Common Early Pregnancy Symptoms, Books for Pregnancy & Baby Prep!

Common Early Pregnancy Symptoms, Books for Pregnancy & Baby Prep!

Hello and welcome to week 5 - your baby is growing and is now the size of a pomegranate seed!

I hope you’re feeling okay / good / great / amazing! Everyone is different and will be feeling differently (mentally and physically), and one thing I’ve learned from being pregnant twice and talking to many people who have been pregnant is that almost anything that may feel weird is totally “normal”. Weird is the new normal!

Personally, I experienced the following few common symptoms in the first trimester of my pregnancy (and some not so common) and here’s what helped me!

Nausea!

Nausea during pregnancy

Seriously one of the worst feelings, am I right? I never actually ended up vomiting but came close quite a few times (punching the couch often helped stop the urge). I found that I was less nauseous if:

  • I was not as tired. Going to bed early and taking naps if I could was really helpful.
  • I didn’t have an empty stomach. Having snacks on hand at all times like a banana or these chia squeeze packs was a real game changer for me!
  • I had lemon candies or ginger drops! I was skeptical of both at first but got desperate and tried them and they actually helped me!

Extreme Exhaustion

I like to call it extreme exhaustion instead of fatigue because it really felt like fatigue was not a strong enough description for what I was feeling. Especially with my second pregnancy, I was feeling very rough and exhausted for my whole 1st trimester and beyond. Maybe it was running around looking after a 1 year old that did it? The only thing that really helped me at all was getting as much sleep as possible, and just being horizontal (often on the floor). No magic tricks for this symptom, unfortunately!

Back pain during pregnancy

Mild Cramping & Back Pain

I felt a bit of cramping with some spotting in the early weeks of pregnancy. Speaking to my OBs was reassuring as they checked and let me know that this was normal and prescribed hormones to help.

My back pain and round ligament pain showed up a little earlier in my 2nd pregnancy and I found that my belly band was the best solution for this.

On days where I put it on in the morning, I found I would be in less pain by the end of the day! This one was recommended to me by my chiropractor who said she tried them all with her clients and this was the winner.

Leg Cramps & Trouble Falling Asleep

Definitely something I did not expect to experience was cramps in my calves at night! Sometimes they would even seize up which was not fun at all. I also found that I had trouble falling asleep which was nuts to me as I have always been such a good sleeper. After a lot of research (and checking with my OBs that it was safe) I found this magnesium cream to be a legit miracle worker as it helped immediately with both issues. My husband and I (even after pregnancy) both use it regularly as we find it helps with sleep and back pain.

Digestive Issues

I consider myself to be a pretty ‘regular’ person when it comes to going to the bathroom, so you can imagine how annoying it was to experience digestive issues in pregnancy. My OBs recommended magnesium to help with mild constipation and digestive issues. After lots and lots of research (and approval from my docs) I tried this which I used for the rest of my pregnancy and beyond as I loved it so much!

Swollen Armpits

Please reach out to me if you experience this as I have yet to meet anyone else who this happened to!! At some point in my pregnancy (I can’t pinpoint exactly when) I noticed that my armpits were soooooo so so swollen and VERY sore and tender. As I did with EVERYTHING, I brought it up with my OBs who said that it was, of course, ‘normal’ and that it was my body getting ready for breastfeeding. Did you know that some people have breast tissue in their armpits? I had zero idea. I guess I’m one of those people! I had no solution to this other than warm compresses and massaging (that did not really help) and eliminating any and all forms of tank tops from my wardrobe.

Worrying about everything during pregnancy

Worrying and Wondering About Every Little Thing!

Okay, so this is not necessarily a symptom but it is certainly something that happened once I became pregnant!

My husband and I like to be very prepared for just about anything in life, so we did a LOT of reading and research. Some books we liked, some we didn’t!

Here are our favorites:

FAVORITE BOOKS FOR PREGNANCY

The New Rules of Pregnancy by Adrienne L. Simone, MD, Jaqueline Worth, MD and Danielle ClaroThe New Rules of Pregnancy by Adrienne L. Simone, MD, Jaqueline Worth, MD and Danielle Claro

After we found out we were pregnant with our first baby, we were almost a bit too excited to go to Barnes & Noble and peruse the pregnancy book section (pre-pandemic times were so blissful!). Totally by coincidence, the one book that I decided on getting for myself that day ended up being written by the OB that we had chosen to work with!


I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who is pregnant. It is easy to read, so reassuring and filled with everything you might be wondering about with a very common sense approach that doesn’t make you freak out about things you really shouldn’t be freaking out about. It’s also a great gift for an expecting parent / mama… plus, Amy Poehler loves it so yes, please!

Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong--and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster

Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong--and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster 

We actually never got this book but all of my current pregnant friends are loving this one so I thought I’d pass on their recommendation! My mama friends love Emily Oster’s unwavering commitment to providing facts, statistics and evidence based answers to ALL the questions you might be having. Should I breastfeed? Can I drink while pregnant? She tackles these controversial topics with all the information you need (in a non-judgemental way) so you can be empowered to make your own decisions.

We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook by Adrian Kulp

We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook by Adrian Kulp

This book had prime real estate on my husband’s bedside table for the duration of my pregnancy. Almost every night he would pick it up and find the relevant section for where we were in pregnancy. He says it was a great way to spoon feed your way through pregnancy. He liked that he could understand what was currently happening with me and the baby, what to expect as well as the ways in which he could be most useful to me, the pregnant one!

 

First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou

First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou
More of a postpartum care book rather than pregnancy but a great one to read when thinking about birth recovery. Postpartum is nuts, especially the first few months! This was one of our go-to books for when we were pregnant. We pre-made and froze a lot of the recipes which was really useful in the first weeks of having a newborn + recovery and it had excellent advice caring for a mother after birth. This book really emphasizes the idea of focusing on mama’s health and recovery (not just baby) which is so important and often overlooked.

 

FAVORITE BOOKS FOR BABY CARE / PARENTING

The New Basics: A-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent by Dr. Michel Cohen

The New Basics: A-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent by Dr. Michel Cohen

We found that it was super easy to find what we were looking for as the topics are organized alphabetically, the advice was helpful and straightforward and the book in general was just very reassuring to have on hand - especially through the first few months of having a new baby around! Dr. Michel Cohen’s message throughout is not to worry so much and I really appreciate this approach. I will always cross reference information with our doctors, baby nurse, nanny, friends, family etc. etc. etc. but I find that this book is always at the top of my pile when I am tackling a new milestone / challenge!

P.S. I actually found out about this book when I was reading another favorite book for parenting / baby prep - Pamela Druckerman’s French Children Don’t Throw Food. This book is a really fun read with lots of great little parenting tips intertwined - so many common sense little things linked to respectful parenting in there, which of course I loved!

Precious Little Sleep: The Complete Baby Sleep Guide for Modern Parents by Alexis Dubief

Precious Little Sleep: The Complete Baby Sleep Guide for Modern Parents by Alexis Dubief

Oh my goodness, baby sleep, what a daunting topic!

This was and still is our go-to book for understanding how babies sleep and tips on how to help them in any situation.

 

Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood by Michael Lewis

Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood by Michael Lewis 

My husband really enjoyed reading this book and buys it for his friends who are going to be fathers. He says it’s a very lighthearted take on becoming a parent and raising children, and gives you a little window into the chaos and joy that is parenthood.

 

… and that’s it! These are all the books that gave us the information and reassurance we felt we needed, and it’s often the list of books we provide or gift to friends who are newly pregnant and asking for recs! Connecting with expecting and new parents is always helpful too - always feel free reach out to me with questions as I love to hear from you and help in any way I can!

 

FOLLOW @christinehanrutledge

 


 

Meet Christine Han-Rutledge!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christine is a mother of two with a Master’s in Early Years Education. She has always been passionate about teaching and working with the tiniest humans. Her goal is to provide her family with healthy and sustainable choices at all times, and to share those tips with you!

Visit Christine's page