Pregnancy: First Trimester Essentials

 

Yes! I’ve made it through the first trimester (Tom survived as well…and is still surviving through all the pregnancy hormones) and am basking in the bliss I’ve heard SO much about that comes in the second trimester. And it sure is wonderful!

The first trimester of pregnancy is between weeks 1 through 12 and I’m not going to say it was the worst thing ever, but it wasn’t very pleasant either. All pregnant women will have a slightly different pregnancy experience, but for the most part, many of the symptoms are the same – the sore breasts, aches and cramps, bloating, constipation (I know, T.M.I.), nausea (I had ALL day nausea without the puking, thank goodness), and food aversions. I’m going to say…This. Was. The. WORST. I can’t speak for Tom but I’m pretty sure my raging hormones accompanied by mood swings will always rank #1 of the worst thing for my entire pregnancy. I think he’s a bit nervous about how I’ll be after the baby. I don’t blame him. I’m a little scared myself.

There are a handful of items I found very practical and essential to surviving the first semester. Seeing that we chose not to tell friends and family about our baby-on-the-way news for the first trimester, I was left up to my own devices on figuring out how to deal with certain symptoms. Here were some of my favourite things that helped me get through it:

 

BOOKS + APPS

Being newly pregnant and not being able to share the news or get advice from those who have been through it before, can be tough. You want to know if what you’re experiencing is normal and figure out how to manage. I found these books and app to be very helpful (in addition to talking with my doctor).

What to expect when you’re expecting

What to expect: What to eat when you’re expecting

What to expect app

 

PRENATAL VITAMINS

These are imperative during your first trimester. However, my doctor did recommend I start taking them once we started planning and actively trying since certain vitamins and minerals help to prevent neural tube defects which affects the brain and spinal cord (which are the first parts to develop of your growing baby and before you will even know you are pregnant). The most important vitamins and minerals are folic acid, iron and calcium.

 

GINGER

Another recommendation by my doctor as well as my pregnancy books and app. Since you are limited in the medication you can take during pregnancy, especially if you suffer from nausea and morning sickness, ginger is a great natural remedy to help alleviate those symptoms. Try ginger tea, ginger ale, and ginger lozenges.

 

FIBER

Constipation is pretty much guaranteed during pregnancy. It’s all due to those lovely hormones, specifically progesterone, which has a relaxing effect on your muscles, including your digestive system (causing food to make its way through your intestines rather slowly). The best way to fight this is to eat fiber rich foods such as whole-grain cereals and breads, fruits like apples (with the skin), and dried fruits such as figs and apricots.

 

CRACKERS

Such a simple thing, but when you have all day nausea and just can’t stomach anything, saltine, arrowroot, or ginger snap crackers are like gold. Have them on hand to help you get something in your tummy. The saltine crackers can help with the nausea as well.

 

MATERNITY BRAS

These are a MUST! Regular bra’s just won’t cut it when you’re breasts start to swell and become ridiculously tender. I find that regular bra’s don’t provide the proper support or comfort you will need over the next nine months. A well fitted maternity bra can help prevent stretch marks, reduce sagging, and alleviate back pain. This is because a maternity bras cover the entire breast, which is more than an everyday fashion bra covers – everything is cut higher from the top of the breast to the breast tissue under your armpit. And between underwire and wireless, I’d say wireless all the way – they don’t feel so constricting and tight.

 

THE MIRACLE BALL METHOD FOR PREGNANCY

Towards the end of my first trimester, I started to get a lot of lower back pain and discomfort in my hips. My sister gave me the Miracle Ball Method for Pregnancy, which is a set of two teeny Swiss exercise balls and an instruction book on how to use them for different aches and pains. I wasn’t sure about them, but after the first time of using them, I noticed a HUGE difference. You have to be sure and be gentle with

 

BELLY BELT

During my first trimester I didn’t gain much weight, but my waist did grow enough for me to notice a difference in the way my clothes fit, especially my pants. I didn’t want to start purchasing  maternity clothes until I absolutely had too, and besides, maternity pants seem to be made for expectant mothers unless they are in their second and/or third trimesters.

The Belly Band is a perfect start to maternity gear while still wearing the pants and jeans you love most. It’s a set of elastics, at varying lengths to accommodate you as you grow, which easily attach to you pants with a button hole and button. I needed an additional inch and a half on my jeans by then end of my first trimester, and these did just the trick!

 

BELLA BAND

This I used (and still use) with my Belly Bands. I find that while the Belly Band give you more pant room, my pants would slide down slightly. The Bella Band helped keep my pants from sliding too much and would smooth out the bit of bulk that comes with using the Belly Bands.

 

SUPPORT SYSTEM

Surrounding yourself with family and friends who provide endless support and welcomed advice is always a good idea, especially for first time mom’s. The first several weeks were tough as Tom and I decided to wait until the end of the first trimester before sharing news with our family and closest friends. After sharing the surprise with everyone, it was the best feeling to have other supportive and experienced mom’s who had been through pregnancy already.

Are there any tips or must have items you used during your pregnancy? Would love to have you share them in the comments below!

1. Rosie Pope Wireless Nursing Bra $59.87 CAD | 2. Belly Belt $30 CAD | 3. What to Expect When You’re Expecting $18.17 CAD | 4. Miracle Ball Method for Pregnancy $20.21 CAD | 5. Bella Band $42 CAD

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Immune System Boosters

immune-boosters

 

I’m not a health care professional. Please consult your medical physician before complete information and guidance.

Fall and Winter are dubbed “cold and flu season” since it’s inevitable during the colder months, we will catch a cold or flu. This doesn’t mean we have to let them knock us out of commission for days or even weeks. There are a handful of ways to be proactive and take control of your health this fall/winter season.

1. Get Plenty of Sleep

Our bodies produce and release certain proteins and chemicals while we sleep which aid in fighting off infections. A lack of sleep may prevent the production of these proteins and chemicals which leaves us vulnerable to sickness and can even prolong the infection in our body.

2. Exercise + Be Active

Exercising or keeping physically active is good for your immune system because it helps to lower stress levels. When we exercise our bodies release natural “feel good” chemicals and helps us get a better nights sleep.

3. Stick To A Balanced Diet

Cut back on sugar as it suppresses your immune system. It’s okay to have a sweet treat once in a while, but packing you day full of sugar won’t do your body any good in the long run. Instead, eat more vegetables and fruits that are rich in vitamin C + E. Also be sure to limit the amount of deep fried foods you consume, especially if you do have a cold since this prevents your white blood cells from protecting against infection.

4. Limit Alcohol Intake

One or two alcoholic drinks won’t have any major effects on your health, but three or more can hamper the white cells in your body from fighting off harmful bacteria.

5. Probiotics

Although there isn’t any extensive research to prove this, probiotics might be an aid in supporting your immune system since it maintains your digestive system and helps to expel toxins from your body.

6. Herbs + Minerals

I know there is a lot of scepticism around vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements, but there are many medicines which derive from plants and are used medicinally, such as marijuana and coca, so why can’t herbal oils and minerals do the same? They may not be fast acting like the aforementioned, but I believe they definitely can be an asset to our immune system, like oil of oregano and magnesium. I take a multi-vitamin (almost) every day along with magnesium. When I feel like I could be catching something I add echinacea drops to my morning drink and at night I have a few drops of oil of oregano (be sure to place it UNDER your tongue) until my symptoms seemed to have cleared.

7. Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands frequently during the cold and flu season. I try to stay away from hand sanitizers and just use soap and warm water.  Wash your hands after using the washroom and remember to do so if you travel on public transit.

8. Prevent The Spread of Germs

If you are sick, help prevent the spread of germs by sneezing into your elbow, not your hand, cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you sneeze or cough, and stay home and rest to help your body recover.

 

Did I forget anything? Are there any special practices you do to keep your immune system strong during the cold and flu season?

 

Photo | Road To 80kg

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6 Steps To Healthier Feet

Healthy Feet: Why it's important!Photo | Getty Images

 

This post may contain affiliate links.

I’m about to write this post and I know some of you guys are going to think that I’m just one big ball of health problems. I’m really not! I just chalk it up to “getting older” and it makes me feel a tiny bit better.

For some time now I’ve had this odd point of pain in my right foot . I noticed it last summer and thought nothing much of it, but it has progressively gotten intolerable to the point where I saw a chiropodist.  Thank goodness! I have a condition in my foot that is just way too scientifically complex of a word to remember. All I know is that if I didn’t get this foot problem checked out, it was going to lead to a much more serious condition called Morton’s neuroma.

Poor posture can affect you in so many ways. This is why it’s important to take better care of our bodies from the ground up.  Bad posture will cause your body overcompensate in an attempt to balance out, which can lead to body aches and pains.

The pain I was experiencing was due to shoes that we toe tight in the toe area and my arches had fell slightly. This was causing a heap of chain reactions in the physical appearance of my body from slouchy shoulders, a curve in my lower spine, and my knees were starting to turn inward. I also didn’t help that when I walked, I would make sure that my foot hit the ground in a certain way in order to alleviate the pain.

Here are the doctor’s general recommendations to take better care of your feet so you can take better care of your body:

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Dark Under Eye Circles: 5 Simple Remedies

mens-concealer-for-dark-circles-under-eyes

 

We often hear that dark under eye circles are caused by being tired, a lack of sleep, or hyperpigmentation for those with coloured skin tones. These causes are usually true for most, but there are other factors you may not be so aware of.

Up until March, I had noticed a change in the dull tone of my skin and a big difference in how prominent my under eye circles became. Even family and friends noted this change, but I didn’t think much about it other than I had probably been rubbing my eyes too much. My doctor suggested that I might have low iron, but when my blood test showed the opposite, I was stumped.

Shortly after my visit to the doctor, it dawned on me that my increasingly dark under eye circles could be health related as I had been having health issues and felt like I had a cold ALL. THE. TIME.

Turns out I have asthma. Soon after learning this, I had developed a sinus infection and I didn’t realize that’s what it was until 6 weeks into it!

All this health stuff started to take a toll on me emotionally and mentally. I gave up and was just eating carelessly and not doing much to keep myself active or healthy – a result of not knowing what my health ailment was and afraid of the uncomfortable asthmatic symptoms I experienced during my gym workouts.

Accepting that I have asthma was the first step in learning how to better care for my health. Knowing what triggers my asthma is one part, but being aware of what I eat is one of, if not THE most important factor in improving my overall health.

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Gifts For Mom’s

Alexandani pull chainAlex and Ani Pull-Chain Bracelet, $84.  I have fallen in LOVE with this brand and what their brand focus is. Sometimes we need a little reminder in our daily lives to help keep us grounded and Alex and Ani give us endless beautiful ways of doing this.

 oatboxOatBox monthly subscription, $20. My mom is a teeny, tiny bit of health nut, she’s very health “conscious” and loves trying new health wise products. She would love this to add on top of her yogurt and yummy breakfast muffins she’s always baking.

hand of buddhaHand of Buddha Jewelry Stand, $50.48. A way for mom to store her favourite jewelry pieces in a way that helps give back to international communities. It’s zen all around.

Canada Plate Serving Dish

Canada Serving Dish, $120. If your mom is someone who is usually the one to host family get-together’s or just enjoys cooking, she will love this large serving dish to present her tasty concoctions. They are also available in various country shapes.

danielwellingtonwatch Classy St. Mawes watch, $149. I received a Daniel Wellington watch last year very similar to this one. I love that I can wear it with every casual outfit, whether it be daytime or night time. This one has a touch of bling to add a little “oomph.”

kate spade cedar street hayden crossbody

Cedar Street Hayden Crossbody, $228. For mom’s who like to travel light and in style.

autoimmune paleo cookbook

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, $35.55. Because I can’t think of one reason not to be more aware of what we put into our bodies.

P.S. Don’t miss our other gift guides!

I have not received any perks or gifts for writing this post.  All views and opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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