Pregnancy is different for everyone, but there are some common woes. Here’s what I experienced and here’s what helped!
I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant and am, predictably, feeling much better than I did in the first trimester.
You can see more photos from our pregnancy announcement in this post!
When I started to first experience some pregnancy discomfort and sickness, I found it incredibly helpful to read my friends’ blog posts about what helped them. I’m sharing today what has helped me feel more comfortable and I’ll keep updating this post throughout my pregnancy. I hope this post helps you if you’re experiencing some common pregnancy woes.
Pregnancy Must-Haves for Common Pregnancy Woes
Woe: Dry Skin
Dry skin came on really quickly for me. I’ve always been prone to dryness, but it got really bad all over my body. (My face, thankfully, ever felt overly dry, but I already used a skincare line designed for dry skin. (Here’s what I use.) But my arms, belly, back and legs itched like crazy!! I previously used this body lotion and loved it but it simply wasn’t enough hydration once I was pregnant. I switched to the Beautycounter Body Butter or the Primally Pure Body Butter and those helped a LOT.
I did find that the Primally Pure Body Butter left my skin just a little greasy so I typically only use that at night and then use the Beautycounter Body Butter during the day. I also liked the Primally Pure Baby Balm for my stomach. While I haven’t had any noticeable stretch marks, I believe that’s more genetics than anything. (And hey, there’s still time, ha!) I do have a minor darkening of my linea negra but I have no clue if the body butters helped with that!
The first trimester was AWFUL. I was nauseous from the moment I woke up until I fell asleep. I never threw up, thankfully, but I very often wished that I could. I felt like I had car or sea sickness ALL day. Here’s what helped with the nausea.
Drinking Spindrift or Nuun.
Something with just a little flavor and effervescence seemed to help sooth my stomach vs. plain water. Lots of articles recommended ginger tea, but I couldn’t stomach warm drinks.
I could not even STAND the thought of drinking coffee until I was in my second trimester. (Thankfully, I had already weaned my coffee consumption down from 8 cups a day!)
Eating lots of ginger chews!
I ate these throughout the day and after most meals. I never left the house without them!!
Consuming lots of plain carbs.
I had a LOT of food aversions in my first trimester. I’ve always loved veggies and salads (see?), but I can’t count how many times I spit out vegetables on the days I even attempted to eat them in my first trimester. I also couldn’t stomach fish, meat, eggs or beans. The only things I could eat were plain carbs, cheese and peanut butter. So, I stocked up bagels and cream cheese. I liked the Canyon Ranch gluten-free ones with the Kite Hill vegan cream cheese best. Pretzels and Food Should Taste Good chips (at Costco) were also great since I craved a lot of salt. I also wanted pizza a LOT, much to my husband’s joy since he LOVES pizza and I’m usually meh on it.
It definitely wasn’t a perfect diet, but I doubt any expecting mother has the perfect diet. I did the best I could!
Now that I’m in my second trimester, things have mostly returned to normal. I’ve traded the gluten-free bagels for Food for Life 7-Sprouted Grains english muffins, which is great since they’re less processed and have more fiber and protein. I can eat most vegetables, but roasting them still makes me gag so I steam them instead. And I can handle eggs, chicken, and beans meat most days, but I still can’t stomach fish or beef very well. And I’m back to being meh about pizza!
Eating more fruit
I also found that I craved fruit like CRAZY. When not pregnant, I like fruit but I don’t really crave it. But I could not get enough of it – berries, apples and sometimes bananas. I even called Tommy once to tell him how delicious mango is, ha! I especially love frozen mixed berries, even now that the nausea is gone.
Woe: Acid Reflux
This wasn’t something I expected to struggle with so much but it was AWFUL, especially in my first trimester.
Eat small meals
I learned that eating smaller meals help a lot, which meant I needed to eat more often. That was an adjustment since I’m not really a grazer.
I also found that anything tomato based made it MUCH worse so I have barely touched tomatoes since I got pregnant. Occasionally I can do a red pasta sauce, but I have to be careful with the quantity! What triggers acid reflux is different for everyone so just pay attention to when it is the worst and try to pinpoint the root case! For me, tomatoes are a MAJOR issue!
Woe: Nothing fits!
The in-between phase was rough since my regular clothes got too tight but maternity specific clothes were ENORMOUS on me. The belly band on a pair of maternity jeans literally came up to my neck! Granted, I’m short, but sheesh! I tried folding it over and it was just too bulky.
I was able to wear my regular jeans until about week 14-15. Then, I ordered a Bella Band so I could wear my jeans and shorts unbuttoned.
Maternity shorts & jeans
Once I got to about 20 weeks, I finally ordered some maternity specific jeans and shorts, which were much more comfortable and simply looked better without the bulk of the Bella Band underneath. I’ll do a post in more depth about my favorite pregnancy clothes, but so far I LOVE these denim shorts and these jeans.
Workout leggings and shorts
For workout clothes, the Align leggings have been AMAZING at every phase. I had multiple pairs before I got pregnant and they’ve never felt too tight, even at 24 weeks! Once the weather warmed up, I bought a pair of Align shorts for running and the Peloton. I did size up in the Align shorts just in case I need more room as my belly continues to grow. I’ll also do another post specifically about pregnancy running clothes, since that’s been interesting to figure out!
My chest size changed DRAMATICALLY within just a couple weeks. I went from a B/C cup to a DD/E cup. Based on some googling, I ordered a few nursing bras that work while pregnant and they were SO uncomfortable. I also tried some stretchy bras that other pregnant moms had suggested (specifically these) but they did NOT work for me since I needed way more support.
I figured there was no point in being uncomfortable by trying to buy something cheap and I just sized up in my usual brand of bras. Since I worn and LOVED Third Love bras for years, I just ordered larger sizes, and I’ve been so happy I did that. I have this t-shirt bra, this strapless one, and this lace one.
While I was able to make my regular t-shirt bras work for a while, that wasn’t the case with sports bras. I previously ran in the Lululemon Long Line Energy Bra, but it wasn’t supportive enough once my chest got bigger. Plus, I simply didn’t fit in the ones I owned. Not. Even. Close. So for running, I got a Brooks Juno and Athleta Advance Bra, which are both great. My friend, Kath, suggested the Brooks Juno and pointed out that it works GREAT for nursing since the straps velcro in the front. So when I size up again, I’ll buy more Brooks Juno. The material is also a bit softer than the Athleta one.
For lower impact workouts, I’ve like this Four Athletics Bra. However, my bra size must have changed AGAIN since I got in the second trimester since the new, larger bras I bought are now too small! Time for a double E??? Sheesh.
Woe: I can’t sleep!
I had a VERY hard time falling asleep and would wake up every couple of hours. I was getting only about 3-4 hours of sleep a night so I ended up getting a prescription from my doctor for a few weeks. Then, eventually, I was able to fall asleep without it so I stopped taking it. I do still wake up throughout the night with some discomfort and most nights I wake up to pee at least once. I get so excited when I sleep through the night, ha!
I don’t know if there is much to resolve this other than basic sleep hygiene habits: go to bed and wake up at the same time, minimize electronics 1-2 hours before bed and have a consistent wind-down routine! I go upstairs about 45 minutes before I want to sleep to wash my face and read.
Woe: Back Pain
I started having back pain pretty early on (e.g. 6 weeks) that was unrelated to pregnancy. I’ve been prone to sacrum and SI joint issues for over 10 years, and I messed up my sacrum while doing some PT exercises for my injured ankle. (My foot slipped, ugh.) The pain was so bad that I could barely walk and running was absolutely off the table. My OBGYN agreed that it wasn’t pregnancy related back pain since it was way too early for that, but still suggested I do PT for my back. That helped some and once I was past my first trimester, my OBGYN cleared me to get dry needling and that helped a LOT.
Now that I’m into my second trimester, I have more typical pregnancy-related back pain. It’s very achy and it’s very hard for for me to get comfortable on the sofa or in bed. I’ve found if my knees are pulled up to me on the sofa, rather than out on the ottoman, that helps. In bed, I finally got this body pillow and that’s helped a lot. It also helps me to not sleep on my back – I’ve always been a back sleeper so that’s a hard habit to break!
Bottom line: Every pregnancy is different
Everyone will experience pregnancy so differently so you’ll have to figure out what works for you! It may take a little trial and error, but I hope this helps you figure out some common woes out if you’re expecting!
What were your pregnancy must-haves? If you’re expecting, what other symptoms are you experiencing?
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Note: This post is based on my personal experience and is not intended to be advice for your pregnancy. As pregnancy impacts everyone differently, always check with your doctor before incorporating anything new into your diet, workout routines, etc.!