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“From eight to 12 weeks I was overcome by tiredness I couldn’t fight,” says Jane, 26, mum to Harrison, four months. “I finally confided in my boss, who let me into the first-aid room so I could snooze in my lunch hour!”
During the first trimester the foundations for all your baby’s vital organs are being laid down — and that’s tiring.
Pregnancy & Birthexpert and midwife, Megan Baker, says many women also feel a lot of anxiety in early pregnancy. “This is normal, but can contribute to tiredness.”
“Adapt your lifestyle,” says Ros, 44, mother of three. “Go to bed early and if you feel sick and tired at weekends, just rest.”
“Eating little and often to maintain your blood sugar level can help, too,” says Megan.
“I felt like a zombie the first few weeks,” says Val, 34, mum to Tilly, five months. “Once, it took me three goes to sterilise my breast pump — I kept forgetting different parts!”
“Your hormones can make you feel euphoric initially,” says Megan. “But by about day three, oestrogen crashes down and prolactin (the milk hormone) levels rise, which slows you down. And that’s accompanied by broken nights — some babies can wake as often as every hour.”
“Take things one step at a time,” says Megan. “And think of your day as a 24-hour clock. Buy a pile of CDs and books for during feeds and try not to fight this time.”
“I remember running for the bus one morning at just six weeks pregnant and my boobs were agony!” says Lisa, 27, mum to Freya, seven months.
Sore, tingly breasts can be one of the first signs you are pregnant because your body prepares for breastfeeding even at this early stage.
“Your breasts can grow a lot, so be on the ball about your bra size,” says Megan. “And avoid bras with underwiring, which can cut in. You may also find your breasts hurt when they get cold. A wrap-around cardigan can help.”
All new mums experience sore breasts again as milk comes in.
“If they are really sore, taking paracetamol can help,” says Megan. “So can showering in warm water until they drip milk, and using cold compresses for comfort. Also, try sleeping in a supportive bra or crop top. The soreness will usually settle down six days after milk has come in.”
All new mums experience sore breasts again as milk comes in.
“I went through a rollercoaster phase emotionally,” says Sharon, 32, mum to Jack, six months. “Tears over an advert one minute, rage the next if my husband had bought the wrong loo roll!”
The cocktail of hormones in early pregnancy are partly to blame, but you also have to get to grips with a lot psychologically.
“Many women experience a period of self doubt,’ says Megan. “Lots of areas of your life are undergoing big change. It takes a lot of courage to say ‘I have doubts’.”
It helps to talk with other women in the same boat — but this can be tricky in the first trimester. Online forums can be a very useful support.
Snappiness, mood swings and tearfulness can all return now, as tiredness, fluctuating hormones and the responsibilities of parenthood combine and feel overwhelming.
This is also another period where many women can experience self-doubt. You may be wondering “what have I done?” but this is quite normal.
Meeting up with other new mums and using online parenting forums will help reassure you other people are feeling the same.
Talk about how you’re feeling with your partner, too. Things will be feeling very different now for both of you, but if your partner understands what you’re going through, he can be a great source of support.
It helps to talk with other women in the same boat.
“Simple words for things would escape me, and I was constantly losing things the minute I put them down,” says Rebecca, 28, mum to Millie, seven months.
Any temporary scattiness that you experience in pregnancy is thought to be down to your higher levels of oestrogen. “Oestrogen generates a feeling of wellbeing but may also affect your ability to concentrate,” says Megan.
You can’t do much to change it, and Megan suggests spending pregnancy learning to slow down. “This is a time of huge adjustment which continues once your baby is born. You’ll adapt more easily if you can learn to be patient.”
After the birth you may be left wondering whether your memory will ever return to what it was. “This is down to exhaustion and could be related to changes in oestrogen and progesterone, too,” says Megan.
“But it can also be to do with adjusting to being a mother. If you fight things – for example, if you still want the house as neat as it was before — you may feel scatty and weepy,” says Megan.
“If you were always very in control before, you may have to let go a bit more,” says Megan. “Try keeping a clipboard on your fridge to write things down the instant you think of them. But also let your partner know you need support and tolerance. He needs to be reassuring while you adjust.”
WATCH: Jesinta Franklin shows off her growing bump …
“I felt so bloated — it was horrible. All my clothes started to feel too tight around the waist almost immediately,” says Angela, 34, two months pregnant.
“At the end of your first trimester you may notice that you have lost your waist definition and the whole area appears square,” says Megan. “And you may notice fat stores around your hips, upper thighs, breasts and bottom — these are laid down in preparation for your milk. It’s all very normal and not forever.”
“Wear comfortable clothes that don’t restrict you,” says Megan. “And try to focus on what’s happening to you inside.”
You can adapt clothes, for example, with an elasticated buttonhook for your usual jeans and trousers. And buy a few new things to boost your feel-good factor.
“I thought I’d almost regained my figure, until I pulled on my old jeans a week after the birth and couldn’t get them past my hips!” says Kate, 32, mum to Finn, five months.
It may take up to a year to get back to almost how you were. Everything has been stretched and you probably have extra fat, too.
“Breastfeeding can help your uterus return to its normal size, but also try lying on your tummy in bed to help the uterus drain,” says Megan.
“After six weeks, you can start mini tummy crunches and gradually focus on building your core muscles up. Keep at it, have faith and the muscles will respond.”
Concentrate on eating healthily and do some exercise — getting out and walking briskly with your baby in the park two or three times a day is good enough.