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First Trimester Tips


I feel like on social media I see so many different exercises/ideas for people as they progress into pregnancy and prepare for birth. But I think sometimes the struggle of the first trimester and the physical and mental challenges that it brings don’t get discussed enough. 


This is my third pregnancy and first pregnancy with major nausea,vomiting,severe food aversions, heartburn, fatigue and first trimester anxiety. The mental and physical toll of these last 2 months has been a lot harder than I thought it might be and so I wanted to share what things I’ve been trying, and what I've found helpful.


With anything pregnancy related it’s always best to discuss and change in supplements, diet or lifestyle with your provider. It’s also important to note that information in this blog or any content on my website is not a substitute for medical advice. 


One of my first pregnancy symptoms was acid reflux when I would bend over. It was really annoying and painful and I felt as if this kicked off my nausea as well. 


I have had some third trimester heartburn with both of my boys but for the most part I was able to control it with simple breathing exercises or posture changes. For me previously the heartburn I had felt was likely related to the changes in the diaphragm as uterus grows and pushed organs up into the diaphragm. This tension on the diaphragm makes it harder for acid to be contained at the top of the stomach. Because it was due to postural changes I felt like I could control it! This first trimester felt so different than my first two pregnancies in that it wasn’t “just” about how my diaphragm was functioning, my posture hadn’t really changed at all yet, and I was doing lots of breathing work already. It definitelyfelt more out of my control which was annoying. 


In the first trimester the increase in the hormone progesterone decreases the strength of the sphincter at the top of the stomach allowing for stomach acid to escape up the esophagus. Gastric (stomach) emptying time also decreases in the first trimester so this reflux can be truly about these changes vs the postural changes I was used to later in pregnancy. 


At the recommendation of my midwife I tried papaya enzymes and digestive bitters. Both helped some, but as time went on the nausea switched from being linked to reflux to simply all the time… bummer. That being said, I kept up with the papaya enzymes to help support my digestion and reduce reflux symptoms! 


Muss, C., Mosgoeller, W., & Endler, T. (2013). Papaya preparation (Caricol®) in digestive disorders. Neuroendocrinology letters, 34(1), 38-46.

As bizarre as it sounds, drinking a lot of water was making me throw up! Not good when you are already dehydrated. Adding needed hydration support to my water was so helpful for helping me get the hydration I needed without making me more sick. 


I've actually been taking the entire needed first trimester bundle and it’s been amazing. Swallowing pills has been a huge trigger and needed has a powdered option. Adding the powder to a smoothie with protein powder has allowed to to get not only the benefit of the prenatal but additional protein, fiber, nutrients and hydration I desperately needed to feel better. 

Check out all of needed’s amazing products HERE. * Affiliate Link* 

Next up I attempted sea bands. While there is some scientific research to support the efficacy. I felt like it was a bit mental. At the time I was using them I couldn’t fathom my nausea getting worse, and so I was a bit scared to take them off. I did find the pressure point was a bit sore, but I’m glad I had them as an option. I used these ones from Root’D 

Sedigheh Sedigh Mobarakabadi, Samira Shahbazzadegan, Giti Ozgoli,

The effect of P6 acupressure on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: A randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled trial,Advances in Integrative Medicine,Volume 7, Issue 2,2020,Pages 67-72,ISSN 2212-9588,

Balloon/ Breathing work. ALWAYS makes me feel so so much better. I've been walking with a balloon in my pocket because in a pinch it has saved me! Balloons aren't for everyone (depending on a few factors however) There are several interesting studies that look at the benefits of breathing exercises on nausea and vomiting inside pregnancy as well as other times! 


Sahane, P., & Weljale, B. (2020). Effectiveness of deep breathing exercise on Nausea, Vomiting among Primigravida antenatal with Hyperemesis gravidum admitted at Antenatal ward of Pravara Rural Hospital, Loni (Bk). International Journal of Advances in Nursing Management, 8(4), 300-304

Here is the short seated balloon exercise from Postural Restoration Institute


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