Pregnancy nutrition can seem overwhelming during the first trimester, when you are dealing not only with the emotional impact of having a baby, but a host of hormonal changes as well.
Most expectant mothers want to change the food for pregnancy they eat overnight, but making drastic changes can actually backfire and cause more stress than incorporating lifestyle changes slowly.
In this article, we cover the four basic facets of first trimester nutrition so that you can begin to make adjustments in your diet as you can, without stressing out over major lifestyle transformations.
Making the Switch to a Healthy Diet
In a perfect world, you would switch to an all-organic, whole food diet even before you get pregnant, or at least in the weeks after you discover your pregnancy. But this is reality, and making this transformation can be difficult.
You should aim for eliminating all processed and non-organic foods from your diet because they can lead to a plethora of health issues for you and your baby. On the other hand, this is not an all-or-nothing kind of deal. Begin by choosing organic and all-natural meat and dairy products, as they contain the highest levels of hormones and pesticides that you should eliminate from your eating plan.
Then try removing processed foods from at least one meal per day. Taking these small steps can have a profound impact not only on your health and wellbeing, but on your baby’s development as well.
Cutting Back on Sugar and Caffeine
If you are like most pregnant moms, you want to eliminate caffeine and sugar, and artificial sweeteners from your diet. But doing so can be difficult because our bodies become chemically dependent on these substances over time.
For caffeine, experts agree that you can safely ingest 150mg per day during pregnancy, so aim at first to cutting back to that amount. Once you’ve made it there, then you can try cutting it out of your life completely—but continue to do so slowly.
For sugar and artificial sweeteners, you’re in luck—there are a range of all-natural sweeteners available to satisfy your sweet tooth. Agave syrup, raw honey, xylitol, and stevia can sweeten your meals and beverages without the caloric punch of sugar or without the troubling chemicals that artificial sweeteners contain.
Dealing with Morning Sickness
The first trimester of pregnancy is notorious for being the trimester most associated with morning sickness. As your body adjusts to the hormonal changes of pregnancy, you may find yourself overwhelmed by nausea at any point during the day, though mornings are the most common time period.
If your nausea is incapacitating, you should talk to your OB/GYN about treatments. There are natural treatments available if you want to manage it on your own. Ginger is particularly good for calming nausea, but don’t indulge in ginger ale, which is high in either sugar or artificial sweeteners. Instead, slice some ginger root and boil it to make a tea, then sweeten with stevia and sip slowly throughout the day.
Eating protein can also help with nausea, though you may not feel up to eating meat while you are sick. Try a handful of raw nuts or a spoonful of nut butter and see if that helps to ease your morning sickness.
Handling Stress with Grace
The next nine months are the most wonderful but also the most stressful months of most women’s lives. As your body changes and your hormones continue to adjust, you may feel overwhelmed with stress. Try to find a way of dealing with this pressure that suits your personality.
For some, yoga is the answer, while others prefer journaling. One mother might prefer dinner out with friends while another might treat herself to a prenatal massage. No matter what the method, find a healthy way to cope with stress, and begin using it during this first trimester for the best results.
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