Surprise! We’re pregnant with baby #3.
I’m SO excited to share this news with you, as well as a more personal post than usual, detailing my pregnancy journey and all things first trimester with baby #3 (symptoms, food aversions, health tips, products and more).
Before I get into all of the details, I do want to acknowledge that every person’s fertility journey and pregnancy experiences are completely unique to them, and depending on where you’re at on yours you may want to pass on reading this post for now.
I always strive to be as open and transparent as possible with my community, but recognize this topic can also be triggering and encourage you to do what feels best for you.
Thank you for being here and I please know my heart is with you if you are currently struggling with fertility challenges.
I have to say, so far almost everything feels different about this pregnancy, including the road to conception!
In full transparency, this pregnancy was unplanned (we were actively trying when we previously conceived our two daughters, Eloise (4) and Amelia (2)). This time around, I had only recently gotten my period and menstrual cycle back, as I was 19 months postpartum with baby #2 (Amelia) and slowly beginning the weaning process.
My husband (Nic) and I had discussed whether or not we wanted to try for a third baby, and logistically everything seemed so much simpler with two kids. That being said, the heart doesn’t always follow logistics, and we weren’t ready to fully give up the notion just yet.
We continued on with our lives, and I was actively tracking my menstrual cycle, using fertility awareness methods and noting changes in my mood, appetite, energy, etc. If you know me then you know I absolutely LOVE all things cycle syncing, and I was really enjoying feeling in tune with my hormones and body again. I also noticed how much much my libido naturally increased in my follicular phase prior to ovulation, and took some calculated risks, estimating my fertile window was still about 5-6 days away.
But once day #36 of my cycle came around and I still hadn’t had my period, I felt like something was off. My husband suggested I run to the market for a pregnancy test just incase, and almost immediately upon taking it two pink lines appeared. I was officially pregnant.
At the time I found out I was pregnant, I had yet to experience any symptoms, as it was still very new. That being said, I was extremely emotional over the initial news, and at first had mixed feelings. It felt so different from my previous pregnancies, when we were actively trying and I was peeing on a stick as soon as I could, praying for two pink lines to appear.
This time I really had to sort through my feelings, and believe me when I say I was feeling ALL of the things. I think the biggest initial emotion I experienced was a combination of overwhelm and fear. I had just turned 38, and while I didn’t feel old (like at all!), I was worried there could potentially be more risk this time around. Also I just didn’t feel fully prepared or ready mentally. My business was taking off and I was so excited to have a regular childcare schedule where I could fully invest in some HUGE projects/goals I’d had for years. I was worried I’d have to put them on the back burner yet again. Lastly, I was just wrapping up weaning, and finally felt like I had my body back to myself again. I didn’t feel ready to share it yet again with someone else!
All of that being said, as I let myself fully feel and process each emotion, I felt more and more excited with each passing day. Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of having a bigger family (I used to draw pictures of myself and my imaginary husband with four kids, lol) and I absolutely love being a mom to my two little girls. I thought, okay, this baby is really supposed to be here, I trust in this process and expanding our family.
Just as I was coming around to the idea and starting to get really excited, the first trimester pregnancy nausea and fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks. Truthfully, I’ve never enjoyed the first trimester, as I always struggled with these symptoms, but this time around felt SO much more intense. If you know me then YOU KNOW I’m a very active person with an insane work ethic (hello TYPE A). While I know this isn’t always a good thing, and I’ve had to really work on allowing myself rest and down-time (especially in regards to how important it is for your hormones), at the end of the day I still truly enjoy working hard and accomplishing things.
So let me tell you, this trimester was truly an exercise in letting go if there ever was one, as I experienced nausea to the point of vertigo almost daily for the next 4-5 weeks. I couldn’t even look at my laptop or phone without getting nauseous and dealing with pounding headaches. I remember days where I’d be laying horizontal on the couch as both girls literally jumped all over me while my husband was at work. I didn’t even care, I just laid there feeling totally helpless, LOL. That couch became my best friend, and there were many days where I just laid there all.day. long.
Of course I felt some serious mom guilt on top of it all, as I didn’t feel up to playing with the girls or taking them to go anywhere fun. But I kept my regularly scheduled therapy sessions, which where a huge help, as well as my daily gratitude routine and lots of mantras/talking myself off the ledge like “this too shall pass.” And eventually, it did.
As you can expect, the first trimester pregnancy nausea brought along with it some serious food aversions, which was also extremely tough for me. Because you probably also know by now that I’m a HUGE foodie, and eating and cooking delicious and nutrient-dense food is one of the greatest joys of my life. And now not only did I not feel up to cooking anything, but I couldn’t even look at or smell my typical nourishing, hormone healthy meals without wanting to vomit everywhere (lol but seriously).
Specifically, I couldn’t eat any vegetables except for cucumbers. Meat was a hard pass, but sometimes seafood (mostly sushi, ha!) sounded good. Smoothies were out, but I could eat fresh fruit, especially citrus (orange), apples and berries. I ate a ton of peanut butter (especially on apple slices), as well as some dairy (ricotta and cottage cheese, etc.) But mostly I craved plain, bland carbs, such as cereal, bagels with jam and white rice.
While the first trimester seemed pretty bleak in a lot of ways, I did the best I could every day and looked for ways to potentially alleviate my symptoms, physically, mentally and emotionally. I share this in the hopes it’s helpful for anyone else out there dealing with first trimester pregnancy symptoms, but also want to once again emphasize that each person’s experience is completely unique, and what worked for me might not be right for you. Please also check in with your medical practitioner before incorporating brand new habits or taking any new supplements, etc.
This was by far the most important AND challenging thing I did my entire first trimester, as it required listening to my body and letting go of work, constant productivity, being a “perfect” mom and basically everything our culture values. But I tried to remind myself my hormones and body were doing SO.MUCH.WORK. to develop and grow a baby, and I was feeling exhausted for a good reason.
For several weeks I completely let go of my early morning routine in order to sleep in, and went to bed around 9 pm every night. I stopped engaging in any form of intense exercise, and I put important work projects on hold. I also recognize the unique privilege I hold in being able to do some of these things, as many women have to show up to an office or job every day at a certain time, despite their circumstances, and I’m deeply grateful I was able to take time off to rest.
Because I couldn’t stomach any of my typical hormone balancing meals, I opted to lean into my body’s cravings while also challenging myself to sneak in nutrients whenever and wherever I could. While I often wanted plain carbs, I almost always found some way to add in a little bit of protein and/or fat to help keep blood sugar balanced, which is super important for your hormones and overall health. I also noticed that if I didn’t do this and just ate plain carbs, I’d often feel even worse than before, dealing with headaches and intense hunger. Here were some of my little food/recipe hacks I followed to help me keep blood sugar balanced, nausea at bay, curb hunger, and sneak in nutrients for myself and baby:
**Additionally, I’d often take a tbsp of apple cider vinegar with 8 oz of water 10 minutes before carb heavy meals or snacks, as it’s been scientifically studied to help balance blood sugar.
While any form of intense exercise was a no-go most of the first trimester, I tried to practice gentle yoga and go on walks outside when possible, as both are beneficial for lowering stress and boosting production of feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin that can help mitigate nausea and fatigue.
This may seem silly, but because I wasn’t sweating regularly, I kind of fell out of my morning shower routine for a bit, lol. Either way, I made it a priority to jump in the shower every day, even if I might not have *really* needed it, because the water felt so good and it honestly just made me feel a bit more human. I also kept up with my face care routine, including all of my favorite non-toxic Primally Pure products, which helped keep my skin clear. **If you want to try you can use my code SOFRESH10 to save 10% off your entire order.
Water is incredibly essential for hormone health, but even more so when you’re pregnant! Drinking enough of it helps your body absorb essential nutrients and transport vitamins, minerals and hormones to blood cells (helping boost both yours and baby’s health and reduce symptoms like fatigue and nausea). Luckily, this is one habit I’ve completely ingrained and found easy to keep up during my first trimester.
Oh man was THIS a biggie. Truthfully most of the first trimester I felt awful, felt like I LOOKED awful, and didn’t feel up to practicing so many of my usual hormone-healthy habits that empower me to feel and look better (i.e. eating nutrient-dense meals, sweating/working out, getting ready/putting on makeup, engaging in social activities, playing with my kids, working on fulfilling projects, etc.) Each and every day felt like a lesson in finding grace, strength and compassion within, instead of looking for external sources of joy or validation. But I kept practicing gratitude, therapy, prayer (not a religious person but very spiritual) and mantras like “this too shall pass.” I focused on the good where I could, worked on constantly shifting my perspective, and tried to let go of the negative thoughts.
Another biggie, as I find more and more now that I have kids. As a “type A” person, I pride myself on doing a lot and don’t like to ask others for help. But this was another practice in letting go, and I had to rely on others (especially my husband) a lot more than usual to get by. I feel very lucky that I have such a supportive husband and community, but at the end of the day I still had to communicate very clearly the areas I needed help in. It was hard to do, but I asked, and for the most part I received :).
Okay, now onto the fun part, all things first trimester pregnancy products! These were the foods, products and supplements I relied on to help me get through this first trimester in particular, so I’m sharing in the case you (or anyone else you know that’s currently pregnant) might find them helpful too!
Super tasty electrolyte powder packets that help you stay hydrated with zero fillers, sugars or artificial ingredients. My fave flavor is raspberry and I drank one packet in a 32 oz water bottle per day (and still am).
Super simple but super tasty cereal (like honey nut cheerios but better) without any of the usual added sugars, preservatives, gluten, etc. I literally ate this every.single.day. for breakfast with chia pudding, peanut butter and berries, it was an absolute staple. Also my kids now love it too! The cinnamon flavor is the best IMO. **You can use the code LAURENCHAMBERS to save 15% off your order.
I’m always on the hunt for quality prenatal recommendations for my clients and community, and knew I wanted to try out a new brand on the market I’d heard great things about. So far so good, but will keep you posted with more as my pregnancy progresses. **Feel free to use code SOFRESH10 to save 10% off your order.
Truly such a pregnancy/hormone health/life hack! I’m literally obsessed with this company, as everything they create is super high quality and SUCH a good way to sneak in nutrients that work to promote optimal gut and hormone health. Because I wasn’t getting nearly as many of these nutrients sourced from food as I usually do, I made sure to take my liver supplements and bone broth powder daily. **If you want to try you can use my code SOFRESH10 to save 10% off your entire order.
For those of you that know, you KNOW the first trimester pregnancy constipation and bloat is real. Luckily I checked with my OB and she confirmed it was safe for me to continue use of these capsules, which contain six natural herbal ingredients that work to speed up digestion and reduce bloat, gas and constipation in the process. I took (and am still taking) them daily, along with magnesium citrate at night to help promote bowel movements. **You can use the code SOFRESH15 to save 15% off your Arrae order. Also if pregnant PLEASE check with your doctor before taking.
This probiotic was another daily non-negotiable for me, as gut health is a crucial part of optimal fertility, pregnancy and hormonal health and I definitely wasn’t eating as many gut-friendly foods this trimester! **Use code SOFRESH15 to save 15% off your order.
Not only do these drops contain ingredients proven to help reduce the effects of nausea (such as ginger, mint and vitamin b6) but the act of sucking or chewing on drops or gum helps to naturally reduce nausea by “tricking” your body into thinking you’re eating when you’re not. Believe me when I say I was sucking on these all day every day, lol!
Every pregnancy my craving for bubbly drinks cannot be stopped, and it makes sense given that when the tiny bubbles pop they can trigger the GI tract and naturally reduce nausea. Olipop’s ginger lemon and orange squeeze prebiotic sodas in particular were a first trimester highlight for me.
While this was probably my least favorite first trimester pregnancy habit (I really don’t like taking OTC’s) I need to be honest and say this combo helped get me through some dark days, as controlled studies have shown it may impact neurotransmitters in the brain that trigger nausea. Not only that, but Unisom causes drowsiness, helping you fall asleep more quickly, and getting a good nights sleep was very necessary for me to get by without going insane, ha! I took half a pill of unisom nightly combined with a b6 supplement and I have no regrets. While it’s deemed pregnancy safe, I still advise checking in with your doctor before taking.
While I am a certified nutrition and hormone health coach accredited through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I am NOT a licensed medical practitioner, and always encourage every individual to check in with your doctor before engaging in new habits or supplements, especially if you’re currently pregnant or have a preexisting medical condition. Additionally, I want to emphasize this is a personal guide based on what helped me get through this first trimester, and what worked for me may not be best for you. Please above all check in with yourself and do what feels right for you.
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I’m honored to support you on your journey to optimal hormone health + happiness. Thanks for being here babe.