First Trimester Nutrition Tips

Lindsay Watkins, RD, IBCLC

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Finding out you’re pregnant is an extremely exciting and joyful time. Fast forward a few weeks and you may be hit with nausea, fatigue, headaches, and bloating. Aside from the physical challenges, the emotional ups and downs of pregnancy can take a toll as well. A lot of women also feel lonely in the first trimester, before they share news with family and friends.

Often, nausea can be the most irritating symptom in the first trimester. You will likely not be able to completely cure your nausea, but here are a few tips to help “survive” those first 12 weeks.

  • Aim for small, frequent meals, not allowing yourself to get too hungry or too full.
  • Keep your blood sugar balanced by eating some protein with your carbohydrate snacks. Meat is a common aversion – try dairy foods, eggs or beans.
  • Try salty, sour, or cold foods – these include dried tart cherries, salted nuts or crackers, popsicles, yogurt or smoothies. This smoothie bowl is a great combination of carbs and protein, and fruit is often palatable in the first trimester.
  • Stay hydrated by slowly sipping fluids throughout the day – consider sparkling water with a splash of juice, coconut water, or herbal tea if water is not agreeing with you.
  • Keep a bland snack such as crackers or a granola or protein bar by your bed and snack on it before getting out of bed.
  • Rest as much as possible, honor your body by doing what feels best. That might be lying on the couch or taking an evening walk. Fresh air can sometimes provide relief.
  • Consider taking your prenatal vitamin at night, with food, or taking a prenatal vitamin without iron if your doctor approves it.
  • Talk to your doctor if you’re not able to keep fluids down, or feel your nausea is too difficult to handle.
  • Here are three simple yoga moves that can help alleviate pregnancy nausea.

Give yourself some grace during this time, you’re growing a human! Eat what your body craves and keep these tips in mind. You will likely be able to return to your normal diet in the second trimester.