First Trimester Health


Here we are, about 8 weeks into my pregnancy, and I am struggling with morning/all day sickness. Morning sickness comes in many different levels. Mine is the low-grade, “I’m so hungover,” all-day sickness. I tend to get worse as the day goes on. Other’s actually throw up, and have severe sickness that requires medication. Because this is my fourth pregnancy, I’ve learned some tricks to survive the morning sickness stage, so I can semi-function as a decent parent to my other boys!

Every time I get Pregnant, I Google “How Long Does Morning Sickness Last?”

I’m not sure why I forget this every time, but typically morning sickness starts about 8 weeks (earlier for me), and lasts through 12 weeks. Some mamas have pregnancy nauesa to 20 weeks. I unfortunately can’t remember when I started feeling better during my pregnancy. I think I was a bit later, more like 15 weeks. I will update when it actually goes away. So, we have a few weeks of feeling pretty icky, and here are my tips and tricks to survive.

My Best Tips To Survive The Pregnancy Nausea (all-day sickness)

Get a good prenatal:

If you don’t follow any of my tips but one, this is the one. I used to really struggle taking a prenatal (about 8 years ago with my first), because the prenatals made my sickness worse. I tried taking them at night, but I would still feel super icky. With my second I found the drinkable prenatals, and the gummies, which helped, but nothing has been as wonderful as the Ritual Prenatals.

I talk a lot more about these prenatals in my post on folate verses folic acid. This is a really important read before you choose your prenatal vitamins, and I also go over my top choices for a good prenatal.

Basically, the Ritual Prenatals have a minty flavor, and you can take at any time without feeling sick. I can’t take vitamins on an empty stomach, or any pills, but these I can take any time! That is huge for me, so I highly recommend you grab these on subscription to come everything month during pregnancy. I started with their women’s vitamin, then switched to prenatal once I got pregnant. You will thank me!

Anti-Nausea Teas:

I’ve found that drinking a tea with a little milk and sweetener through the day really helps. So far I’ve been really liking this Morning Sickness Tea by Pink Stork. I get a very empty stomack feeling, which causes me to want to eat all day. I basically feel like throwing up when I workout, and want to lay on the couch and eat chips. Great combo for not gaining a lot of weight right? The first trimester is really just a survival period, and I find that sipping on tea really helps.

Fizzy/Bubble Drinks:

Carbonated water (Spindrift is my FAV!), with a little juice really helps me too. I am basically sucking on water/tea/juice all the time. The carbonation with a couple saltine crackers seem to help settle my stomach. I also really like this Sparkling Mama Elixer from Amazon. You just pour a packet and mix with water. I have a video of how I mix it with Spindrift I will get in this post soon. Mix the packet with a Sprindrift flavor you like and it tastes really good, and works for at least an hour. I think the cheapest way to get Spindrift, because it is more expensive is on Amazon. Just order it with the sparkling mama elixer and you will be golden!

Frozen Grapes:

This has been super helpful in the afternoon! Frozen grapes are a healthy, easy snack that you can suck on to help keep that icky feeling away. It is kinda like sucking on a candy, but better for you. More nutrition and less sugar! Just buy some grapes, and pop them off the stem into sandwhich bags. Throw them in the freezer, so you have them ready when you need them. I just had a bunch of these yesterday because I didn’t have an opportunity to lay down, and it helped distract me from feeling sick.

Sour Candies (these are made with Stevia!)

I found these Smart Sweets Sour gummies at Whole Foods, and I think you can grab the at Target too. These aren’t gonna jump your body with tons of sugar, but they do have a ton of fiber in them, so just eat a few a day. I have them in my purse for when I am driving or picking my boys and need to be able to function.

Mint Gum:

Chewing minty gum also really helps me. I keep this in my purse too. I like a peppermint gum sweetened with xylitol. I can’t have sucralose because it causes gas and bloating, Keep an eye on what your gum is sweetened with in case you have a sensitivity too.

Soup and Crackers:

I’ve found that soup and crackers really hit the spot. As I get further into the dreaded 8-12 weeks time frame, a lot of fresh veggies and healthy food does not sound good. I actually just got done with my 10-day reset with my postpartum mamas on Instagram (they don’t know I’m pregnant yet), and it was the hardest 10-days of eating healthy! Now I’m back to some light soups and crackers, and it feels a lot better.

Lay down when necessary:

Sometimes I just need to lay down. I do have three kids running around during this pregnancy, but I have found ways to lay down. I can set them up with colors, legos or a show, which really helps if I can get 15 minutes of laying down.

So far, these are the only ways I am surviving life right now. My pregnancy nausea tends to be worse in the evening, rather than the morning. I starts around noon, and continues to grow as the day goes on. I usually experience headaches as well, but I haven’t gotten there yet. The fatigue also gets worse as they day goes on. I have some ways I deal with that as well, which I will do a full post on soon!

Let me know if you try my pregnancy nausea tips. I’d love to hear your tips too! I’m sure everyone is eager to try anything that’s worked for anyone else!

As soon as you discover you’re pregnant, it is really important to start getting the correct amount of folic acid or folate as soon as possible. I personally take folate as soon as I know I’m pregnant, rather than folic acid for a number of reasons. Most people think folate and folic acid are the same thing, but they are very different. Let’s get into the details on the differences, and why I believe folate is the best choices for pregnant mamas.

What’s the difference between folate and folic acid?

Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that is naturally present in some foods., and it plays a major role in the formation of DNA, which is why it is essential for new fetuses growing in the womb. Folate is found naturally in many foods, but the folate in many vitamins is the activated version, or methylated version called, Methyltetrahydrofolate,.

Folate functions as a coenzyme or cosubstrate in single-carbon transfers in the synthesis of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and metabolism of amino acids. I actually learned about the role of coenzymes in my nutrition certification course, and they are essential to man processes in our bodies. One of the most important folate-dependent reactions is the conversion of homocysteine to methionine in the synthesis of S-adenosyl-methionine, an important methyl donor. Another folate-dependent reaction, the methylation of deoxyuridylate to thymidylate in the formation of DNA, is required for proper cell division. During the first trimester of pregnancy, it is really important to have enough folate to support this process in the growing baby.

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Many supplements use folic acid because it is highly stable and better at entering the intestinal cells than the natural folate is. Because folic acid is a synthetic form, you can’t consume it naturally, but it is usually added to breads and cereals. The issue with folic acid is that once it enters your body, it needs to be converted in order to be absorbed and put to use properly. The enzyme process, where folic acid is converted to 6S-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHF) is really important, studies have shown that nearly 40% of women have gene mutations that don’t allow this process to happen.

How much folate or folic acid to pregnant mamas need?

It is suggested that pregnant mamas have a minimum of 400mcg of folate per day. My favorite prenatals have 1000 mcg per serving. If you are taking folic acid, you need a minimum of 600mcg per day.

What is gene mutation and how does it relate to folic acid and folate?

A gene mutation or variation basically just means that a women’s gene sequence can inhibit the enzyme process that converts a synthetic chemical into a nutrient the body can use. Everyone has unique gene sequences, and unfortanuately many women can’t process the folic acid properly. My first two pregnancies, I didn’t know any of this prior to choosing a prenatal vitamin. Now that I do, I prefer folate to folic acid because the enzymatic process is already done before consumption.

MTHFR (6S-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate) is the easiest for women:

I choose folate in the methylated form for my prenatal because I know the absorption process is happening. If you are taking folic acid, there’s a 40% chance that you aren’t converting the folic acid. I have no desire to even take a chance on whether I’m getting the folate necessary for myself and my growing baby.

How do you know if you have the gene mutation?

The best to way to know for sure if you need folate or not is to get a DNA test from your doctor, or order one online. The DNA testing available now is growing and growing, making it super easy to just buy a test online and get your results in a few weeks.

Which prenatal is the best with MTHFR?

I personally love the Ritual vitamins. I am very sensitive to vitamins, and they often make me feel nasueas even if I take them with food. The Ritual vitamins are uniquely formulated to where they don’t cause my tummy to turn, and they have exactly what pregnant mamas need…not a bunch of extra vitamins I’m just gonna pee out later. If you need another option, I know these prenatal vitamins have MTHFR, and look like a very high-quality. There are also more and more amazing prenatal vitamins out there, that you can grab on Amazon to try. The Ritual vitamins are my top choice, but I’m gonna go over some other great choices as well.

The Top Prenatal Vitamins With Folate Not Folic Acid:

Ritual Prenatal Vitamin:

top prentatl with MTHFR Ritual PRenatal

Ritual Prenatals disclose where they source all of their ingredients, which don’t come from China, and they really help with sensitive tummies. I can take these at any time, and I was taking their women’s essential vitamin prior to getting pregnant. I love that they have Choline, which is actually a nutrient very important during pregnancy that is often forgotten in prenatals. I’ve been subscribing to them for months now, and I switched my monthly delivery to the prenatal rather than women’s essential. I LOVE that it just shows up each month, and I highly recommend the monthly delivery if you are newly pregnant and will be taking these through your pregnancy!

I also love the unique composition of these vitamins. They actually sit in a liquid form for better absorption. The company was also founded by a mother when she was pregnant, looking for a better prenatal. It is a bit more expensive than other vitamins, but as a mama in the supplement business as well, I’ve learned you really do get what you pay for.

Pink Stork Prenatal:

The Pink Stork prenatals definitely give Ritual a run for their money, and according to Amazon they have a peppermint flavor as well! It also looks like they have the same liquid capsules, so basically a similar vitamin to the Rituals, just a different brand. Ritual does require two capsules a day, where as these one only say one on their listing. With one capsule you get 865mcg of folate, rather than the 1000 mcg in two of the Ritual capsules. Basically you get more for your money, and it appears to be a high-quality, similar design! The great thing about these is that you can do the subscribe to save through Amazon, and Ritual is not available on Amazon (that I know of yet!).

Thorne Basic Prenatal:

The Thorne Basic Prenatal has a full range of vitamins for pregnant mamas, larger than some of the other brands. You’re definitely not going to be missing any vitamins with this one, and you get 90 capsules per serving. I know this is a high-quality brand because it was sold in the doctor’s office I worked in many years ago. They only offered patients the highest-quality brands of supplements, and Thorne was one of them.

Pink Stork Folate:

The Pink Stork Folate vitamins are a great choice becuase they have the MTHFR, not folate. Pink Stork is also a faith-based company run by women for women, so you aren’t dealing with a huge supplement company that may not care as much for their consumer.

Glow Prenatal Vitamins:

These are awesome prenatal vitamins as well because they have the methylated folate (1200mcg per serving) as well as ginger. Ginger can be super helpful for naseau, though I haven’t been super successful with it. I have to have ginger with other ingredients to attempt to relieve the icky tummy.

There you have the top prenatals with folate, not folic acid.

I do my best to research and stay on top of current studies concerning nutrition during pregnancy and postpartum. My sister site, focuses on nutrition for breastfeeding mamas to lose weight, and it is amazing to see the transformation mamas have with some of my free challenges.

If you have a folate prenatal you love, let me know! I’m always interested in learning about more products out there!

Why I’m taking folate verses folic acid during my pregnancy.

Surviving the first trimester is one thing, staying healthy is completely another. A healthy first trimester is really hard to achieve, so I have some helpful tips to just survive, and stay as healthy as possible. The cravings, naseua and exhaustion are one thing, then there’s also the food aversions. Not many people want to eat broccoli in the first trimester. I know I didn’t. I wanted to eat chips, cheese and bread. All three pregnancies were boys, and all three pregnancies I wanted the same things.

The Belly-Only pregnancy fitness program is a specific program for pregnant mamas looking to stay as fit and healthy as possible while pregnant. This program is also designed to prepare you for labor, as well as protect your core and pelvic floor for after baby. I’ve had three babies, and I wish I did a program like this! I was able to gain minimal weight during all three of my pregnancies, and lose it all within a few months because of my diet, but I didn’t focus on the repair work my muscles needed to recover and heal! That is why I first created my postpartum program, The Postpartum Cure. After popular demand, and many requests for a pregnancy program, I now created this program for mamas wanting to do some prep-work, eat clean and gain minimal weight while pregnant!

I have a very specific pregnancy ciet plan that is actually super simple, yet the key to gaining minimal weight while pregnant. As a certified Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist, I studied the massive benefits of nutrition during pregnancy for both mamas and babies. I included lots of recipes in this program to help you feel motivated and full of ideas to eat healthy.

Here is how to survive and stay healthy in the first trimester:

Eat Healthy Foods That Soothe Your Stomach:

These include oatmeal, bananas and milks or yogurt. I stick to almond milk and coconut milk yogurt. I found oatmeal to be perfect during the first trimester. It was soothing, comforting and yummy. I also liked sweet potatoes, but I am not sure if they coat the stomach. They are a wonderful healthy carb to consume in the first few weeks though! If you can do a banana protein smoothie, this is WONDERFUL!! I LOVE this protein powder, because it is safe for pregnant mamas, and the protein will help keep your blood sugars level. The bananas will give you the carbs and sugar you need to attempt to feel okay for more than 15 minutes.

Sip On Lemon or Mint Water:

Mint helps with nausea, so you can sip some mint water to keep yourself hydrated, as well as keep the nausea at bay. I found it helped a bit with feeling sick, and I felt better keeping something in my mouth. It was the act of drinking and eating that almost seemed to help me feel okay.

Don’t Let Your Blood Sugar Drop:

When your blood sugar drops, you are going to feel worse. Snacking is totally okay during the first trimester, but the key is to snack on healthy foods. I snacked on yummy berries, sweet potato chips, light popcorn, apples, oranges, cheese sticks and carrots and hummus all day. If I let myself feel any sense of hunger, I thought I was going to throw up, so eating was a form of survival. As long as you eat smart, you can eat a lot!

Walk As Much As Possible:

On the days I didn’t get up and move right away, I felt worse. I knew that if I could make it to a park with my toddlers, or to the gym or anywhere I could get some walking in, I would feel better the rest of the day. Exercise, especially during the first trimester really helps. It is a great mood booster, and it will push you through to the rest of the day. Walking is the minimal. If you can do more, do it. Add your strength training in a few times a week too if you can stomach it. It really combats the fatigue.

Take Naps:

It is miserable to fight the naps. I would find myself with my eyes closing on their own. I had to take naps in my car during my lunch break with my first baby. I just couldn’t fight it. You will feel so much better if you let yourself sleep, and your body needs it. Resting to build a baby, especially in the first trimester is super important. If you have little ones while pregnant, let yourself take naps when they do. I fell asleep in their beds with them. I’m kinda embarrassed, but it is totally the truth.

These are my best tricks to stay healthy during the first trimester. The first trimester is my least-healthy trimester. I just can’t keep from eating everything and sleeping. But, you can stay as healthy as possible, and know that the second trimester makes things so much easier. With my third, I started running again in the second trimester, and I actually burned fat off in my second trimester because I felt so much better. I ate way healthier and exercised a lot more. Yes, you can totally burn fat during pregnancy. I go over how to do that in my program, and it is completely safe as long as you know what you are doing.