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A Guide on What to Eat in The First Trimester of Pregnancy

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best foods to eat when pregnant first trimester

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It is often noticed that amongst the other pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and food aversions, the diet tends to take a back seat in many pregnant women, especially in their first trimester of pregnancy.

What is perhaps overlooked is that the body experiences a surge of hormones as it continues to develop not just for one but for two that could also, if not taken care of, lead to nausea. None other than the progesterone hormone itself can trigger discomfort and indigestion like constipation and reflux.

However, it is not new that during early pregnancy, most moms-to-be tend to divert themselves from pregnancy nutrition such as fruits and vegetables or even their favorite foods. But, the good side or a sign of relief is that the appetite kicks back by the second trimester.

You may also ask, ‘What about pregnancy nutrition?’ keeping in mind the need for whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids. To help the pregnant woman with this, we have curated this article that helps prevent nausea and also makes sure of the diet, especially during early pregnancy.

Read on to know more! But first,

How Many Extra Calories Do Pregnant Women Need in The First Trimester?

According to obstetricians and gynecologists, a pregnant woman will need to aim to eat at least 2,000 calories per day, which perhaps could also increase as per the activity level of the mother-to-be.

This means, getting enough as three meals a day with a snack or two. However, if eating large portions is a problem, try concentrating on the quality, such as the nutrients that will help both you and the little one.

What Nutrients Must a Mom-to-be Consume Alongside The Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Here are the important nutrients to be consumed especially in the food to eat when pregnant first trimester:

1) Folic acid

Folic acid is one of the most essential micronutrients that are needed to be a part of the first trimester, as well as, prenatal nutrition in general. This is needed as folic acid, also known as vitamin B9 or folate, plays an important role to prevent neural tube defects.

Perhaps, if you are recommended to have at least 600 micrograms per day, have a daily prenatal vitamin with oranges, fortified breakfast cereals, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, kidney beans, nuts, cauliflower, and beets.

2) Protein

This is a key element for the development of the muscles in both the mother and the baby, supporting the growth of the uterine tissues. Pregnant women must aim for 75 grams daily by eating eggs, Greek yogurt, meat poultry, and chicken.

3) Calcium

Along with the other vitamins and minerals, calcium is vital for the growth of the baby’s teeth and bones. Therefore, since the little one will source calcium from you, consuming a good amount of dairy products in your diet is important.

If not enough calcium is consumed, this could result in brittle bones (osteoporosis). Try to aim for the recommended 1,000 milligrams daily through a well-balanced diet that includes milk, cheese, yogurt, and dark leafy greens.

4) Iron

The intake of iron is quite important as the blood volume tends to ramp up in order to meet the baby’s demand. According to health care providers, pregnant women in their first trimester must aim for 27 milligrams per day by consuming beef, chicken, eggs, tofu, and spinach. In addition, you can consult your doctor for a solid dose of iron via prenatal vitamins that can help reduce the risk of pregnancy anemia.

5) Vitamin C

The intake of vitamin C helps promote the development of the bones and tissues. Try including oranges, broccoli, and strawberries aiming for 85 milligrams per day.

6) Potassium

Potassium just like sodium helps in maintaining the balance of the fluid in the body that also helps regulate the blood pressure. It is advised for pregnant women to aid 2,900 milligrams of potassium daily via foods like bananas, apricots, and avocados with prenatal vitamins.

7) DHA

DHA has an omega-3 fatty acid as its key ingredient and is found in low-mercury fish such as anchovies, herring, and sardines. It includes prenatal vitamins.

What Foods Should Pregnant Women Consume?

According to the nutrition pros, listed below are the best foods to eat when pregnant first trimester:

1. Lean meat

Make sure to have a good source of iron and protein like sirloin, chuck steak, pork tenderloin, turkey, and chicken. These foods have a good amount of amino acids that are great to build blocks for cells.

2. Yogurt

Consuming yogurt helps in supporting the bone structure.

3. Edamame

The soybean pods contain vegetarian protein, calcium, iron, and folate making it a package that is a perfect fit for the first trimester.

4. Kale

This dark green leaf offers a combination of nutrients like fiber, calcium, folate, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

5. Bananas

These are the best dietary sources of potassium amongst the rest.

6. Beans and lentils

They are a good source of Iron, folate, protein, and fiber.

7. Ginger tea

Sipping up on a cup of ginger helps combat nausea.

How to Prevent Morning Sickness and Nausea During Pregnancy?

Amongst the total number of pregnant women, almost 75 % of the to-be-moms experience nausea, upset stomach, and morning sickness as a symptom of their first trimester of pregnancy. Therefore, to help you aid them, here are a few tips that you can follow:

  • Have smaller yet frequent meals every few hours as compared to the three big meals per day. This is because not eating for too long could result in nausea and weakness.
  • During your pregnancy, you must opt to avoid any spicy and or high-fat foods. If not, they could cause unnecessary weight gain, heartburn, or stomach discomfort.
  • If you are experiencing nausea, stick to cold or rather room temperatures bland foods like cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit, string cheese, nuts, or a mini bagel with peanut butter. The reason behind this is that hot food emits odors that could lead to nausea. 
  • To maintain a healthy gut and prevent an upset stomach, have liquid or softly-textured meals.
  • As a part of the emergency snacks, keep dry and easy-to-eat snacks by your nightstand or side table. This could include graham crackers, pretzels, and low-sugar dry cereal.

Here are a Few Brownie Points for a Healthy First Trimester

When building a healthy diet and including appropriate nutrients, make sure to not overdo or worry much, as well. Otherwise, it can cause unnecessary stress in a time filled with anxiety. So, the golden rule as of now is to take it easy on both, the stomach and yourself.

Here are the tips for an easy first trimester of your pregnancy:

  • Always stay hydrated: Start your day with a glass full of water. If you don’t feel like having a simple glass with water, add a slice of lemon, cucumber, or even some fresh berries to enhance the first drink of the day.
  • Keep the emergency snacks available and munch on them well: The onset of hunger accompanied by nausea and fullness is one of the early signs of pregnancy. This is why it is important to have the blood sugar level steady throughout the day with healthy snacks like a handful of nuts, wholegrain crackers, cheese, fresh fruits, and whole wheat grain toast with peanut butter.
  • Prenatal vitamins: Consult your doctor for the right prenatal to take..

Note: Just in case you have any doubts regarding the foods to avoid during pregnancy or otherwise, feel free to consult your healthcare provider.

To Conclude:

Consuming the right food every day during pregnancy is an absolute must for pregnant women for the well-being of the baby and themselves. Therefore, consult the article above as your guide alongside the recommendations by the doctor for a safe and healthy pregnancy.

FAQs: What to Eat in The First Trimester of Pregnancy

1. What should I avoid during my first trimester?

Here is a list of foods you are supposed to avoid when pregnant: High mercury fish
  • Undercooked or raw fish like sushi
  • Undercooked meat
  • Raw eggs
  • Caffeine
  • Raw sprouts
  • Unwashed produce
  • 2. Is it ok to eat a lot during the first trimester?

    Yes, it is ok for the appetite to increase in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is because the baby will need its nutrients from the mother and she will need to feed for two. Alongside, make sure you intake healthy foods and be active to avoid unnecessary weight gain.

    3. What must you avoid in early pregnancy?

    A pregnant woman in early pregnancy must stay away from activities that involve a risk of falling, overheating, consuming unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses, fish that are high in mercury, or raw foods like fish and eggs.

    4. What should I do if I feel sick or vomit during the first trimester?

    Throughout the first trimester, morning sickness affects a lot of women. This might make it challenging to consume any food, much less a diet that is well-balanced.Many pointers can be useful. Eat little and often during the day; stay away from hot and high-fat foods; and have fruit, almonds, and whole-wheat crackers available as snacks. In fact, going too long without eating may make you feel worse.

    5. Are there any nutrients I should be taking throughout the first trimester?

    Yes. If you aren't already taking one, you should start as soon as you find out you're expecting. You could also be advised to take a calcium supplement by your doctor or midwife.


    Reviewed By:

    Jessica - Nutritionist Dietician

    Jessica - Nutritionist Dietician

    Jessica is the owner and registered dietitian nutritionist at Nutrition That Heals, LLC. She started her dietetics career working in acute care where she gained a great deal of invaluable experience, learning all about different disease states and their appropriate nutrition interventions. She then worked in long term care where she was able to develop her skills and knowledge base dealing with the elderly population. Following long term care, she worked as an outpatient dialysis dietitian, working with patients to help them eat their best for their kidney failure and often other health conditions (diabetes, heart disease, etc.). She then made the jump back to be an inpatient clinical dietitian. There, she was able to work with patients with strokes, cancer, orthopedic issues, as well as the pediatric population. During her most recent time working as an inpatient clinical dietitian, a great opportunity presented itself and it was a great way to move into focusing more on her dream of opening a private practice. She currently works full time as a contract dietitian with Dietitians on Demand conducting 1:1 nutrition counseling sessions while also working with patients here at Nutrition That Heals, LLC. ​She has been grateful enough to know how powerful good nutrition can be, but after being diagnosed with endometriosis in March 2022, she had to fully focus on the importance of anti-inflammatory foods, proper hydration, and self-care. This diagnosis motivated her to put pen to paper and get her business started - she wanted to teach what she had learned to others - food should be nourishing. Jessica wants to show you how you can heal with good nutrition, and feel your absolute best!

    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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