Five Tips for a Happy and Healthy First Trimester

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Tar Heel baby

This blog is going to be a little specific, just to give you a heads up. Luckily, if it is not applicable personally, it can be helpful to someone you know or to whom you are related. As we are in the middle of National Nutrition month, I am still writing about nutrition but for a certain population: pregnant women!

Alex and I were overjoyed to share our wonderful news with family and friends last week, which is that we are expecting a little one in September. Throughout the next few months, I plan to check in with the blog regarding pregnancy about once a trimester. As I am in the last week of my first trimester, I put together a first trimester survival guide. These are tips (mostly food-related) to help enjoy this time and get through some of the not-so-fun things that often occur (morning sickness, anyone?).

  1. Eat snacks and small meals. I was lucky and only had a couple of weeks of bad nausea where I really did not feel well. During that time, it helped if I ate small meals every few hours to prevent my stomach from being entirely empty. Carbohydrates (oyster crackers, bagels, etc.) were what worked best, so I tried to pair them with some sort of protein. Different women have various experiences, so whatever works best for you is what you should do. Ginger chews and tea as well as sea-bands can also help with that pesky morning sickness.
  2. Take your prenatal vitamin at night. Why not in the morning? Well it can upset your stomach, so taking it with some food in your gastrointestinal system before bed can prevent any side effects. I cannot stress enough how important it is to meet your micronutrient needs to prevent neural tube defects and to help your baby develop properly. Not yet pregnant but trying? Start taking a prenatal vitamin!
  3. Listen to your body. While it is important to stay active throughout your pregnancy, you may not have quite the endurance you are used to. This was the case for me as I felt that “my battery had a shorter lifespan.” This meant walking on days where I may have run in the past and modifying group exercise classes. I also made sure to stay hydrated as I knew the demands on my body were far greater than what I was used to.
  4. Practice extra food safety. This need caused me to change my diet in a few ways, such as cooking any meat longer than normal, staying away from raw fish and reading cheese ingredients to ensure only pasteurized milk is used.
  5. Ask for modifications. If you tell people you are carrying a baby, they are often more than happy to help. For me, this meant talking with the bartender at Death and Taxes last weekend to see what kind of mocktail she could whip up for me (by the way, it was delicious… muddled blackberries with a pink peppercorn syrup as a couple of the ingredients), asking Neal’s Deli to fully heat the turkey sandwich I ordered and asking my father-in-law to cook my Left Bank Butchery steak just a little bit longer than everyone else’s. Did I feel like a little bit of an inconvenience? Sure, but that was more self-imposed than from others and well worth it.

**Kate is a Registered Dietitian and these tips have worked for her. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant and want more guidance on prenatal care. 

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Kate Sayre

Kate Sayre is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients through her private practice and works in the Department of Nutrition at UNC. On the 1st and 15th of every month, she guest blogs here. 
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