Monday, February 8, 2010

1st Trimester - The Seedling

First Trimester - Tulip by Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton.
First Trimester Tulip by Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton

O humanity, if you are in doubt about the resurrection, remember that We created you from dust, then from a drop, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed, in order to edify you. And We keep in the womb those We wish, up to a designated term; then We bring you out as infants, and enable you to reach your maturity: but some of you will pass away, and some of you will be kept here until the age of senility, such that they know nothing of what they knew before. And you see the earth lifeless, but then We shower water on it, and it stirs and swells and produces every beautiful species."
(Qu'ran 22:5)

That sums it up doesn't it? What a beautiful verse. The first trimester is an exciting time. The promise of a new life, a change, can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. A meeting of the sperm and the egg, traveling deep and burrowing into the muscle layers of the uterine wall, begin a cascade of hormonal changes in the mother's body. This is the beginning of placentation, and a foundational moment for the rest of the pregnancy. From here it is a continuous miracle of cell division and organ formation, forming the "lump of flesh, formed and unformed" which Allah refers to in the verse above. In this entry I want to talk briefly and generally, about some of the physical and emotional symptoms that these changes can bring and offer a holistic approach to alleviating any discomfort they might provoke. Please comment on what has helped for you during these precious first three months.

The most notorious symptom of these hormonal changes is the dreaded nausea! Women experience nausea in varying shades and degrees. Some have nary a flip of the stomach to others who vomit so intensely that they must replace the lost fluids with an IV. Most women fall somewhere in the middle. One of my teachers insisted that the more out of touch a woman is with her body, the worse the nausea is. Here is what I recommend.

  • I love red raspberry leaf tea. It is a nutritive herb, providing minerals in an easily absorb able form. I recommend buying the herb in bulk. You can make a tea pot of the herbs and drink from it throughout the day. Steep for at least twenty minutes. Strain and enjoy. You can let it steep for as long as you like, the longer it steeps the more medicinal it is. It does taste a bit like hay, so it can be sweetened with honey or lemon. Drink throughout the pregnancy.
  • Some nausea can be attributed to low blood sugar. I find that a lot of women, when not pregnant, don't eat consistently throughout the day. It is hard to adjust to the body's increased caloric demands during pregnancy. Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day can help alleviate any nausea due to low blood sugar. Carry food with you at all times!
  • Get plenty of fresh air, exercise, and breathe deeply. The increased intake of oxygen can help to increase circulation which can help to decrease the greater levels of acids and carbon dioxides now accumulating in the blood.
  • Homeopathic remedies can be phenomenal in their abilities to turn nausea around. Each remedy has different indications, so please read more into their unique properties. The ones which I've seen work most consistently for nausea are Nux Vomica, Sepia and Pulsatilla.
  • Ginger tea, peppermint tea, and/or anise with fennel teas are all soothing to the digestive tract.
  • Aromatherapy also helps if you have nausea worsened by smells. Try a warm bath with lavender, sweet orange, or sandalwood essential oils. Also try a couple of drops on a cloth and sniffing it throughout the day.

Cramping and/or bleeding can be a frightening experience during pregnancy. In some cases though, it is a reassuring sign of pregnancy. As the uterus rapidly expands in size and weight it goes through toning contractions. The ligaments which suspend the uterus in the body have to stretch along with the pregnancy. This can cause round ligament pains which can often be quite sharp and crampy. Bleeding, usually spotting, can occur with implantation of they embryo, it may also occur around the time you would expect your period, and after sex. If you experience heavy bleeding and cramping contact your midwife or doctor.

  • Use a hot water bottle or take a warm bath to alleviate round ligament pains
  • Stretching and/or massage can also alleviate these crampy sensations.
  • Make sure you are hydrated as dehydration can also cause cramping.
  • Make sure you are emptying your bladder as a full bladder can also cause cramping!
  • Turn inwards and locate a place of deep knowing and trusting. Remember Allah’s words above, “And we keep in the womb those We wish, up to a designated term”. Remind yourself of the power, bounty, and generosity of our Creator. Submit to the mystery of the process.

Your baby’s liver, kidneys, heart, lungs and much more are rapidly developing during the first weeks of gestation. As you can imagine this is a very sensitive, yet crucial window of time. It is affected by everything around us, and everything we put in our bodies. Here are some suggestions to get their organs off to the best start:

  • Stick to organic, high quality foods. If you can’t afford to buy organic everything, here is a link to the dirty dozen, the foods most contaminated from pesticides.
  • Clean your air. Open a window to air out any indoor air pollutants that may have accumulated in your house and/or car.
  • Check with your midwife or doctor regarding any herbs, or medicines before you take them.
  • Stay away from parabens. These are mostly found in lotions and cosmetics. They are carcinogenic.
  • Try to switch to natural cleaning products. Chemicals from standard cleaning products can be harmful to fetuses and adults alike. Vinegar and baking soda do wonders around the house!

The prospect of becoming a mother, whether it’s your first or fifth time can bring a flurry of emotion. One can feel anxious about the added responsibility, shy about the noticeable changes in ones body, as well as excited at the prospect of a baby. It’s good to be honest with yourself and your family about these feelings. They are normal. As our bodies make way for a new life, so must our psyches. Sometimes there is more of a struggle than others. Be kind to yourself, soon you will feel the fluttering of new life within, bringing with it a new slew of feelings and excitement.

Lastly, it is also a time of soul development! The baby’s sustenance, deeds and ultimate destiny before Allah will be decided sometime around the end of the first trimester, beginning of the second. It is recommended to keep our internal houses clean as well. Mothers should try to stay in a state of wudu, read Qur’an, be in a state of dhikr, and generally prepare for the arrival of angels. They are bringing gifts from the heavens insha’Allah. May this time be a reminder to us as well, for as Allah states in the verse above, “…if you are in doubt about the resurrection…” , and then He advises us to reflect on this miracle occurring right inside of us! What an awesome way to draw near to Allah.

Please leave your advice and best solutions to any of the above in the comment section.

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