As any gestational surrogate can tell you, the first trimester of pregnancy can be rough. A couple of weeks after you find that the embryo transfer was successful and you’re pregnant, the excitement slowly wears off and the reality of the situation sets in. From the moment of pregnancy, you’re likely to experience a whirlwind of bodily changes. It is hard work growing a person, and the first trimester can be a difficult introduction. These tips will help keep you comfortable:
Go out and find your tribe.
Even if you haven’t let everyone in on your pregnancy news, it’s incredibly important to have support from others who have gone before you, or even those who are also in their first trimester. If you’re keeping your surrogacy on the down low, you should consider seeking out a good supportive group of expectant or prior surrogates online, in forums or otherwise. When in the trenches, it’s good to know you’re not alone.
Pack the right snacks.
The hallmark of an early pregnancy is an increased appetite, so don’t let your hunger catch you off guard. It’s a good way to contract “hanger,” the lethal combination of hunger and anger. Curb your hanger by planning ahead and packing small snacks to take with you throughout your day. Grains, fruit, nuts, and dairy products will cover the essential nutrients you’ll need and keep you full for longer. Coconuts, in particular, have a zillion beneficial properties, including the ability to prevent dehydration, contain a ton of potassium, and are loaded with electrolytes – basically everything you need while pregnant. And coconut oil can help with stretch marks and boost your baby’s immune system, as well.
One of the things you undoubtedly notice in the first trimester is the feeling of pulling an all-nighter, but without the exam. Your best bet? Sleep! If you usually pull in around 7 hours a night, try and aim for 9. If you have a chance in the afternoon or early evening, take a brief, 15 minute cat nap. It can make all the difference in the world.
Document your surrogacy.
Even if you aren’t a Pinterest guru, documenting your surrogacy can be a fun and memorable way to pass the time. Something as simple as a picture or journal entry every week will be a treasure the intended parents to cherish for years to come. Also, you may not know this, but it’s a fact that being pregnant makes you have some of the weirdest dreams, which science can vouch for. Another interesting thing you can do is keep a dream journal. Besides soothing your nighttime anxieties and vivid subconscious, a dream journal can be a hilarious and insightful memento nine months from now.
Coping with nausea.
There are absolutely no hard rules for pregnancy, but if you experience “morning sickness” during the first trimester . . . congratulations, you’re normal. Up to 85 percent of pregnant women experience morning sickness, nausea and vomiting during their first trimester. For women who are severely affected, there are medicines, such as Zofran, that a doctor can prescribe to help with nausea and help mom get on with her daily life. For milder forms, try eating a small meal every couple of hours and keeping crackers, peppermints or gum close by, which can help in a pinch to keep down what you have put into your mouth.
Give your body a time out.
Even if you don’t look the part yet, your body is still hard at work being pregnant. Give yourself a break by allowing yourself to rest more than usual, and go easy on yourself during the day. Don’t feel obligated to say yes to every social event, and take a sick day if you have to. As a gestational surrogate, you’re already giving a lot of yourself to others.
Swollen and sore breasts comes with the territory. They can be a problem, but normally only if you are a tummy sleeper and when you discover that you have grown out of your bras, or can no longer you’re your button up shirts. While you do not want to spend a fortune on new undergarments when you get pregnant, one of the smartest shopping decisions you can make is purchasing a couple of comfortable bras to wear out and some that you can sleep in can help better support your breasts and help with the pain.
Dressing for pregnancy.
This is a whole other art form altogether, especially during the first trimester. Your body will start changing, but not just yet. You’re still too be small to be sporting “bump” clothes, although some looser jeans may be in order. You’ll want to take advantage of this small window time and fill your wardrobe with slouchy tops, sweaters, and empire-waist dresses.
The good news for gestational surrogates is that most of the time the first trimester pregnancy symptoms will start improving towards the end of the first 13 weeks. By the time you hit the second trimester the nausea will be gone, and food will go back to tasting good again. Nature is kind to women and gives them the second three months to recuperate from the first three, and prepare for the last three which will bring a whole new set of issues.