absorbing folate, so it’s really important to take a prenatal with methylfolate and real food sources of the nutrients. I’m in love with my Ancient Nutrition Prenatal, and I also take an Omega-3 supplement and a fermented Vitamin D3 from Ancient Nutrition.
What is your birth plan? Where will you deliver?
Here we go. This is the one that everyone has an opinion on, right? Before getting into it, let me just say that I have heavily researched both medicated and natural birth, hospitals/birthing centers/home births, and all the things. I also have never had a child or been in labor, and I fully recognize that it can bring challenges that I don’t anticipate, but this is what I’m doing! I also do not think there is anything morally wrong with choosing whatever method you want to deliver your baby!
I went to my 8 week appointment and saw a normal OBGYN who delivers in the hospital. She was very kind, I had no complaints, and I got to see my ultrasound that day which literally made my whole world light up. But, in processing the information afterwards and thinking about how much I desire to have a natural birth, Ross and I both agreed to explore Beginnings Birth Center, which is the only freestanding birth center in COS. It is run by nurse midwives and extremely reputable, and I made the decision to have my prenatal care and give birth there. It is much more me and matches my perspective on health, and I’m thrilled with the decision. To answer a few questions I know I’ll get, here you go:
So…no drugs? Nope, birthing centers do not have any drugs to speed up labor or medically intervene. I will take a comprehensive natural childbirth course, work with a doula (birth coach), and give birth in a really cushy room with a bed, a tub (maybe a water birth people), and other fun contraptions to use in labor.
What if something goes wrong? In the event of a medical emergency, I am a minute ambulance ride away from the hospital. If you want a really intense perspective on out-of-hospital birth, you can go watch The Business of Being Born, and while I don’t agree with every perspective in that documentary, it does note that we in America have the highest mother and infant death rate in any civilized country, a 40% c-section rate (when typically only about 2% of births need medical intervention), and a hospital system mostly geared against natural birth. I believe that birthing is not a medical emergency, but something we were created to do and have definitely lost sight of as a society.
Why not do a natural birth in a hospital? Truthfully, hospitals make me super nervous, and I know that I will feel so much safer and calmer with a team rooting for me to have a natural birth. Also, we weren’t designed to labor on our backs and not eat for a million hours while our bodies undergo a marathon, so those are a few facts that encouraged my decision.
How will you prepare? Like I said, I will take a comprehensive childbirth course (unsure which one yet), and I’ve been researching/praying/doing mindset work on my own, too. My friend Cassie sent me the BEST book, The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, and I’m obsessed. She also sent me a book of prayers for natural birth that has been really helpful!
What has surprised you the most about pregnancy thus far?
I have spent my whole life sure that I would detest pregnancy. I was fearful of being sick, but for many years, I was far more terrified of the body transformation. In the thick of my body image issues and disordered eating, I didn’t know how I’d cope. It’s a beautiful thing to say I’ve been fine with all of it. I’ve never weighed this much, looked less fit, or eaten so much bread, and I just really feel like God has healed so much in my heart for years to prep for this. Also, after fearing the worst for this pregnancy, having a healthy baby and body is all I care about, which has been a cool shift to experience. Although, I’m really excited to start eating and acting like me again because I’m over the weird food!
That’s all I’ve got - other questions/comments can be left in the comments, or DM me on Instagram!