Walking up a staircase is exhausting during the first trimester of pregnancy, never mind winning a Grand Slam tennis tournament. Yes, that’s exactly what Serena Williams seems to have done. She won a Grand Slam tennis tournament while she was PREGNANT. In a Snapchat post (she removed the post later), the super-athlete captioned a recent image of her belly with the words “20 weeks”. This means that she won the Australian Open despite battling fatigue, morning sickness, and other signs of early pregnancy.
As increased levels of progesterone (a hormone that helps relax the uterus muscles thus letting the body adjust to the baby) kicks in, blood pressure lowers, many pregnant women also experience sleepiness and dizziness.
For those like Williams, who are experiencing the challenging pregnancy symptoms of those early months, here are the basics on how to manage first trimester symptoms, irrespective of whether or not a tennis championship is at stake.
Put the Sugar on hold
While you do not generally need extra calories to support a growing baby in the first trimester, the right kind of calories are more important than ever. Lean meats, plus whole grains, and a rainbow of fruits and vegetables are crucial for restoring your energy reserves. The micro-nutrients in whole foods ensure that you and your baby absorb vitamins and minerals properly. Sugar leads to fatigue and mood swings by increasing the blood glucose levels instantly and causing them to dip Though you might crave sweets, eating in moderation is especially important for keeping blood sugar levels in check, lessening mood swings, heartburn, and even gestational diabetes plus ensuring healthier weight gain. To satisfy the sweet tooth, fruits like strawberries, mangoes, and pineapples can be eaten in moderation. Coconut sugar and honey, are better alternatives to refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.
An extra glass of water a day fights elevated levels of progesterone and relaxin. These hormones slow down the metabolism causing bloating and nausea. Keeping the body hydrated helps in the absorption of nutrients and also passes vitamins and minerals through the blood cells to the placenta. What you eat can also have an impact. Water-rich foods including soups, fruits like oranges and watermelon, and vegetables such as spinach and cucumber keep you hydrated.
Small, frequent meals, first thing in the morning are a good way to avoid nausea. Morning sickness can occur throughout the day so eating regularly can relieve you to certain extent. Extra vitamin B6 in nuts, bananas, nuts, carrots, green beans, and supplements (up to 200 mg) alone or in combination with antihistamines can also help. Make sure that you take any medicines only under medical supervision. Endorphins released during exercising can also help alleviate morning sickness.
Schedule your sleep
First trimester hormones (including human chorionic gonadotropin, which helps to keep the embryo implanted in the uterus) are responsible for increase in moodiness and blood volume. These lead to fluctuating energy levels. Listen to your body and get 7-9 hours of sleep whenever possible. Schedule the sleep in the same way you take out time for a workout. Other hacks include napping in the early afternoon, avoiding evening exercise, and consuming less fluids after 6:00 p.m. to reduce late night bathroom runs.
Daily walks can energize the new mum-to-be (cleared by doctors for exercise). No kickboxing or contact sports, and do not start anything new. Maintain a heart rate below 140 beats per minute. Core work and pelvic floor strengtheners, exercises like Pilates, help reduce back pain as pregnancy advances. Be sure to seek out prenatal classes to prevent diastasis recti (separation of the ab muscles, especially as your stomach grows).
First time mother find it hard to manage first trimester symptoms. Always consult your doctor if the symptoms are becoming difficult to manage.