How to Prepare for The First Trimester

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Positive pregnancy test on counter.Photo Source: LoveJanine

Now, before you start congratulating me, no, I am not pregnant. But, my friend Lauren is. She recently found out that she and her husband were expecting their fourth child. What fun! For those of you who experience morning sickness and an otherwise rough first trimester, “what fun” might not be the first words off your lips. But, truly, a new baby is a wonderful blessing. Here, Lauren offers some suggestions for the first weeks of pregnancy and how to enjoy this phase of “life as MOM.”

Morning Sickness.

Just the phrase brings on feelings of nausea, doesn’t it? I’m currently pregnant with our fourth little one, and I have yet to escape all-day sickness while pregnant.

I’ll be honest: With my #2 and #3 babies I absolutely dreaded the thoughts of being so sick. How was I going to cope? Who was going to take care of my other children while I camped on the couch? Was my family going to eat canned soup for 12 straight weeks? How was I possibly going to make it through the day?

But I decided I was going to make a deliberate effort to change my attitude with this pregnancy. If God was gracious enough to bless us with this little one, certainly I could work hard on my attitude, right? So while praying about my attitude one morning, I had this thought: I can be prepared this time.

Be Prepared

Prepared? What a concept! I was only 5 weeks pregnant and I knew my morning sickness would probably not hit full swing for another week. So I busily made a list of ways I could help myself and my family through this not-so-easy time.

Here are the highlights:

A colorful bathroom with a sink and a window and toilet.

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Photo source: carabou

I deep cleaned my house. My top priority during the first trimester is clean bathrooms. There is nothing worse than being sick in a yucky bathroom, so I made sure those were absolutely spotless. I also ensured my floors were mopped extremely well. It could very well be weeks before they would be touched again!

I washed every article of clothing and bedding we owned. Again, I wasn’t sure when I would get to changing sheets or washing items like bathroom/kitchen rugs. So my washing machine ran for 5 days straight.

I stocked my freezer. Thankfully, I participate monthly in FishMama’s Freezer Cooking Days so I already had a few dishes in my freezer. I needed more than just a couple of meals, so for two hard days I cooked and stocked my freezer. I knew there would be evenings where either I didn’t want to cook or I didn’t want to eat – but my family would! Freezer cooking was essential during this season.

I didn’t schedule any extra commitments. We didn’t have play dates, and I didn’t volunteer for any extra commitments at church. I know that sounds like a not-so-fun mom, but it didn’t seem fair to commit myself to anything outside of my home when I could hardly manage the inside of my home.

I made sure there was plenty for my children to do. I got a few new puzzles, books, crayons, coloring books, paint-by-numbers, and glue sticks. I wanted my children to have some different activities than the ones that they were used to. New activities seem to hold their attention a little longer.

And the best thing I did before the morning sickness arrived:

I worked on my attitude. This was single-handedly the best thing I did to prepare myself and my family. I decided up front that I would not let myself dive into the “oh woe is me, I’m just so sick” mode. It is a privilege to carry a baby and one I don’t take lightly. I was completely elated to be pregnant again, and I didn’t want a poor attitude to mask that.

I did eventually have morning sickness set in around 6 weeks. But honestly, it really wasn’t as bad this time. The actual nausea and fatigue were just as severe as prior pregnancies. But being prepared? It completely saved my sanity and helped my family in tremendous ways. It made all of the difference!

How do you prepare for the fatigue and morning sickness of early pregnancy?

— Lauren Hill is the Mama behind Mama’s Laundry Talk. She couldn’t be more thrilled about having a new little one join their household in November 2010!

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  1. I have just found out I am pregnant with our 4th and I was just thinking about how in the world I would handle being so sick with 3 others to care for. With both of my girls I was sick for around 7 months, really really sick. With my son, it was just the first trimester, so here’s to hoping its a boy again!
    I love the idea of being prepared. I am not by nature an organized person, but I can see the HUGE advantage to doing all this prep the first 6 weeks. I will definitely start planning now to get my meals in the freezer and the house scoured! Thanks so much for your attitude and reminder of what a huge blessing and gift this is!
    Oh, and I am really counting on what the bigger families say…I hope it is easier from 4 on!

  2. With my first and second pregancies I had incredible morning sickness all day long. My third? Hardly anything.

    Cold stuff helped. For several weeks my {almost} sole source of nutrition was Popsicles and fugsicles. Really. {And my prenatal vitamins}. The doctor said eat whatever stayed down. Baby would be fine.

  3. I’m in my first trimester right now (8 weeks) with our first. I did think of stocking my freezer with a few dishes, but to be honest, they all sound absolutely repulsive now! My food aversions are strong. I mostly get nauseous right around meal times, and in the evening. (I’m trying to distract myself right now).
    My plan to cope is to cook easy things that will produce little or no aroma during times when I feel the best. My slow cooker is my friend. 🙂
    I’m just thankful for every bout of nausea that I get because at 6 weeks I had some red spotting, we went for an emergency ultrasound, and did not find a heartbeat. The OB said to return in a week. Fortunately, last week they DID find the baby’s heartbeat, praise God. But it was a week of worry, and every twinge of nausea made me hope (and pray) that our baby was doing OK.
    Now every time I feel ill, although it’s inconvenient to me, I am thankful that it’s a sign that the baby is still growing and doing ok!

  4. I love this post. I was just talking to my DH the other day about how hard pregnancy is but that if I was blessed again I would do better. Every pregnancy he says we are done…but when the baby gets to be about 6ish months he starts thinking about it again. I want him to enjoy the pregnancy more!

    this was so topical for me. I’m also going to prepare as much as I can…and work as hard as I can and NOT COMPLAIN at all. I want to show my children that it is a blessing and not just hard.

    thank you.

  5. I am 18 weeks pregnant, and let me tell you a clean bathroom is a MUST! I have 3 kids already so I have the two older boys cleaning the bathroom for me, and I touch it up during the week just to make sure. Getting sick in a nasty bathroom is the worst!!!!
    Since being pregnant, the smell of garlic has sent me spiraling, and my stepson works at a pizza shop and brings home smelly garlic stuff all the time so I had to ban it. I told him that he either had to eat it there, or outside here, but it could not enter the house.
    Your tips are great! Thankfully I am getting sick less and less…but with my (first) daughter I was sick everyday till the end. So I am happy to finally be getting my life back after pretty much hibernating the first half of my pregnancy. Now I am starting the nesting process! Thanks for sharing your tips! I love reading other people’s advice!

  6. Lauren,
    What a great post! I especially liked what you said about preparing your attitude. Wonderful advice if the Lord gives us a #6. And by the way…I have heard so many moms of” large” families say that it gets easier after #3, and I completely agree! Four and Five were such blessings to us…so much easier and just filling our home with even more joy overflowing. So…..congratulations!

  7. I love hearing all the stories from other pregnant mommas! I am pregnant as well, 22 weeks, with another baby girl (this makes 3). I was not prepared and the first trimester was rough! I did spend a lot of time in a not so clean bathroom and we did eat junk for those weeks. I am trying to get prepared for the “I’m so tired and big I can’t move” part of the pregnancy. I am not waiting to nest-I am cleaning out, organizing, washing baby clothes now while I have the some energy (although not as much as I want!). If I have another baby (which I think I just might) I will definitely prepare my house and my self like you did. Congratulations to all the other mamas!

  8. Enjoyed this post very much! I’m currently 33 weeks along with our 4th child. I have to say, this has by far been my most difficult pregnancy. I was extremely sick and had a LOT of health complications the entire first 6 months.

    I agree with the previous commentor who stated something about just “surviving” when you’re really going through it. I did survive, with the Lord and my husband’s help, but it was very, very difficult. The hardest part was trying to take care of our 3 other children (now ages 6, 4, and 2). Forget the house work! It took me weeks to get things back to “normal” once the misery finally passed.

    I can say a hearty “amen” about the role of attitudes. That was a daily decision (and struggle) for me. I am a go-getter (like you, Lauren, no doubt!). I despite being “restrained” and, well, pregnancy can knock the wind out of you for a while!

    Now I’m feeling better and am more energetic than I have been in months. We are so looking forward to meeting this new little guy in about 7 weeks! I know it sounds cliche, but it really is worth all the misery to bring a new life into the world (and your family). What mama wouldn’t agree?? 🙂

    Kristy @ Homemaker’s Cottage

    1. @Kristy Howard,

      I completely agree with you and the other commenter – sometimes survival is the only way. You’re right in that I am a go-getter and it is hard being ‘down’…but I truly think that God has me be down for a reason. For me, I’m pretty sure it’s a reminder that I can not do everything in my own strength.

      Glad you are feeling better! My house is still recovering and I’m looking forward to that feel-good part in a few weeks!


  9. I’m currently 12 weeks pregnant with our 6th and was thoroughly prepared for morning sickness to hit at week 6, as it’s always worked like clock-work with children 1-5. I FULLY stocked the freezer with meals (breakfast and dinner) and snacks (tons of muffins, bars, etc.). Well, needless to say the one time I was prepared was the one time morning sickness never really hit hard. I’m thankful for the preparations and lack of morning sickness, but I can’t help but laugh at the whole situation! 🙂

  10. What a great post to find this morning…..after one of the hardest days being pregnant ever.

    I was ready as can be for pregnancies #1-#4, but we lost those last two. (We have two beautiful girls.) So when we got pregnant the 5th time, I didn’t take it on. I didn’t think about it; I didn’t prepare for it; I didn’t have hope.

    I’m not out of the woods but everything is looking good so far. And I feel sick as a dog….praise the Lord. But I’m paying for my lack of preparation. And my attitude is stinky, hormonal, afraid, and sometimes angry. I could be doing better.

    Thanks for letting me pour out. It is a demonstration how you have a ministry through your blog. (If you have enough on your plate, don’t take on my emotional burden.)

    1. @Shelah Miller,

      Shelah, I feel for you!!! We have been blessed with 2 beautiful boys and lost a baby in Dec 09. Devastating to say the least! I am now 5 months pregnant with a little girl and feel blessed! However, having experienced a loss has changed everything for me!! I have had moments of complete fear and anxiety and the anger, oh the anger. So, not my character!!

      The only thing that has brought me complete comfort is my relationship with God. I am starting to see His Glory even in the loss of our child.

      I did not prepare our home for this pregnancy, but the OP is correct, a lot of it is about attitude. And I needed that reminder!!
      But I am slowly starting to prepare for the birth so that we will have plenty of food stocked and clean floors when the time comes!!


    2. Oh, Shelah. You know my story, right? Sometimes I think God let me walk that walk so that I could understand other women on the same path. (Though I know He had lots of reasons.) I lost three babies in 11 months and I was a wreck by the end of it. Will be praying for you! God is good, and I’m so thankful that you are “sick as a dog.” Praise God! 😉

      And, you’re not an emotional burden….

  11. Excellent advice!

    When I was pragnant with baby #5, I was sick almost the entire pregnancy! It was awful. I wish I had the motivation and thought ahead of time that you did!

    And you’re right, it always hits at the 6 week mark….

    I am going to share this link with my Facebook followers!

  12. I am pregnant and just found out I am having a girl! Yay! Now we’ll have two boys and two girls.

    I have very difficult morning sickness and did all these same things at the beginning of my last couple of pregnancies. But, as time wore on and the sickness did not relent, it was hard to keep a good attitude, even though that was my plan. The unexpected always happens and our family got the flu while I was in morning sickness, found ourselves house shopping, lost my grandmother, and preparing for a big move and a home purchase, etc.

    Being prepared does help, but if your sickness is bad, all you can do is survive. With my third pregnancy my parents paid for a mother’s helper to come once a week and it was such a huge blessing!

    Here is a thread I wrote on Morning, Noon, and Night Sickness that I’ve recently, and very thankfully, come out!

  13. I had hyperemesis for the entire first trimester and into the second with my first and now second pregnancies—I wish that I had realized that I was pregnant before the hyperemesis set in with the second, because I would have definitely tried to be more prepared. But, as it would happen, we thought that I had food poisoning for 2 days before we realized that I was pregnant with baby #2. Ah, well.:)

  14. I’m nearing the end of the first trimester myself – just a few more weeks! I don’t have morning sickness that badly, just a constant, ever present nauseous feeling, but it’s enough to render me completely ineffective some days. I didn’t do all the advance cleaning and prep that you did, still am able to keep it up as long as I do it in the morning (evening is when my m/s hits), but I DO have to work on my attitude. On a daily basis. 🙂 Remembering to be grateful when you feel like junk is hard work.

    1. @Anne,

      Amen and amen.

      It’s a daily, constant effort to keep a good attitude for me. Please don’t think from my post that I have it all together in the attitude department. I definitely don’t! It just (shamefully) took me 4 pregnancies to finally figure out what a big piece of it attitude is.

      Congrats on your pregnancy 🙂


  15. I’m 31 weeks pregnant, also with #4 and I took all of the same steps to prepare!! I made sure our pantry was stocked with lots of quick and easy breakfasts and lunch options as well as the prepared dinners in the freezer. I was also soo blessed, at that time my husband had the option of flexible hours and he was able to switch his work schedule to an evening shift. He was home most of the day to help out with the kids and went into work later in the afternoon. I just had to do dinner and bedtime and then I was off duty. It made a huge difference and was his greatest gift to me!!

    1. @Allison,

      Congrats to you on #4! Isn’t it great how you learn how to do things ‘better’ with each pregnancy?!

      I only wish I had known with my first!


  16. Great post! I just entered my second trimester a week ago and have been incredibly blessed to not have been sick once. I suppose I was just one of the lucky ones. I loved these tips though! I especially loved the idea about the freezer cooking as last night we grabbed pizza as I was so exhausted I barely moved the whole day! They say in your 2nd Tri that you receive some renewed energy so I hope to pack away some meals for those days when I’m too pooped to cook. Thanks for the wonderful tips and congratulations to Lauren on her pregnancy!