Your pregnancy journey will require extra attention on what you are eating. When you’re expecting a baby, what you eat and drink, the environment you live and work in, and your overall health can affect the life inside of you.
Establishing healthy habits in your first trimester will help ensure your healthy lifestyle during pregnancy:
- Eat wisely and well. Research suggests that the quality of a mother’s nutrition during her pregnancy may have a lifelong impact on her baby’s overall health.
- Eat plenty of dark, leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, etc.)—your best source of the folic acid that is so key to healthy fetal development.
- Avoid raw or undercooked meats and seafood, as well as foods made from unpasteurized milk (including many soft cheeses).
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
- Take your daily prenatal multivitamin, which also contains folic acid. Research has found that pregnant women who take multivitamin supplements with folic acid lower their risk of having a low-birth-weight baby and birth defects, such as cleft palate.
- Snack on healthy foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts. Limit foods high in sugar and carbohydrates (including juice and soda).
A common ailment among pregnant women, “morning sickness” is usually limited to the first trimester, though some women experience it throughout pregnancy. Nausea affects most pregnant women, while vomiting affects up to about 1 in 3. If you are experiencing morning sickness, consider:
- Increasing the protein and complex carbohydrates in your diet. Crackers (to provide carbohydrates) and cheese or peanut butter (to provide protein) are an ideal combination. The cracker will raise your blood sugar quickly, and the cheese will keep your blood sugar level more even.
- Snacking lightly throughout the day, or “grazing,” rather than eating three big meals. An empty or overly full stomach is more prone to nausea than one with a little food in it.
- Avoiding spicy or acidic food.
- Keeping a box of saltine crackers on your bedside table if your nausea is bad first thing in the morning. Nibbling one just before getting out of bed may settle your stomach and allow you to eat a full breakfast later. Sometimes it helps to lie down for a few minutes after eating.
- Drinking ginger ale or lemonade (or even sniffing ginger or lemons) can help ease nausea.
- Asking your healthcare provider about taking vitamin B6, which can relieve.
Learn more about prenatal care at HealthONE and check back here next month for second trimester nutrition tips!