In many cases, you won't know if a friend or family member is in the early weeks of pregnancy. Why? Well, a lot of expectant moms choose to wait until 12 weeks to announce their pregnancies. So if a newly-pregnant woman has decided to confide in you, it's not only a sign of trust but a subtle request for support. You'll be in an ideal position to be there for her. Not sure how, though? Just try these amazingly kind things you can do for a pregnant woman in her first trimester and I can guarantee you that you'll be your pregnant friend and/or family member's favorite person on the planet.
My first trimesters have been by far the worst part of both my pregnancies. I suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), and it makes it hard to do anything but lie on the couch in abject misery. My nausea is constant, and I vomit on a daily basis. It's a time when I really need to lean on those around me, including my partner, mom, co-workers, and close friends. From casseroles to Preggie Pops to good old-fashioned TLC, my village has come through for me during those very rough three-plus month periods.
Lending a helping hand to a pregnant woman in her first trimester doesn't require a ton of effort on your part, but any of the following (and preferably in combination) would mean a whole lot to her:
Prepare Meals For Her
Between fatigue and food aversions, preparing meals during the first trimester can be everything from a burden to an impossibility. When my mom BFF found out that I had HG, she literally emptied her freezer, packed up a cooler, and dropped off ready-to-thaw-and-heat meals for me and my family. In other words, she saved my damn life.
Go Easy On The Perfume
Many women experience a heightened sense of smell during the first trimester of pregnancy. Unfortunately, this olfactory sensitivity can be a trigger for nausea. If you're going to be around a pregnant lady, do her a favor and lay off the fragrance (and maybe save that hard-boiled egg for when you're not in her presence).
Bring Her A Morning Sickness Kit
According to BabyCenter, around 3/4 of all pregnant women experience nausea and/or vomiting in the first trimester. Consider putting together a basketful of home remedies for an expectant mom in the throes of morning (read: all day) sickness. I suggest ginger ale, sour candy, peppermint tea, and Saltines.
Buy Her A New Bra
According to WebMD, breast tenderness occurs in the first trimester due to hormonal changes and as one's body prepares to feed a newborn... eventually. Mom may be surprised that her boobs are sore or have gone up a size seemingly overnight. She'll thank you later if you Amazon Prime her a nice cotton support bra.
Take Her Kids Off Her Hands
In my opinion, your prime directive as a support person is facilitation of naps. Fatigue is most severe during the first trimester, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA). Mama needs all the rest she can get, but if she already has kids that rest is hard to come by. Taking her little ones out for froyo and park play, so she can sleep, is probably the kindest thing you could do for her.
Help Her Get Excited
If you're tired and sick, it can be hard to remember why you decided to get pregnant in the first place. It gets easier when you're showing and you can feel the baby move, to be sure, but until then the pregnant woman in your life might need some gentle reminders. When I was at my worst, my husband would bring me the iPad and set me up with YouTube videos of babies with puppies to remind me of the end game.
Go Heavy On The Sympathy
Honestly, if a woman in her first trimester complains to you, the correct response is always, "I'm so sorry." She doesn't want to hear about how much worse you had it or that someday she'll look back and miss it. Always err on the side of compassion and sensitivity.
Believe Her When It Comes To Pain & Discomfort
There's nothing worse than having your pain minimized or dismissed, pregnant or not. If an expectant mom tells you that she thinks her pain or discomfort isn't normal, believe her. Believe her and then take her to see her provider. Even if nothing's wrong, she'll feel validated by you and your actions. That, my friends, is a supreme act of kindness.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.