First Trimester Tips from Dr. McCulloch ND

I have some exciting news to share! My hubby, Aaron and I are expecting our 2nd baby at the end of November. We are beyond grateful to be adding to our family and giving our little daughter a baby brother or sister. I am well aware of how challenging it can be to hear about a pregnancy announcement if you are struggling to conceive. I see you, I feel you, I was you ❤ All fertility journeys are different and I’m grateful to be on the other side of mine. If you have been struggling to conceive and are looking for some guidance – I would be happy to support you on your journey. I will be working until mid-November and our amazing team of NDs will be seeing my patients until I return in the spring.
First trimester survival guide!
I wrote a very similar article when I was pregnant with Lily and thought I would revisit it and update it to offer some new tips and tricks to help all the new mamas out there.
Well, this go-round was a little different, as we found out we were pregnant 2 days into mandatory quarantine. It was an exciting surprise and I thought to myself, “Oh, by November life should be back to normal”. Fast forward to July and I am starting to question the logic back then! In theory, this was a perfect time to be pregnant – I was spending all my time at home, not missing out on any fun social gatherings and never once had to pretend to order a glass of wine so my girlfriends wouldn’t question me. However, I had my adorable, busy, exhausting toddler with me ALL THE TIME! We are very fortunate to have my parents down the street, a very engaged mother-in-law and lots of family support around us and to have that taken away was hard…and I mean REALLY hard! I was next-level tired this time and not sure if it was the busyness of running after Lily or the stress of dealing with these unprecedented times, but the fatigue was fierce and I was unable to nap whenever I wanted as I did in my previous pregnancy! Fortunately, I was a lot less nauseous which was a much welcomed change.
I used my naturopathic tool kit to help me get through and am happy to report I am feeling back to myself again and full of energy! Here are some of my top 1st trimester tips:
1- SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP – Your body is making a little person: this requires a ton of energy . Make sure you adjust your bedtime and add more down time to your schedule to accommodate the changes that are happening to your body – you will thank yourself for this one. I made a point of trying to get to bed by 9pm whenever possible and some nights I was even crawling into bed by 8pm!
2- Have your iron levels checked – Low iron levels in general can make you feel fatigued. Now add the demands on your body and doubling of your blood volume and you might be very deficient. Low iron can contribute to fatigue and can easily be aided with a simple iron supplement. Ideally, we are addressing this preconception, but it should always be re-evaluated during pregnancy.
3- Ensure you are taking the right amount and right kind of Folic Acid – We always recommend the activated folic acid (5-methyltetrahydrafolate) since, depending on your genetics, you may not convert folic acid to folate – the activated form. Without testing someone’s genes or getting into too much of the biochemistry of it all, the activated form is what your baby needs. High quality prenatal vitamins will have the activated form already in there. Speak to your ND if you have questions about this and are not sure what to take.
4- EAT, EAT, EAT – if you think you are hungry it’s too late! Make sure you eat immediately upon waking and eat a small meal every 2-2.5 hours – this is the best thing you can do to settle any nausea. Also, ensure you have a protein with every meal – this really helps to combat nausea, makes you feel full and will balance out your blood sugar levels.
5- Let go! I was having a conversation yesterday with a patient about what COVID policies might be in place when she delivers her baby in the fall. We discussed the need to let go and release control around this one. Things are changing by the week and we have no idea what our world and hospital procedures will look like by then. Practicing letting go and taking things day by day. This will help to release any tension or stress and help you stay present and grounded – all important things to do, especially when we are pregnant.

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