10 First Trimester Tips From a Labor and Delivery Nurse!

Last Updated: February 16, 2024
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

By Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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Looking for some first trimester tips?

Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Whether you’ve been trying for years, or got pregnant on the first try, seeing that pregnancy test turn POSITIVE is a moment no mother will forget. I think every mama out there can remember the exact scenario of events surrounding that special day.

Well, the truth is for some women, that first trimester can be agonizing. In fact, I would argue that the first trimester is THE WORST TRIMESTER of them all. Sure, it does stink at the very end of pregnancy because you’re big, uncomfortable, and you have a baby kicking you in the ribs.

But morning sickness BLOWS. And that first trimester fatigue BLOWS. Your body is attempting to get used to the idea that it’s growing another human.

Not to mention, most miscarriages occur during the first 13 weeks gestation. For this reason, many women delay announcing a pregnancy until they’ve reached the second trimester.

So today I’m hoping to help you find some RELIEF and comfort. Let’s get right to it: first trimester survival tips straight from a labor and delivery nurse (that’s me!).

Follow @mommy.labornurse on Instagram to join our community of over 640k for education, tips, and solidarity on all things pregnancy, birth, and postpartum!

Let’s find some first trimester relief!

Sooooo you feel like crap, and you can’t open up to anyone about it! Talk about depressing. In fact, depression and thoughts of hopelessness/loneliness are most common in the….YOU GUESSED IT, first trimester.

Well, the good thing is, there is a light and the end of the tunnel. Most women report that upon entering the second trimester (or shortly after), morning sickness slows way down, you have a bit more energy, and overall you just feel better about your pregnancy.

With that said, here are a few first trimester tips in no particular order to help get you through that pesky time period!

First trimester tips: 10 tricks!

1. Morning sickness bands

first trimester tips

I have a good friend who swears by these things. They aren’t the most fashionable, but who really cares! They are little elastic bracelets that emit continuous pressure onto acupressure points located on the inside of your wrists. Drug free, and nothing that you must ingest either. You can snag them off Amazon here 🙂

2. Alchohol swabs

This is a “nurse trick”. When I have a patient laboring who is on the brink of vomiting, I give her an alcohol swab to sniff. Don’t ask me why this works, it just does. When I was having trouble with nausea in the first trimester, I used to keep a handful of these in my purse. Anytime I would feel that wave of nausea coming on, I would open one and take a nice big SNIFF.

3. Start a Pregnancy Journal

A journal you can write in each week to document your pregnancy is such a fun way to pass the time. I still go back every once in awhile and flip through the pages of the one I used during my first pregnancy.

When you are feeling so crummy in that first trimester, it gives you something fun to do!

4. Crackers…before you get out of bed

Saltines on your nightstand, y’all. Eat a few before you even pick your head up off the pillow. Sometimes it’s just a matter of moving to get out of bed in the morning to kick-start your nausea, and getting something in your stomach FIRST THING can help combat that queasy feeling. Keep some in your purse too, for later in the day.

5. Protein

Eating small, frequent, high protein meals can help keep that nausea at bay. It’s a known fact that Vitamin B6 can help decrease the symptoms of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. So, consuming foods that are packed with this element (such as chicken, turkey, nuts, chickpeas, legumes) can help ease that stomach.

In fact, focusing on prenatal nutrition (the best you can right now) can really help keep symptoms like nausea and fatigue.

Get more info related to prenatal nutrition and resources to help in this article!

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6. Take some pics

This is a fun activity that will give you a distraction from those first trimester blues. I took week by week belly shots, and one of the coolest parts is comparing the beginning (I took one the day I found out I was pregnant) and end (3 days before I delivered). Highly recommended!

I use the Baby Story App to add little fun stickers to my pictures, it’s free! Or you can get a cute pack of bump stickers/signs to use as a photo prop.

7. Exercise

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A post shared by Liesel Teen BSN, RN | Pregnancy + Birth (@mommy.labornurse)

Maintaining a regular exercise routine during pregnancy is not only helpful in battling fatigue, but it can also help jump-start your morning, and leave you feeling energized throughout the day.

Many women report that exercise can help ease nausea as well. Take it easy though, 30 minutes per day (3-5 days per week) is all you need to reap the benefits. Walking, yoga, Pilates, or swimming are great examples.

Related Reading: 7 Benefits of Prenatal Fitness

8. Take your prenatal at night

Prenatal vitamins get a bad rap for leaving that uneasy feeling in your stomach. While prenatal vitamins are extremely important to take during your pregnancy, it’s hard to swallow a horse pill when you are on the verge of vomiting.

Many women find that taking their prenatal before bed, or sometimes switching to a different brand altogether helps to fight morning sickness.

Heads up, if you aren’t already, pregnancy tends to make you very constipated. And, one reason may be your prenatal vitamin. Learn more about how to combat that constipation here.

9. Anything ginger

Ginger root contains a few chemicals (gingerol and shogaol) that help soothe an upset stomach. Ginger works by relaxing the intestinal tract, and serving as an anti-inflammatory agent to your upset gut.

Pregnant or not, ginger will help you feel better if you are having tummy troubles! There are a ton of different ways to ingest this powerful spice. Ginger ale, ginger snaps, ginger pills, or ginger mints!

10. Lemons (or lemonade)

This is one I haven’t personally tried, but have heard from a few friends. Supposedly sucking on a lemon, or sipping lemonade can help ease a nauseated belly.

It’s the tartness of the lemon that theoretically alleviates your symptoms. Lemon is also considered to be an anti-inflammatory agent to your intestines. If you aren’t a lemon girl, LIME will do the trick as well.

Bonus…Pedialyte freezer pops for nausea

If you are having trouble keeping down fluids, these Pedialyte freezer pops will do the trick! I have not personally tasted these, but from what I’ve heard (and read) they seem to be very yummy, and very effective!

They’ve got zinc and extra electrolytes to help replenish what you’ve lost from vomiting, and I know I’d rather suck on a popsicle than drink fluid when I feel nauseated.

The first trimester isn’t easy, but you’ve got this!

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A post shared by Liesel Teen BSN, RN | Pregnancy + Birth (@mommy.labornurse)

Getting through that first trimester can be rough! I remember it well. Hopefully, some (or all) of these tricks can help.

One other GREAT way for dealing with all this? Distraction and solidarity in the form of online communities like blogs and social media!

If you’re not already, be sure to join the Mommy Labor Nurse Instagram community.

Prenatal care workshop
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve spent countless hours with women who felt anxious — even fearful — about giving birth. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way for you!

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