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Weight gain during the first trimester can be the most troublesome because there really shouldn’t be much weight gained. Aside from a few pounds of water weight, baby is not causing much extra weight at all, yet the first trimester is the hardest for me to eat healthy and exercise. I’ve recently just started feeling better at 12 weeks pregnant, and I gained about 5lbs. Techincally you don’t need to gain much more than 5lbs in the first trimester, but without some of my little tricks I’ve learned after 4 pregnancies now, I’d be closer to 10lbs. I literally just eat and sleep for weeks. I went from eating healthy and running about 4 miles every morning, to eating, sitting, sleeping and eating more. The first trimester, I find myself so sedated and sick feeling, yet so hungry and needing food ALL THE TIME. If you aren’t aware of your eating habits, the whole situation can be very discouraging. I promise I have some tips that will help you feel better about eating all the food and not exercising at all.
How much weight should you gain in the first trimester?
It’s recommended that you gain around 3-4lbs in the first trimester. There isn’t a real need to gain weight during this time because baby doesn’t really weigh anything. There is your expanding uterus, and some extra water, but that’s about it. If you focus on just this point, the whole process of gaining weight can feel frustrating.
How long does the first trimester neausea last?
I think I’ve Googled this every pregnancy. You are probably feeling funny around 6 or 7 weeks, and the peak of the HCG is at about 8-9 weeks. Weeks 9 and 10 were not fun for me either, then I started to come out of it around 11 weeks. That’s when the HCG hormone is leveling out, and you should be leveled out around 13 weeks. I have had pregnancies where I didn’t feel better until 13-14 weeks. If you make it to 10 weeks, just know you are getting close to the end! Just knowing the curve of the hormone levels really helped me stay motivated and survive.
What to focus on, to control weight gain during the first trimester:
Total weight gain for your pregnancy:
First thing you need to do is remember that you have a long way to go, and just because you gain more than recommended in the first trimester, doesn’t mean you will gain too much in your whole pregnancy. Most of the time, like me, if you gain more weight during your first trimester it is because of the exhaustion and icky feelings. Food makes me feel better, and it might for you too. Because the first trimester is such a survival mode, once you get to the second trimester, you can get back to eating healthier! I can barely eat fruit during the first trimester, and I know I’m starting to feel better when I can eat fruit again. I also keep reminding myself the second trimester is my chance to get healthy again and fix my habits. Usually, this works really well.
Total calories for the day:
I’ve found that by writing down what I’m eating, I realize I’m not eating as much as I feel like I’m eating. Because I eat so healthy most of the time, when I start eating toast, chips, nachos, creamy soups, pastas and foods that are way off my norm, my head can play tricks on me. If you do this, you will realize you aren’t eating a million calories, even though you might feel like it. Mentally, this really helped me!! I saw that what I wanted to eat, didn’t add up to as many calories as I thought it would, and I stayed within a calorie zone, still eating what made me feel better. This is a game-changer mentally!! You will be able to relax and not stress out too much.
Stay as active as possible when you feel the best:
I have evening sickness, so I would do my best to be “active” in the morning. This might be taking my boys to the park, going on a walk or just cleaning around the house. Anything to keep moving for as long as possible, because I knew I’d be laying around later in the day. Maybe you feel terrible in the morning, so you can add some activity in the evening.
Try chewing gum:
This is actually really helpful, especially if it is a minty gum. I found that once I started eating, I had a hard time stopping. I just wanted to eat everything. If I popped some gum after a meal, I could take a break from eating without feeling neauseaus. I was basically chewing gum all the time and numerous pieces in an hour. As soon as the flavor wears off, it doesn’t work, so I had to keep the pieces fresh. Kinda weird, but it worked!
Sipping on a protein smoothie:
I found that sipping on a smoothie was a great way to help myself get in more vitamins and protein. I would slowly drink it, or eat it with a spoon, and it was very comforting. I of course use this protein powder and the pregnancy blend will be out soon. It has the needed folate that is really important for the first trimester, as well as other essential vitmains! Low sugar and high in protein too! Because it lasted longer that way, I felt more satisfied. I liked blueberry smoothies or banana peanut butter smooothies. I LOVE salty in the first trimester, so the banana peanut butter really worked the best most of the time.
Lay down before eating:
Sometimes the neausea tricked me into thinking I needed to eat something. If I layed down to close my eyes, I would actually realize I felt a lot better just resting. Sometimes if I gave myself 15 minutes to rest, I could make it a little longer without eating – again. My struggle was obviously just wanting to shove food in my face all the time.
I finally made it through the first trimester, with three kids, and I am not totally sure how I did it. The past few weeks have been a complete blurr, where I was in a real fog, but it does pass. Just take it one day at a time. Make sure you are taking a good prenatal, and be sure to read my tips to sooth neausea.