Your first trimester of pregnancy is a big one! It brings a lot of excitement, but it can also bring a lot of challenges! For many women, the first trimester brings bouts of nausea, a great deal of fatigue, tenderness, and even some heartburn. There’s a lot going on in your body, and it’s important that you stay fueled and healthy during this crucial time.
As a general rule, your first trimester brings on the most symptoms and they typically go away, or at the very least improve, by the beginning of your second trimester. But, this is also one of the most crucial developmental times for your baby. During this time, your baby is developing its brain, heart, spinal cord, all its facial features and so much more. This requires a great deal of energy which is another reason why food is such a crucial component of your first trimester!
We’re going to be exploring what foods to eat during the first trimester that will give you energy, help your baby flourish, and keep you taken care of as well! Not to mention, we’ll also be sharing some foods to help curb nausea and tips for eating when experiencing pregnancy symptoms in your first trimester.
What Foods to Eat During the First Trimester
Now that we’ve taken a closer look at some really important vitamins and minerals to add to your diet, now let’s look at what food to eat during your first trimester! There are all kinds of suggestions out there, and it’s always important to follow your gut (and taste buds), but these are some great foods to eat during your first trimester that will be great for both mama and baby!
With smoothies, the possibilities are endless! You can incorporate so many different fruits, veggies, dairy products, and more that will not only meet your dietary needs but also taste delicious! Smoothies are quick, delicious, refreshing and a perfect way to sneak in some healthy eating! Here are some suggestions of things to put into your daily smoothie…
2. Spinach or Kale
Dark, leafy greens are loaded with nutrients, like iron, that are great for your pregnancy! Most of the time, you can’t even taste them in the smoothie so why not sneak them in?!
All different kinds of fruits offer different health benefits. Oranges and pineapple have a great deal of vitamin C while bananas offer a nice serving of folate and potassium!
You can make your smoothie more creamy and nutritious by adding some dairy! Milk will add some protein while yogurt will be a good source of probiotics!
5. Protein Powder
For even more of a boost, you can always add protein powder to your smoothie! If you’re looking for some protein powder suggestions, be sure to check out the Best Protein Powders for Pregnancy!
6. Lean Meat
Protein is really important during your pregnancy, but the iron that many meats have is what is essential! While most lean meats have iron, red meat is known to have even more! So, if you’re craving a burger, go for it!
In general, salmon is an incredibly nutritious source of protein to eat whether you’re pregnant or not! But, what makes salmon especially good for you in the first trimester is its amount of Omega-3 fatty acids!
Similar to salmon, salads are always a good choice! But, they’re a great way to sneak in a bunch of the vitamins and minerals you need throughout your first trimester! Dark, leafy greens will add some iron to your diet, then you could top your salad with nuts for some healthy fats and lean meat for some protein!
Lastly, eggs are another great staple to add to your diet during the first trimester! Not only are they a great source of protein, you can also add more to them for both flavor and nutrients. For example, you could make a spinach and mozzarella omelet for some leafy greens and dairy. The possibilities are endless!
Foods to Eat to Help Ease Nausea
The foods in our list above are some basic foods that will add more vitamins and nutrients into your diet in the first trimester. In an ideal world, these are the foods that you want to have in your diet, but, unfortunately, the first trimester brings a lot of obstacles.
One of the biggest obstacles that moms-to-be experience during the first trimester is nausea. If you could, you would eat perfectly for you and the baby all the time, but a lot of times that just isn’t reality when you’re dealing with food aversions and intense nausea.
Thankfully, there are foods that many women incorporate into their diet to help curb their nausea. Here are a few…
Ginger is a great food to help with nausea. There have been studies to prove its validity as well as many moms who swear by this trick.
There are lots of ways to incorporate ginger into your diet. You can include it in your juices or teas, put it in your meals, or they even make special anti-nausea ginger candies!
Peppermint is another food to try when you’re looking to get rid of your nausea! Whether it’s in the form of gum, tea, or even in a sweet treat, peppermint has been found to have a calming effect on your stomach!
For a great deal of future mommies, the thought of any food makes them wince. When this is the case, especially if you are also experiencing sickness with your nausea, the biggest priority is to keep food down. One of the best foods to eat when you are sick during the first trimester are carbohydrates.
When we say carbohydrates, we don’t mean donuts and chocolate cake with icing. We mean bland foods, such as crackers, toast, and rice, that will keep your stomach calm and get you and your baby some calories. Of course it’s ideal to eat from the list above, but you may reach a time in your first trimester when you simply need to go into survival mode and eat what you can!
Vitamins and Nutrients Needed in the First Trimester
If you haven’t already, you need to be taking a prenatal vitamin throughout the entirety of your pregnancy! It contains vitamins that are crucial to your baby’s development and your health!
The thing to remember with any vitamin or nutrient that is needed, is that if you’re not getting enough of it, your baby will actually steal it from you! Thus, leaving you depleted! That’s why it’s important to not only take a prenatal, but also incorporate healthy, nutrient rich foods in your diet so that both of you are getting what you need!
So, in addition to your prenatal vitamin, there are other vitamins and nutrients that you should be incorporating into your diet. Here are some of the most important…
All pregnant women are at an increased risk for anemia. More specifically, they are at risk for the type of anemia that results from an iron deficiency. During pregnancy, you need approximately 2x the normal amount of iron to help provide blood flow and oxygen to your precious little miracle. Because of your increased risk for an iron deficiency, it is crucial that you make sure you are eating foods that are high in iron!
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Also known as DHA, Omega-3s have a multitude of benefits for pregnant women in their first trimester and beyond! Eating foods with Omega-3 fatty acids has been proven to prevent preterm labor and lower the risk of preeclampsia! It has also been found to help with your baby’s brain development!
Calcium is another important nutrient for both mama and baby! Just with children and adults, calcium supports bone health and development in babies as well. What better time to make sure you’re getting calcium-rich foods than when your baby’s bones are actually being formed in the first trimester?!
4. Vitamin D
What’s interesting about vitamin D is that it is not only good for boosting your immune system, it also helps calcium to be absorbed! So make sure you’re also getting a good helping of vitamin D through both your diet and adequate sunlight!
Eating Tips When Battling Morning Sickness
More than 70% of women experience morning sickness during the 14 weeks of pregnancy! Now that we have some foods to eat during your first trimester, let’s take a look at some tips on how to eat when battling nausea and morning sickness…
1. Eat more frequently
Sometimes, when your stomach is completely empty, your nausea can really kick into gear! It’s important to eat small meals and snacks regularly to keep your stomach satisfied and the nausea at bay.
2. Make small, sustainable adjustments
There is so much going on in your body! If you weren’t eating the healthiest before, now is not the time for a complete overhaul. Make small adjustments to your diet at a time for more sustainable results!
For example, if you usually have one Coke and a candy bar a day for snack, try just eliminating the soda first. Once you get used to that, try replacing your candy bar with a granola bar or something healthier!
3. Sneak veggies and fruits as often as possible
This is why we think smoothies are so great! A lot of times, food aversions are so intense that even the healthiest eaters going into pregnancy can’t face a squash without feeling queasy.
So, if and when you can, add some greens to your smoothie or sneak some spinach into some chocolate chip muffins. Get creative and think of some ways to add nutrition without adding to your nausea and morning sickness!
4. Listen to your body
At the end of the day, your body needs fuel. If you can’t stomach the thought of a salad or the mere whiff of broccoli sends you sprinting to the restroom, don’t force yourself to eat it.
Your body knows what you absolutely need. Don’t force anything, and know that your baby is getting everything that he or she needs! For many women the first trimester is truly survival mode, and that’s okay!
Food is an important part of your baby’s development, but it’s important to remember that your prenatal vitamin will provide your baby with everything that he/she needs! We hope that you found this article helpful in navigating the tricky combination of your first trimester and eating healthy!
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