Wondering how you are going to survive the first trimester while also taking care of your other little ones?
I often have flash backs to my first pregnancy when I was able to sleep as much as possible, I could replace house hold chores with some extra R&R and the only one pressing my nerves was my husband. (poor guy)
This time around, there is no such thing as extra sleep or R&R, the household chores cannot wait and I have two little ones that require every ounce of my exhausted being to take care of them.
I am extremely blessed but also extremely exhausted. Having gone through this three times, I know the second trimester will bring some relief but for now, I am in pure survival mode!
Us mamas where built for this, right?
My oldest is now three and my youngest is 18 months which makes them 21 months apart. YIKES!
I know the first trimester can feel like an impossible period of time so I felt compelled to share some tips that have helped me survive the first trimester during my second and third pregnancies and share answers to some common questions that I have been getting all in one place.
My hope in sharing my journey through another fit pregnancy is to help other mamas, or soon to be mamas, feel confident, motivated and supported to stay active and healthy during pregnancy.
Related: 20 Best Tips For A Fit Pregnancy
Tips To Survive Your First Trimester With Toddlers
The first trimester is tough but you already know this!
What makes this time around more challenging is trying to keep your other kids alive while trying to survive the first trimester!
Remember, you have already done this before so you know you can do it again!
But here is what I have found to make the journey a little easier.
1. Lower Your Expectations…A LOT!
I struggle with feeling lazy if I am not being productive with my kids or household chores.
However, one of the biggest lessons I learned during my third pregnancy is to lower my expectations during the first trimester…like A LOT!
Growing a baby is really a full time job in itself and literally requires every ounce of your body.
This means that sometimes rest comes before household chores and if you need to allow more TV time than normal so you can get off your feet, it is okay!
One of the hardest parts about motherhood is thinking we need to be on our A-game all the time.
However, our kids enjoy the simple moments of us being present with them.
One of the best benefits of limiting screen time is that when they do get it, they are very quiet for a long time!
2. Start Preparing Your Little Ones
With each pregnancy, I make sure to start talking about the new baby as soon as possible to help prepare them for when the baby comes home.
We talk about the baby growing in my belly and taking care of a newborn.
It is hard for little ones to grasp the concept of a real life baby that cries and requires all of mommy’s attention compared to a baby doll.
Preparing them early can make the transition for everyone much easier.
Some of our favorite books we read every day are:
3. Eat Foods That Actually Boost Your Energy
I know this sounds much easier said than done if you have major food aversions or morning sickness.
However, eating foods that provide little nutrients for you or your baby will leave you feeling even more sluggish which can then cause even more cravings.
To end this vicious snacking cycle, opt for foods that you know will provide the best possible nutrients for your baby.
Food is fuel and while that rule might go out the door during the first trimester, this is also the time when the baby is forming the most.
This cookbook was created specifically for pregnancy and was a lifesaver during my third pregnancy.
4. Stay Hydrated
Many moms underestimate the importance of water during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, water not only helps to maintain an ideal level of amniotic fluid but it also helps your body to absorb essential nutrients and transport vitamins, minerals and hormones to blood cells.
Staying hydrated also helps prevent UTI’s (not fun during pregnancy), headaches, swelling and constipation during pregnancy.
During all my pregnancy’s I drank a gallon of water a day!
So treat yourself!
5. Stay Active
It may sound counterintuitive but exercise can actually help boost your energy levels and improve mood which is especially helpful in the first trimester.
Stroller walks can be a sanity saver on wheels when you can barely keep your eyes open but your kids need some fresh air and movement.
Working out during the first trimester can feel scary because of how exhausted you feel and the rapid increase in heart rate to accommodate the extra blood volume.
These are normal responses to exercise during the first trimester as your body responds to the increase blood flow for you and your baby.
It is important to listen to your body and always make sure you consult with your health care provider before beginning and prenatal workout routine.
While most moms can exercise during pregnancy, the intensity will be determined by your fitness level prior to becoming pregnant.
Not everyone will be able to exercise due to medical reasons. But if you are medically able, prenatal exercise can make pregnancy, delivery and recovery much easier!
6. Relieve Aches and Pains
My pregnancy aches and pains always start in the first trimester, especially in my hips and low back.
This is because of the joint softening hormone called “relaxin” that is released during pregnancy. which can cause some instability in the joints.
Being chronically uncomfortable during pregnancy can make you tired and grumpy.
Stretching, exercise and taking collagen protein can help reduce these pesky discomforts.
I did not start taking collagen protein until my third pregnancy and I really wish I had known about it in my previous pregnancies.
Not only does it help support your joints, hair and skin during pregnancy but it can also help reduce stretch marks.
7. Be Mindful of Weight Gain
The pregnancy weight gain seemed to come a little easier with each pregnancy!
It is important to remember that the phrase “eating for two” can really get us in trouble during pregnancy.
Yes, you are eating for two but this means providing nutrition for two, not just empty calories.
This is tough when you feel starving all the time. I literally felt the pregnancy starvation and cravings in my bones.
Despite what many think, excess weight gain during pregnancy is NOT healthy for mom or baby and can make you feel more exhausted and crappy (for lack of a better term!).
To prevent excess weight gain the first trimester, I really try to remember that the baby is only about the size of a jelly bean and does not need an abundance of extra calories.
And depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, you may not even need any extra calories in the first trimester.
I gained 15 pounds my first trimester with my first baby and it was very hard on me both mentally and physically.
Giving into those cravings is fun but just make sure it’s not everyday!
8. Staying Positive About Body Image
The first trimester of pregnancy is such an awkward stage where people question if you are pregnant or you are just suddenly gaining weight.
And the physical changes happen MUCH faster with each pregnancy making it challenging to hide until you feel ready to share your pregnancy with the world.
I swear I looked pregnant the second I found out!
Not only do the physical changes happen faster, but staying consistent with your prenatal workouts is tough when you are exhausted from chasing your other little ones around.
Remember, this is not your first rodeo.
This is only temporary and the weight will come off after pregnancy!
9. Solicit the Troops!
It took me until my third pregnancy to drop my stubbornness and ask for help.
The physical and emotional exhaustion was overwhelming, especially during my third pregnancy.
When you are busy chasing other kids, it is easy to put yourself and your pregnancy on the back burner.
If you have the option, ask for help! Remind your significant other that growing a human is a full time job and you need help.
You Got This, Mama!
I know the first trimester is a difficult period of time, especially with little ones to take care of.
Just try to remember that healthy mom means healthy baby. Use pregnancy as time to get heathy by eating well, staying active and reducing stress as much as possible!
What were your biggest challenges and fears during your first trimester?
Brooke is a certified Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Specialist with a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Science. She is also a mom of 3 girls with more than 15 years of experience in health and fitness. Brooke’s goal at Struggles of a Fit Mom is to help motivate, educate and inspire other busy mamas who struggle with finding time, energy and motivation to take care of themselves in the chaos of motherhood.