Managing Your First Trimester’s Pregnancy Symptoms 

First Trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy, which spans from week 1 to week 12, is a crucial period filled with significant changes and developments. As your body begins to adapt to the growing life within, various symptoms may arise that can impact your daily routine. Understanding these symptoms and knowing how to manage them is essential for a smoother and more comfortable experience. Let’s understand and explore common first-trimester symptoms, how it will affect you, and what remedies are there to help you overcome the symptoms.

TCM Perspective of First Trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy is a critical period for the formation and initial development of the foetus. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this stage is viewed as a time to ensure a stable and healthy foundation for the pregnancy. TCM approaches focus on supporting the mother’s body, calming the mind, and preventing common early pregnancy discomforts.

TCM focus during First Trimester

  1. Nurturing 精 (Jing) Essence
  2. Calming the mind (缓神)
  3. Fetus Stabilising 安胎
  4. Addressing Common Discomfort

Concept of 安胎 (An Tai) in Pregnancy

The concept of 安胎 (An Tai) refers to the practice of stabilising and protecting the pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage is highest due to embryos not being able to settle during the settling window.

Special Note:

TCM treatments or herbs are typically not administered unless severe pregnancy symptoms occur, as unnecessary intervention can disrupt the natural balance of the body. Only when needed, mothers will go through the TCM treatment and consume TCM prescribed herbs to strengthen the mother’s body and promote a healthy growth of the baby.

Common Symptoms during the First Trimester

During the first trimester, you may experience a range of symptoms due to the hormonal changes and physical adjustments your body is making. Some of the most common symptoms include nausea and vomiting (often referred to as morning sickness), fatigue, breast tenderness, frequent urination, and mood swings. Each of these symptoms can vary in intensity and duration, but they are all part of the natural process of pregnancy.

Nausea and Vomiting (Morning Sickness)

Morning sickness is one of the most well-known symptoms of early pregnancy. It can occur at any time of the day and can range from mild nausea to severe vomiting. This can make it challenging to maintain a normal diet and hydration, which are crucial for both your health and your baby’s development. Eating small, frequent meals and avoiding strong odours can help alleviate some of the discomfort.

Physical Care

  • Rest as much as possible to allow your body to regulate itself.
  • Avoid sudden movements that can trigger nausea, such as laying on your bed for 10 minutes before getting out of  the bed every morning can help your body feel less giddy

Dietary Recommendation

  • Eat small and frequent meals throughout the day to avoid over-stressing your stomach
  • Consume easy-to-digest and simple food like crackers, toast and bananas can help
  • Sipping water, ginger tea or electrolyte drinks can help you stay hydrated and reduce the urge of vomiting.

Emotional Care

Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation or gentle yoga can help Qi and Blood circulation and improve your mental state,.

TCM Solutions for Nausea and Vomiting

If nausea and vomiting become too severe for mothers to move on with their daily life and routine. TCM treatment such as acupuncture and dietary recommendation could help ease the impact of the symptoms

Acupuncture helps to balance the body’s energy flow, reducing the intensity of morning sickness. Ginger, known for its anti-nausea properties, can be consumed in various forms, including teas, candies, and capsules, providing natural relief from this common symptom.

Special Recipe | Sugar Cane with Fresh Ginger Juice

Consume it in small sips to help ease your morning sickness. But do note that sugarcane juice contains a substantial amount of sugar content, so consume in moderation or when needed.


  • 1 Glass of Sugarcane Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Ginger Juice


  • Warm up the sugarcane juice
  • Add in Fresh Ginger Juice


The surge in hormones, particularly progesterone, can cause overwhelming fatigue in the first trimester. Many women find themselves needing more rest and sleep than usual. This can be difficult to manage, especially if you have work or other responsibilities. It’s important to listen to your body and take naps or short breaks when needed.

Physical Care

  • Prioritise rest and naps when needed
  • Light exercise such as walking and prenatal yoga can help boost energy levels

Dietary Recommendation

  • A Balanced diet that is rich in iron and protein can help reduce fatigue. Enjoying your lean meats, vegetables and nuts are good options for you.
  • It’s important to stay hydrated too.

Emotional Care

Maintaining a regular sleep schedule or bedtime routine can improve relaxation and reduce mental fatigue.

TCM Solutions for Fatigue

Acupuncture could help you boost your energy, but it’s recommended not to go through any TCM treatment unless the condition directly affects mother’s and baby’s life.

However,  from a TCM perspective, you can consume more warming foods that can nourish your Qi to improve your fatigue syndrome. A hot chicken soup with 黄芪 (Huang Qi) can combat fatigue. Do avoid raw and cold foods that might cause Qi deficiency during this period.

Frequent Urination

As your uterus expands, it places pressure on your bladder, leading to frequent urination. This can disrupt your daily activities and sleep patterns, especially for a first time mother, as you might not have any experience of this symptom that feels awkward. 

To manage this symptom, it’s helpful to limit fluid intake before bedtime and to go to the bathroom regularly to avoid discomfort.

Physical Care

  • Plan regular bathroom breaks to avoid discomfort.
  • Do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen bladder control

Dietary Recommendation

  • Drink plenty of water during the day but reduce intake in the evening to minimise nighttime trips to the bathroom.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks, which can increase urination frequency.

TCM Solutions for Frequent Urination

TCM treatments focusing on strengthening the bladder and kidney function can be beneficial in reducing the frequency of urination. Kidney-nourishing foods such as black sesame seeds and walnuts can help support your frequent urination symptoms. It’s also recommended to avoid diuretic foods and drinks such as lemons, watermelon and onions.

Understanding your First Trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy comes with a variety of symptoms that can affect your daily life. Understanding these symptoms and knowing how to manage them is key to a healthier and smoother pregnancy journey. TCM perspective provides a holistic approach to alleviating these symptoms, promoting overall well-being through natural and safe methods. Always consult with your gynae or TCM Physician before starting any new treatment to ensure it is safe for you and your baby.

By addressing these common symptoms with both conventional advice and TCM practices, you can navigate the first trimester with greater ease and confidence. Our next topic will focus on managing symptoms during the second trimester of pregnancy, so stay tuned.

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