First Trimester Pregnancy Diet Tips, Weight Gain Diet, Foods to Avoid
Created by Puja Sharma Vasisht Updated on Dec 06, 2020
The minute you announce your pregnancy, well-meaning friends and family have plenty of advice on how you should be "eating for two." But this isn't entirely true. When you're pregnant, your body, quite efficiently, absorbs nutrition extremely well. So what you should really do is to eat healthy, and not twice as much. During the first trimester, there is no substantial reason to increase the intake of calories and proteins because there is no significant gain in size of foetus.
What Should I Include In My Diet In The First Trimester?
There are some key nutrients that the body requires during the first trimester.
- Folic Acid: is required for the development of nervous system, blood formation and it also has a positive effect on birth weight of infants. You can get your dose of folic acid by including wheat germ, pulses, nuts, green leafy vegetables especially spinach, oranges, fresh beans in your diet. To add green leafy vegetables in your daily diet (good source of all the above nutrients) you may include any one of these recipes/dishes in your daily diet- saag, green soup, green roti, green raita, green chicken, green dhokla/green idli. (Boil leafy greens, blend and use them to make different batters and doughs)
- Iron-rich foods: are necessary for foetal growth, expansion of mother's tissues and for the growing volume of blood which in turn supply nutrients to the foetus. For non-vegetarians organ meats and eggs help in providing iron. For vegetarians, iron-rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, such as mustard greens, chulai, mint, methi, and bathua are good sources of iron. Other sources include soybeans, lobia, lentils, whole wheat dalia, riceflakes and fruits such as watermelon, raisins and nuts like pistachio. If you eat foods that contain vitamin C at the same time as these foods, it will help your body to absorb the iron from the meal. You could have a glass of Vitamin C rich fruit juice with your meal
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) helps tackle nausea, a common problem faced in pregnancy. Eating wholegrains, especially cereals and legumes, wheat bran, wheat germ, dried yeast, nuts, seeds, leafy vegetables, and meat and egg helps in meeting your B6 requirements
- Water and fluids Pregnancy doesn't change your daily requirement of 8-10 glasses of water per day. In addition to this, make sure you include some healthy drinks like tender coconut water, buttermilk and fresh fruit juice, to always stay hydrated.
Some Do's And Don'ts Of Pregnancy Nutrition
- Watch your sugar intake. Use jaggery and dates to sweeten your food/beverages instead of regular sugar to further help in pumping up iron intake
- Wheat germ is easily available in the market in packaged form. You can add it your dough for chapattis, porridge and in roasted form to soups/salads
- When you feel like a quick snack, munch on some homemade biscuits or paneer tikka, instead of packaged snacks. If you can have someone bake for you, multigrain-wheat bran, germ, yeast, seeds, soybeans, whole wheat flour and other healthy ingredients are easily available
- Keep deep-dried snacks to a minimum
Tips On Dealing With Pregnancy Problems
In the first trimester, a lot of women face problems with digestion, loss of appetite, nausea etc. which maybe hormone-change related. Here are some solutions that can help you deal with these. While the exact cause of morning sickness is not known, it is most likely caused by agents secreted by placenta. Also, the increased levels hormones in pregnancy can slow down digestion. This may lead to acid reflux, heart burn and indigestion which can cause nausea and vomiting. Also, an empty stomach may trigger nausea. Here are some tips:
- Have carbohydrate rich foods like cracker, biscuits or a dry toast first thing in the morning to reduce the feeling of morning sickness
- Eating small, frequent meals helps in getting over nausea and also heart burn and other gastric symptoms. A large meal can also cause a feeling of heart burn
- Don't drink water with meal. Keep a gap of half an hour before and after the meal and drinking water
- After eating your meals, keep sitting to let gravity help in keeping the food in stomach. Stand up slowly and avoid lying down
- Avoid brushing teeth immediately after eating and eating foods cold rather than hot (cold foods have less odour) also sometimes helps in this condition
- Try taking your vitamin supplements at night time and a small snack (cracker/biscuits etc) if you wake up during the night. This might help prevent nausea in morning
You need to consult your gynecologist if these symptoms get worse, or you feel weak and dehydrated, or if you are losing weight or passing less urine (less than three times a day).
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
Food cravings are common during pregnancy. While it is important to eat the right food in the right quantities, there are some foods that are best avoided during pregnancy-
- Raw meat: Any uncooked poultry, seafood or other meat has as increased risk of being contaminated by bacteria such as salmonella. Undercooked shellfish can also cause infections and are best avoided
- Raw eggs:Just like raw meat, raw eggs can potentially be contaminated with salmonella. Some mayonnaise, custard and ice creams contain raw eggs
- Soft cheese and unpasteurised milk: Unpasteurized milk and cheeses can cause listeria. Avoid soft cheeses like Camembert and Gorgonzola when you're pregnant
- Unwashed fruits and vegetables: Traces of soil present in unwashed fruits and vegetables can contain a parasite called toxoplasma, which can cause toxoplasmosis
- Alcohol: While the exact impact of alcohol on a foetus is not known, experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that you avoid alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol travels through the blood stream and to the foetus through the placenta. Since there is no known "safe amount" of alcohol, you're better off avoiding it during pregnancy
Caffeine: It is a good idea to limit your caffeine intake to two small cups of coffee a day. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends no more than 200 mg of caffeine in a day.
Did you like Puja's blog on diet tips for 1st trimester of pregnancy? Please do share your views and feedback with us in the comments section below, as we would love to hear from you.
| Dec 28, 2017
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| Aug 28, 2019
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