Last Updated on September 24, 2023 by melissanreynolds
The first trimester can be hard for anyone, let alone a woman with fibromyalgia, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Pregnancy with fibromyalgia is not a picnic, although some women do experience a remission from their symptoms. I was so wrong when I thought that several years of fatigue and a decade of chronic pain could prepare me for this whole new level of fatigue, nausea – and by extension, pain.
For ease of language, I refer to fibromyalgia most often, but this incorporates chronic pain, chronic fatigue and insomnia. I personally have the chronic pain condition myofascial pain syndrome as well, so my experience between the two is indistinguishable.
I had to learn the hard way, through personal experience, how to manage pregnancy with fibromyalgia before I found enough research to be useful, so I share everything on this blog so it isn’t as hard for you.
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Here’s my tips for coping with the first trimester
Acupuncture for nausea –I found this to be a total lifesaver, my physio knew the right spots for hitting that nausea caused by the whirling hormones in my body. She also gave me a pressure point stimulator on my wrist that I could press when I needed. Unfortunately, my existing conditions mixed with the pregnancy problems and I couldn’t separate them, I had no idea how much was “reasonable” or “normal” for pregnancy. Try also: ginger and peppermint.
Rest when you can – this is something I couldn’t ignore. There were days when I got up at 7 and needed a nap at 10. I was so lucky to work from home! Rest, rest, rest. You won’t get much when the baby comes. I wasn’t able to, but make a rule of not going out after 7 too often, that would have been so awesome. (I haven’t yet learnt to properly stand up for myself, maybe one day I’ll master this). Since I wrote this article, I have profoundly benefited from meditation, see more about meditation here.
For more tips about early pregnancy symptoms see here
For Pain Relief in Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia see here
For a sneak peek into the third trimester when pregnant with chronic pain see here
- Keep moving– I did my absolute best to keep exercising. Sometimes I couldn’t, other times I managed 20 minutes of walking (something I continued until my last day of pregnancy, and for which I’m thankful for). If walking is out of reach, a bed yoga routine could be an idea (for the first trimester, before you’re advised to stay off your back).
- Eat little and often – this is something that’s natural to my metabolism, but I found that eating less amounts, more often helped. If I had food in my tummy, but not too much, I was less prone to nausea and I had more energy. Yes it is best to focus on vegetables, fruits, protein and healthy fats. But if carbohydrates are calling you and you can’t stomach anything else, go for it! Just try to stick with wholegrain rather than refined flours.
- Find your Shapes – find that food that helps your tummy when you’re nauseous. At first, what helped changed weekly. But after a while Shapes (small, flavoured crackers) became my go-to. I must have gone through a dozen boxes in my first trimester!
- Manage your pain as best as you can – Ideally you will have previously discussed what medicines you can and cannot continue to take while pregnant with your doctor. If not, make an appointment as soon as possible to discuss it with a knowledgeable (and compassionate) practitioner. Also utilise all the natural pain management mechanisms possible. Rest, sleep, warm bath, heat pack, stretching, Yoga Nidra etc.