There is a me-shaped imprint in my disheveled bed. A bed that I’ve been retreating into as much as possible for the past four days. Right on schedule on the first day of my sixth week pregnant, the nausea has hit and hit hard.
The first day, I made it through a workout and walk before the afternoon was just too much for me. A quick grocery store trip produced a multitude of gluten-free crackers/pretzels/rolls, whole milk yogurt, sauerkraut, veggies for stew, almond milk, and a plethora of herbal teas and La Croix bubbly water.
The next day I began compulsively eating crackers and bits of leftovers every hour or so. I was so miserable by that evening and truly desperate to find a way to cope with this 24/7 morning sickness. Commence the researching. And the reminders of the counter-intuitive dietary habits that can help keep the nausea in check. While I’ve been reading blogs and articles from many, many authors and researchers, I do particularly recommend the Modern Paleo Midwife blog and her guide to eating throughout the various trimesters.
Here’s my new foundation for the first trimester:
- Even a little bit of exercise – in moderation – helps. Stretching out the growing body with yoga allows the body to embrace the loosening ligaments and expanding core. Barre or similar bodyweight workouts maintain strength without overtaxing joints. Walking is a good way to maintain cardiovascular health without the pounding of more strenuous aerobics (especially when nauseous). Lifting weights (perhaps more reps with lower weights) with proper form and pelvic alignment has been proven beneficial. When I can, I plan on practicing all of these exercise forms and staying strong throughout this pregnancy.
- A whole lot of grace – and rest – goes a long way. There are days I will not do more than the minimum. Keep Abby fed. Cuddle in bed. Do the best job I can of breathing through the waves of dizziness.
- Despite aversions, PROTEIN is one of the best nutrients to help keep morning sickness in check. While I would prefer to much on crackers all of the time, this does little than calm my stomach for a few moments before the next wave of nausea hits. I was reminded when researching and reading through several articles, that protein is actually a more helpful nutrient source right now. Almonds, specifically, are a great alternative to the constant cracker munching. Today, I’m certainly nauseous and exhausted, but I feel much more in control with my nutritional choices. Here is a rundown of the day so far: Before I even stepped out of bed, I ate 5-6 almonds. Then, within about 15 minutes of getting up, I made a cup of decaf tea with almond milk and several tablespoons of grassfed collagen, a gluten-free bread roll with grassfed butter and honey, and several strawberries. Then, before leaving the house, I forced myself to eat a fried egg. (Surprisingly, I felt so much better afterward.) Throughout the morning, I snacked on a MamaChia packet, more almonds, gluten-free crackers, and (shocker) an Epic-brand Turkey Cranberry jerky bar. (Once again, I felt so much better after making myself eat the jerky.) For lunch I made homemade paleo bread, loosely following this recipe http://www.mommypotamus.com/gluten-free-paleo-bread/, which is incredibly high in fat (good fat from nut butter and coconut oil) and protein (SEVEN eggs in this recipe and nut butter). Two slices of “bread” were topped with smashed white beans, dijon, organic sauerkraut and pesto. My green smoothie contained whole milk key lime greek yogurt, spinach, almond milk, fresh ginger, apple, lime juice, ground flax seeds, and a green juice. I may be sitting in bed right now, but I honestly feel amazing. Not like I want to run a marathon, but also not like I want to hurl 🙂
- Push probitoics and high-fiber foods when possible to combat the constipation. I brew my own Kombucha and actually got adventurous with a fruit kombucha jello recipe available here http://deliciouslyorganic.net/cranberry-kombucha-jello/ this morning. Once it sets up, I will let you know how it tastes this afternoon 🙂 Hopefully, I can handle the texture 🙂
So there. Nutrition and exercise aren’t everything. But, they are something. Even when I’m still on hormone therapy and daily injections. Even when my tired body dreads the thought of walking up the stairs. This trimester is a balancing act, and I’m praying to find a GENTLE and HEALTHY way to survive.
(It’s hard to tell, but the photo below is me attempting to get a “belly” shot without the help of my husband. Enjoying the small bloat that is already making my clothes tight and uncomfortable.)