10 Things To Know About Pregnancy For First-Time Moms

10 Things To Know About Pregnancy For First-Time Moms

Pregnancy is one of life’s most incredible, life-changing experiences. But it really does put you on a roller coaster ride, both physically and mentally.

One minute, you’re admiring that gorgeous “pregnancy glow,” and the next, you’re staring down at your feet, wondering how those cute little things started swelling overnight. And let’s not forget about the emotional gymnastics pregnancy can put you through. You may be bawling your eyes out over a diaper commercial one minute, then seeing red fury at your partner for the unforgivable sin of breathing too loud! The hormones are real, ladies!

If this sounds scary and overwhelming to any first-time mom, know you’re not alone. But here’s the thing: amongst all that beautiful chaos, don’t forget that pregnancy is still easily one of the most magical, awe-inspiring experiences you’ll ever have. Feeling those first tiny flutters of life inside you? Witnessing those little hiccups and kicks for the first time? It never gets old, no matter how challenging everything else may be!

When you finally meet that sweet little human face-to-face after all those months of pregnancy, it’ll all have been worth it. To help you feel more prepared for the journey ahead, I’m sharing a round-up of expert tips for first-time moms on successfully handling the realities of pregnancy and the birthing process.

10 Things To Know About Pregnancy For First-Time Moms

10 Things To Know About Pregnancy For First-Time Moms

Being a first-time mom is one of the most exciting, rewarding, and, yes, bewildering experiences in a woman’s life. Whether you planned every detail meticulously or your pregnancy was an unexpected surprise, those nine months are guaranteed to be filled with all kinds of physical, mental, and emotional curveballs.

To help prepare you for the wild ride ahead, here’s a rundown of some key realities about pregnancy that every new mama should know about beforehand.

Morning Sickness

Let’s start with one of pregnancy’s least glamorous side effects: morning sickness. Despite the name, this nausea can strike any time of day and is often worsened by certain smells, foods, or an empty stomach.

To help combat nausea, try eating small, bland snacks every couple of hours, sip ginger or peppermint tea, and try some foods like these. For some, vitamin B6 supplementation helps to keep nausea at bay. If you’re experiencing severe morning sickness (vomiting that won’t let up, difficulty keeping anything down at all) or have concerns, don’t hesitate to consult your obstetrician or gynecologist to discuss management strategies. Also, don’t be alarmed if you don’t experience morning sickness. While it’s very common to battle this in the first trimester of pregnancy, some women do escape it. 

Constant Bathroom Breaks

With a rapidly growing uterus pressing on your bladder, you may be besties with the restroom starting in early pregnancy. On that note, now is a good time to look into pelvic floor exercises and strengthening to aid pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. 

the prenatal nutrition library search bar

Insatiable Cravings and Food Aversions

One day, you’re craving pickles and ice cream; the next, you can’t stand the smell of anything- even your favorite foods. Food cravings and pregnancy food aversions are incredibly common. We don’t yet know the cause of every craving or aversion, but hormones, heightened smells, and tastes may play at least some role.

Most of the time, it’s recommended that you follow your gut (literally) and eat the foods you crave in moderation. If you find yourself craving non-food items like dirt, sand, or laundry detergent, contact your doctor, and please avoid eating non-food items. 

Emotional Rollercoaster

Blame it on the hormones; mood swings during pregnancy are no joke! It’s not uncommon, but it can take some getting used to. Find healthy ways to work through the feelings, like journaling, prenatal yoga, or chatting with loved ones when you need support.

Extreme Fatigue

Fatigue tends to be most extreme during the first and third trimesters when your body works overtime. Listen to what your body needs and sleep or rest whenever possible; even short cat naps help recharge the batteries. It’s okay to feel “less productive.” Remember, you’re growing a whole human! Ask for help around the house, stay hydrated, and ensure you get enough iron, protein, B12, and complex carbs. Doing all these things can help support energy levels as best we can. 

10 Things To Know About Pregnancy For First-Time Moms

Aches and Pains

As their baby bump grows, it’s not uncommon for mothers to report new aches and pains in the back, legs, and hips and general discomfort as their body stretches and shifts. While this is common, we can help prevent or reduce discomfort with interventions like staying active with pregnancy-safe exercises, walking physical therapy, chiropractics, and massage therapy.

Warm baths and prenatal yoga can also offer sweet relief. Work with professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in prenatal exercise and support. 

Constipation and Hemorrhoids

These are two not-so-fun realities of pregnancy. Sluggish bowels and hemorrhoids may result from various factors, like hormonal changes and increased intra-abdominal pressure. To combat this, drink plenty of fluids, load up on fiber from fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and move your body daily.

Be sure to include plenty of magnesium-rich foods and fats from avocado, salmon, and olive oil in your diet, too. A squatty potty or even a stack of books under your feet can provide major relief, too! If you’re experiencing hemorrhoids, be sure to discuss this with your doctor

Skin and Hair Changes

That wonderful “pregnancy glow” is real, but so are stretch marks, acne, melasma (dark patches), and premature gray hairs. Chalk it up to hormone fluctuations! To prevent some of these side effects, stay moisturized, focus on a well-rounded, balanced diet, and add plenty of omega-3s to your diet. Oh–and enjoy your thick, luscious locks now. Unfortunately, hair shedding during postpartum is very common, and there’s not much we can do to prevent it. 

the prenatal nutrition library app

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Those practice contractions that cause your belly to tighten intermittently? Yeah, no one talks about these enough! They are especially common in the third trimester. As long as they’re infrequent and irregular, Braxton Hicks contractions are harmless warm-ups for the real thing. Change positions, stay hydrated, and alert your doctor if they become rhythmic or accompanied by bleeding.

Forgetfulness and “Pregnancy Brain”

Struggling to find your keys, draw a blank on basic words, or forget why you walked into a room? Welcome to “pregnancy brain,” a real phenomenon that might be caused by fatigue, disruptions in sleep, hormone changes, and even stress. Make to-do lists, use reminder apps, get plenty of rest, and don’t beat yourself up. This spaciness usually clears within a year postpartum.

10 Things To Know About Pregnancy For First-Time Moms

Pregnancy is a nine-month-long journey riddled with new experiences for first-time moms-to-be.

Pregnancy is full of surprises and discoveries. One minute later, you’re in awe that your body is now housing two sets of lungs, two hearts, four kidneys, and basically an entire tiny human life support system. Then the next, you’re like, “Wait, what is happening?!” as your body starts doing things you never knew were possible. 

But amongst all the changes and challenges, there’s an undeniable beauty to this whole experience, too. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly easier to handle with the right mindset and resources!

Speaking of resources, I encourage you to check out The Prenatal Nutrition Library (TPNL) App – it’s a game-changer! TPNL helps you feel good at every stage, starting with pre-pregnancy! Having one reliable place to go where actual experts have carefully compiled all the science-backed information on pregnancy nutrition topics, along with meal plans, snack ideas, and more, is clutch! Whether you’re considering trying to conceive (TTC), already TTC, or pregnant, this resource is for you!

Want to try a sneak peek first? Our Free One-Week Sample Meal Plan is like a meal-prep blessing from the heavens. It includes simple yet deliciously nourishing recipes and snacks specifically crafted by pregnancy dietitian nutritionists to cover all your prenatal nutrition bases. With resources like these in your back pocket, all those inevitable moments of confusion, doubt, and “What do I eat?!” dread won’t seem so daunting! 

the prenatal nutrition library

the prenatal nutrition library feedbackget started here