First Trimester

First Trimester Nutrition

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I was hesitant to write this post because it is most likely the opposite of what you would expect a health professional to write.  I get asked almost daily what I am eating and if I’m sticking to my typically paleo-ish lifestyle and the answer is No.  Not even close.  Some days I am upset with myself for what feels like being a fraud; always preaching a natural diet when I’m currently over here living off of Poptarts and PB&Js, but at the same time I feel like I’m in straight survival mode.  It does weigh on my brain.

Each of my pregnancies have been completely different as far as the type of morning/ all damn day sickness is concerned, but the one thing they all have had in common is that I can’t stand protein.  No bars, powders, poultry, seafood or meat- at least in the first trimester.  The thought of it makes me nauseous, and the smell even more so.  And not nauseous, like “oh, my tummy is unsettled,” nauseous like I’m on the verge of heaving.

The only “meat” I can handle is deli turkey.  Before I get jumped on for eating deli meat and the possibility of getting Listeria, I am going to point out the statistics- there are only 2500 cases of Listeria (from all foods) per year and deli meats are now sprayed with some disgusting additive that helps prevent Listeria before being packaged.  The odds of getting it from produce are actually much greater than deli meats.  Now, I’m not telling anyone to go out and eat it, I’m saying that it is my choice and I’m OK with those odds, especially when it comes to practically starving without it.   My midwife agreed.

The only other way that I can get in protein is to eat Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.  Both are excellent sources of protein, even though I fight against dairy like crazy.  I KNOW that the digestive issues I am experiencing is caused by all the extra dairy, but protein is essential.  It should be everyone’s #1 goal to try and eat an adequate amount, a minimum of .85g x body weight.  I still am not reaching that, but I try.

BTW Oikos 360 Greek Yogurt has 15g of protein and a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese has 12g.

So back to the Poptarts and PB&Js that I’m sure everyone is curious about… between weeks 6-10 I was so sick that the only thing I could eat was carbs.  For 2 days all I could stomach was Chicken n’ a Biscuit crackers, then I had a Poptart phase, but mostly it was either a PB&J or if I couldn’t handle that it would be plain butter toast.  I’m not against carbs, but I don’t like to eat grains and most days that was all I could even think about eating.  To top it off, unlike my other pregnancies I have been getting MORE sick if I don’t eat something every couple of hours.  So I’m literally forcing myself to eat when I’m sick-to not get more sick.  It’s twisted!  I will say though, the first time I ate a Poptart I did a little dance, I forgot how good they tasted, but after eating nothing but that for 3 days because that’s the only thing that wouldn’t make me dry heave, I quickly got over the excitement.

I forgot how badly morning sickness sucks!

Now, not every single day was that bad.  Every now and again I would try to eat what I cooked for my family.  I ate 1/2 a pork chop and maybe 1/4 c of green beans one night and I thought that was major success!  I would also try a salad with some grilled chicken in it, but it was hard to get through and even my favorite salad felt like it had no taste and was hard to choke down.  I ate a lot of fruit which is better, it’s natural at least, but still all sugar.

Despite how sick I was and how lame most of my food choices turned out to be, I do have several tricks that made my sickness LESS horrible.

First Trimester Nutrition Tips

  1. Do the best you can and take it one day at a time.  I beat myself up a bit for not doing better, but every day I tried to make the best choices I could.
  2. Take your vitamins in the evening.  Every time I tried to take them in the morning, I was even more nauseous for several hours.  Taking them before bed ensured I slept through any discomfort.
  3. Eat every 2-3 hours to avoid blood sugar fluctuations.  When my blood sugar got low, I felt even more shaky and sick.
  4. Cover your nose to cook for your family.  I got so sick just smelling the food that I was cooking for everyone, it’s like I have a bloodhound sniffer!  I covered my nose with a sweatshirt to power through and that kept me from throwing up.
  5. Cut out all of the caffeine.  I had pretty much cut it out already, but I noticed that if I did have a cup of regular coffee (the only thing that could keep me regular with all this dairy) I would get much more sick.  Worth a try at least!
  6. Workout and do your chores during your “good times.”  I got more sick throughout the day, so working out in the AM and getting as much done before noon as I could ensured that I was somewhat productive for the day.  Same goes for eating, I ate as much good food as I could in the morning because I wasn’t going to be able to eat it in the afternoon.  This was opposite my other pregnancies where I woke up rough and felt better by the end of the day, therefore working out in the evening.
  7. Eat protein any way you can.  I usually count my macros and get my nutrients from paleo-ish foods, but during survival mode I was even eating dairy and Lean Cuisines just to get that protein in.  It made me so much more bloated, but it’s better than nothing at all.
  8. Drink a lot of water!  It keeps you more full and hydrated which is never a bad thing.  Lemon water has been my best friend, especially since I have felt incredibly dehydrated all day, every day pretty much since I found out I was pregnant.
  9. Keep crackers next to your bed if you are someone who wakes up sick.
  10. Eat smaller meals more frequently, as overeating will most likely make you feel worse.
  11. Graze on bad days.  Yup, like a cow.  Just eat a little bit here and there all day long.  I would walk in and out of my kitchen like a hundred times, taking a small handful of this or that, whatever sounded edible; it kept me going and my blood sugar stable.
  12. Stock your kitchen with tons of healthy foods that you CAN eat.  The only veggies I like right now are tomatoes and cucumbers so I have enough to feed a small army.  That way I know that if my stomach is settled I can get in something decently healthy.  I’m also digging bananas, grapes, strawberries, apples and blueberries-which oddly enough I usually hate.

Every pregnancy of mine has been so different, but these 12 first trimester nutrition tips have gotten me through every time.  Listen to your body and give yourself a break.

I follow a fitness celebrity who is also pregnant, so while it’s fun to follow her and know she is going through the same journey I am, it was a bit disheartening to see that she was sticking to her macros, working out 6 times a week still and looking perfect while doing it.  Not comparing myself to her has proven to be difficult at times, but our lives are different so there really is nothing to compare.  I will always do my best with what I have and in the end, that’s all that matters to me.

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