May 24, 2022

Early Pregnancy: Diet Tips and Managing Symptoms in the First Trimester

Newly pregnant woman sorts through a box of baby clothes

Being pregnant is an amazing experience. However, in some cases, that fact gets overshadowed by pregnancy symptoms that can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, particularly in your first trimester. 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize or eliminate these symptoms. Many of these actions are related to changes you can make in your diet, but there are other tips not related to nutrition that can help make your first trimester more enjoyable.

What You Eat and Drink During Pregnancy Is Important

One common pregnancy symptom — and one that most people have heard of — is morning sickness. Despite the name, morning sickness can occur at any time of day. 

It produces nausea and, in some instances, vomiting. Morning sickness tends to be relatively mild and passes by the end of the first trimester. However, in a small percentage of pregnancies, a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum develops. It causes severe nausea and vomiting and is something you should talk about with your doctor.

To manage typical morning sickness, you should eat frequent, small meals. It’s also best if you don’t skip meals. You should eat healthy foods that you enjoy, but bland foods rich in carbohydrates (potatoes, crackers, rice, etc.) may produce less nausea than spicy foods. 

Morning sickness can also make you sensitive to certain food smells. If that’s the case for you, you should avoid those foods. Consuming ginger in the form of ginger tea, ginger candies, or ginger ale may also help with morning sickness. 

Fatigue is another common pregnancy symptom. Taking a doctor-recommended prenatal vitamin can help with your energy level. These vitamins contain iron to help prevent anemia, which can be a cause of fatigue. They also contain a variety of nutrients that support your baby’s health — choline, folic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), for example. 

Proper nutrition and fewer symptoms during pregnancy are also about the foods and beverages you don’t consume. One that you might turn to for help with fatigue but that isn’t good for your baby is caffeine. If you drink coffee, you should limit yourself to one 12-ounce cup per day once you learn that you’re pregnant. 

Finally, constipation is a common issue during pregnancy since pregnancy hormones slow your digestive system and because the iron in a prenatal vitamin can be constipating. To avoid constipation, you should try to get at least 25 grams of fiber daily. You can do that by eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. In addition, some breakfast cereals can provide 5 grams of fiber or more per serving. 

Fact or Fiction? Pregnancy Myths Answered

For new and expectant parents, pregnancy can feel like uncharted territory. Concerns about a healthy pregnancy can lead moms-to-be to wonder: Is it safe to get my hair colored, soak in a hot bath, or go for a run? Can my baby become addicted to caffeine? What foods should I avoid? In this episode of our podcast, a Baptist Health OBGYN helps separate fact from fiction, dissecting some of the most common pregnancy myths. He addresses the safety of everyday activities and concerns about fertility, miscarriage, morning sickness, and labor. Listen now.

Ways to Manage Other Pregnancy Symptoms

From swollen breasts to frequent bathroom visits, pregnancy brings on other issues not related to diet. Switching to a more supportive and comfortable bra can help with breast tenderness. 

Regarding bathroom trips, it’s important not to restrict your fluid intake since both you and your baby need plenty of fluids. However, shifting when you drink can be helpful. For example, drinking less of your total daily fluid intake after dinner can help minimize the need to urinate during the night. 

Learn About Maternity Care at Baptist Health

If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, it’s important to have a healthcare provider you can turn to for information and guidance throughout your pregnancy. Learn more about maternity care at Baptist Health today and find a mother and baby provider near you.

Next Steps and Useful Resources:

Pre-Register for Your Delivery
Tips for Bringing Home Baby During COVID-19
Questions to Ask Your Doctor By Trimester
[PODCAST] Fact or Fiction? Pregnancy Myths Answered

Learn More.