1st Trimester Nutrition: what should I eat?

Life is funny. Sometimes it takes going through a life event as an "expert" to truly become an expert. Before I got pregnant I thought I knew how to help my pre-natal clients. I realize now that I really had no clue. And when it comes to 1st trimester nutrition - what you eat really depends on how sick you are. 

What I mean is that I could give you all the best nutrition advice in the world, but if your food aversions are stopping you from eating those foods or you can't seem to keep anything down, none of my advice will help. That's where I've changed my tune when it comes to 1st Trimester Nutrition.

So what do you do when every food on the planet is vomit-inducing?

First and foremost, don't ditch your clean eating efforts entirely. Any little bit of nutritious foods you can get in each day is good for early growth of baby and provide you with as much [well needed] energy as possible. But if you're having major food aversions or vomiting on the regular, eating anything you can stomach is good enough for me.

On the other hand, if you're lucky enough to pass over morning sickness and get through the first few months of pregnancy unscathed, it's a good idea to get your nutrition on track now...before your cravings and hunger spike.

How many additional calories do you need in the 1st trimester?

Thought pregnancy meant you're "eating for two?" Think again. Drum roll please...you need an additional ZERO calories, yep none, per day during the first trimester. What you take in on a daily basis as it is, is plenty enough to nourish your body and begin the development of your little bundle of joy.

Continue to follow a clean eating lifestyle filled with lots of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. But remember to cut out the list of foods provided by your doctor: sushi, cold cuts, unpasteurized milk and cheese, alcohol, caffeine (limit 1 cup per day), raw eggs, unwashed produce, undercooked meats, and high mercury fish like shark, swordfish, mackerel, and albacore tuna.

Suffering from major Morning Sickness?

Don't over-do it on high sugar, low-fiber comfort foods and drinks. This will do little to alleviate your nausea and will only serve to spike your blood sugar, and make you feel even worse (if that is even possible) when you crash. Find a high-protein food you can tolerate and have plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially oranges and green apples which are known to relieve nausea, to stay regular and hydrated. Here are some other tricks to try:

  • Ginger tea. Ginger is widely used to relieve nausea and vomiting and is effective for pregnant women. Have a hot cup of tea after meals to settle your stomach.

  • Try acupressure wristbands, which work by utilizing pressure points in your wrist to relieve nausea. Researchers from the University of Rochester studied the effects of these wristbands on therapy-induced nausea in cancer patients with great success. This makes them a low cost and discreet way of treating morning sickness.

  • Go outside. Just 30 minutes walking around the block in the fresh air can put a little pep in your step and give you a break from morning sickness.

  • If you can muster up the energy for a workout, get in the gym and make it happen. Since your joints are loosened in preparation for baby, up your reps and lessen the weights. This will help reduce risk of injury while still allowing you to work your muscles.

  • Preggo Pops - seriously - these things are amazing. You can get a ton of them on Amazon or at your local Target. 

If you find yourself having a hard time keeping anything down, it may be time to see your doctor so he/she can prescribe you an anti-nausea medication. In the meantime, pick bland foods that are high in protein and calories to help you avoid losing weight. Think protein shakes with coconut oil or fish oil blended in, full fat yogurt instead of nonfat, and even bagels with cream cheese. If all else fails, eat whatever feels appetizing to you – you can always clean things up when you’re feeling better.