Hope you had a great start to the new year! For those of you who went through my first blog “Everything you need to know about the first trimester of pregnancy”, now we come to one of the most searched-for and essential topics in our pregnancy series, NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY. This time we will focus on the first trimester, as that’s the phase most women find toughest in terms of choosing what to and when to eat.
The first 3 months are such that you won’t be able to eat much due to constant nausea; but the developing baby needs nutritious foods to grow well. A well-nourished fetus have a greater chance of entering life in a good physical and mental health.
So here are some tried and tested tips and tricks to deal with morning sickness…
1. Start the day with a cup of ginger tea.
Add fresh, ½ inch pc of grated ginger and boil the water. Add 1 tsp honey and a dash of lime once poured into a cup. This will not just taste great but also help you get rid of nausea and vomiting so that you can tolerate some food for breakfast. If you have been taking for 4 days continuously, give a 2-day break before resuming.
It has been proven by human studies that 1g daily of ginger may reduce the feeling of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women when used for a short period of time (no longer than 4 days at a time).
2. Dry Fruits.
A fistful of dried fruits like raisins, figs, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, etc will make a perfectly nutritious mid-meal providing not only all the essential nutrients but also satisfy your taste buds at this time!
3. Dry snacks.
Bland, dry foods like salt biscuits, crackers, dry toasts will help keep nausea under control.
4. Cold Milk
If you can tolerate milk, have a bowl of cereal with fruits of your choice and cold milk or your mug of healthy milkshakes. Here are some combinations that I make use of: oats-dates, banana-oats, almonds-figs, apple-oats, sweet potato [just boil, peel and mash, add it to the milk and blend it, sugar is optional. I add very little sugar as it tastes yummy anyway. Trust me you people will love me for this one, do try it! 🙂
Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks are essential as you might not be able to eat much during major meals due to various aversions or otherwise. So, you can choose any light snack from a fruit juice, salt or sweet biscuits, salted peanuts, dried fruits, fresh fruits, lotus seeds or makhana, dry khakhra, 1 or 2 til laddoo, a pc of rajgira chikki, dried dates, etc.
If you tend to vomit a lot, you might feel drained and get dehydrated and can also get constipated. In order to avoid that, have minimum of 2lts of fluid per day and this can be in the form of thin soups, sweet lime juice, tender coconut water, thin buttermilk – flavour it up a little by adding jeera powder and fresh pudina, lemon juice, apple-beetroot juice – this is my personal favourite, tastes too good and lemon-barley water – wash and soak barley overnight or for a couple of hours and then pressure cook with a generous amount of water, add some honey or sugar for taste and squeeze lime before serving.
Try having your dinner a little earlier in order to avoid gastric issues and make sure you have ½ to 1 tsp of fennel seeds, commonly known as saunf post-dinner (the age-old practice of having it as a mouth freshener post meals now gives a clear picture). It not only helps in digestion but also has a good amount of fiber in it and gives a cooling effect which will prevent acidity and other gastric problems and help with regular bowel movements. I have started having it daily and it works wonders for me, honestly.
8. Have lots of salads.
Salad in any form, be it a vegetable salad or chana or moong or chole or rajma salad. Use your own choice, preference and creativity to make it interesting so that you make sure that you’ll eat it. I am saying this because there’ll be hardly anything that you might find interesting in food apart from all the sweet and savory food cravings which’ll be more often unhealthy! This will also make sure you don’t gain that unnecessary weight which’ll only be a trouble to lose later but before that it can cause a great deal of complications during labour and who wants that?!
Here are some important take-away messages that I feel I must share –
You DON’T have to eat for two until the 5th month approximately, so choose your food wisely and don’t take the liberty of what people around say because it will only be difficult for YOU, they won’t have to face anything!
It’s ok to indulge in pastries and samosas and all possible unhealthy things at times due to extreme cravings for it but make sure you don’t go overboard. Have it little and then have your meal, DON’T have them as your meals!
Always keep in mind that the fetus is growing with each passing day and it needs good nutrition for its growth and it depends on YOU for that so junk won’t do the needful. Eat right!
Have enough fluids and fiber-rich foods to avoid getting into piles and fissures and all kinds of constipation related problems that many women face during this time.
Go for a casual walk every day if you are not that active throughout the day – duration varies, you can start with 10-15 mins and then gradually increase up to 25-30 mins.
Be active throughout the day, it’ll only help you have a very healthy pregnancy. Here again, don’t find an excuse of pregnancy to sleep or rest all day just because people say so. You don’t have to rest all day unless you are unwell because it’s just a pregnancy, NOT AN ILLNESS! I have been going for walks almost daily in the past months and keep active during the day with just an hour’s nap in the afternoon and 5 months down, I have been seeing a gradual increase in my weight just how it should be.
If your doctor does not suggest going for walks due to some reasons, try doing some basic household chores instead or spend time doing what you like – your hobby.
And lastly, I would like to recommend a book – I would rather call it a Bible on pregnancy named “Passport to a healthy pregnancy” by Dr. Gita Arjun. I know you must be wondering there are so many books on pregnancy so why did I choose this one…that’s because this book covers literally each and every aspect of pregnancy you can think of. It basically walks you through the journey in great details and helps prepare you mentally for all the changes and development that takes place during this phase including a realistic approach to labor and delivery process along with everything else. The best part is, it has all the generally heard myths covered, regarding pregnancy of course, with authentic facts given, clearing all the misconceptions….so NOTHING’s left out and the author is an expert obstetrician and gynecologist with a career spanning 32 long years!
It’s a super awesome book and very well written.
Motherhood is such a beautiful feeling and being in process of becoming one is I feel all the more lovely!
Hope all this information will be helpful in getting your cargo to this world safely 😉
Zahra is a qualified Dietitian and a Sports Nutritionist (‘Nutritionista’ to her loved ones) who practices a holistic approach to health and wellness. She helps her clients to change their relationship with food into a positive one which results in having a lasting impact on their nutritional choices as well as their lives.
She believes that a healthy, balanced life is a journey, not a destination and it’s never late to get on board!
In her own words, “Nothing tastes better than feeling great! :)”