Life stinks when you're in your first trimester. Not figuratively, literally and thanks to a heightened sense of smell that clues you into just how many nasty odors normally surround you. In addition to the constant nausea and fatigue, I could barely stomach most train stations or pass by fast food restaurants without gagging when I was newly pregnant. Fortunately, my partner had already helped someone else through a pregnancy, so he knew the things every pregnant woman in her first trimester wants her partner to know.
The first trimester is quite possibly the hardest part of pregnancy. You feel like you're so far from the end, your worries about pregnancy loss are probably at their peak, and you're feeling all sorts of disorienting and possibly debilitating symptoms (particularly for mamas with hyperemesis gravidarum). But because you don’t look pregnant yet, you don’t get the same consideration in public as more visibly pregnant folks do. It's super hard.
If you’re the proud partner of a mom in her first trimester of pregnancy, know that no matter how tough she is, she still needs a little extra consideration right now (and throughout this whole pregnancy and postpartum period, because making and birthing new people is really freakin hard). She can definitely tell you her specific needs, concerns, and whatever else, but here's some stuff to be aware of in general so you can adapt without annoying her with a million questions. Yay for crossing one hormone-driven argument off your list!
Just Cause She Doesn’t Look Pregnant, Doesn’t Mean She Doesn’t Feel Pregnant
If you ever doubted the power of a really small thing to make a huge difference, ask a newly pregnant lady how much the microscopic being in her uterus has changed her life. I chase a toddler around pretty much all day, and I've yet to be as consistently dog-tired as I was in my first trimester of pregnancy. The nausea, fatigue, breast changes, sensitivity to smell, and more are truly no joke.
Yes, She Really Is That Tired
I routinely felt like I was going to fall asleep standing up. First trimester fatigue is next level. Just the absolute worst. She is not making it up. Help her get the rest she needs, and be grateful you're not the one going through it.
Everything Smells. Everything...
When your sense of smell is as sensitive as a pregnant woman’s, pretty much the whole world smells.
...So Please Stay On Top Of Your Personal And Household Hygiene...
This proooobably isn't the time to linger on a hug if you've just gotten back from the gym, or start any personal experiments that involve skipping showers or brushing your teeth less. Taking out the trash every day, keeping sheets and towels fresh, and keeping the dishwasher regularly emptied is also clutch.
...And Don’t Take It Personally If She Still Offers You Gum
Even if you're brushing and flossing and all the other good hygiene things, she still may want you to chew some gum. It's not personal. When I was pregnant, I could basically detect how long it takes for a person’s last toothbrushing session to ‘expire’ (2.5-3 hours 'til discernible staleness).
Beware Of Heavily Scented Stuff, Too
Super scent-heavy things have always bugged me (and can be an asthma or migraine trigger for lots of folks, so chill on the colognes, body sprays, etc. in general, people!). But they were brutal when I was newly pregnant. Ease up on anything super strong when your partner is in her first trimester and struggling against nausea and lightheadedness.
Beware Of Cooking Strong-Smelling Food
Again. Smells. Also, if a newly pregnant mom has a certain food aversion, smelling it cooking can be a express train to puke city. Please steer clear.
Cravings Are A Matter Of Life And Death
Don’t be that person who eats the only thing left in the fridge that she can eat without gagging or retching. You've been warned.
It’s Probably Not Going To Be The Sexiest Time Of Your Life
Sex is usually safe during all times of pregnancy, but when you're tired and nauseous and all that, it’s kinda hard to feel sexy. Not impossible, but hard.
She’s Probably Worried All The Time...
...And She May Not Have Her Normal Coping Mechanisms Available
Maybe your lady was a glass-of-red to take the edge off kinda gal. Or she used a certain medication that's not safe for pregnancy. Or she likes a kind of exercise that isn't safe during pregnancy, or she doesn't have the energy to work out. Finding new ways to cope with new challenges is really tough.
Basically, Just Be Super Nice And Helpful All The Time
She needs you to be really kind and understanding right now, and help pick up some of the slack of the stuff she can't do for the time being. This can be tough at times, no doubt, but she's the one doing the hard part, so if you need to vent, do it with anyone but her. Fortunately, if she chose to have a kid with you, you probably are totally up to this task, so here's your time to shine. You got this.