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Nutrition During the First Trimester of Pregnancy

Proper nutrition during pregnancy is particularly vital for both you and your developing baby.

Nutrition in the First Trimester

A well-balanced diet is important during every season of life, but proper nutrition during pregnancy is particularly vital for both you and your baby. In the first trimester, a baby’s critical body functions begin to form, and it’s important they get the vitamins and minerals required to develop properly.

Nutrition can be especially important in high-risk pregnancies, such as when the baby is already at risk for health issues or when you are pregnant with more than one child.

Getting proper nutrition in the first trimester can be a struggle, especially with common pregnancy ailments such as nausea, food aversions, or fatigue. At this point, the baby is very tiny, so mothers should focus on eating any healthy foods their stomach can tolerate. Grazing rather than eating full meals may also help with food-induced nausea.

Below is more nutritional information for mothers in the first trimester of their pregnancy.

The Important Nutrients

You can get all the required nutrients you need from a healthy diet and prenatal supplements, as recommended by your Ob/Gyn or perinatologist.

In general, you should eat nutrient-dense foods high in protein, calcium, and iron. Examples include chicken, lean pork, beef, yogurt, and peanut butter. It is also important to consume high fiber, low glycemic index whole grains and carbohydrates, leafy vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats.
These nutrients are particularly important during pregnancy:

  • Fiber: To help stabilize blood sugar and reduce constipation
  • Folate or folic acid: To reduce the risk of spina bifida and other congenital disabilities
  • Calcium: To decrease the risk of preeclampsia and help with bone and teeth development
  • Iron: Helps to boost the mother’s blood volume so there’s enough for both you and your child, and reduces the risk of eclampsia, low birth weight, and hypertension
  • Zinc: Helps to reduce the risk of congenital disabilities, premature delivery, and restricted fetal growth
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA: Helps with your baby’s brain and neurological development and may help prevent postpartum depression
  • Protein: For muscle and hormones development
  • Vitamin D: To increase blood circulation and aid in calcium absorption

Drink More Water

Hydration is vital during pregnancy. Drinking enough water, low-sugar juices, and other liquids can help prevent uncomfortable symptoms associated with pregnancy, including constipation, headaches, kidney stones, dizziness, hemorrhoids, excessive swelling, and urinary tract or bladder infections.

Anti-Nausea Foods and Drinks

If you have a hard time keeping food down, there are several foods that can help. Ginger has anti-nausea properties, so ginger ale or ginger candies may help reduce nausea. Lemon, whether it’s sucked on, eaten, or brewed in an herbal tea, has similar properties. Plain fruits or vegetables, crackers, biscuits, jelly, and low-sugar popsicles are also easier for most pregnant women to stomach.

Food to Avoid During Pregnancy

Due to complications caused by food-borne diseases, it is important to avoid or limit high-risk foods. Stay away from food that isn’t completely cleaned and cooked thoroughly, including, but not limited, to deli meat, seafood, undercooked eggs, undercooked steak, and lightly cooked or raw bean sprouts.

You should also stay away from unpasteurized milk and cheeses, which may harbor harmful bacteria. While fish is a good source of protein, fish known to be high in mercury, like swordfish and tuna, should be limited during pregnancy.

Valley Perinatal Services

You don’t have to face the uncertainties of pregnancy alone. Having the advice of trained professionals helping you through preconception, pregnancy, and delivery is one of the most important steps you can take for the life-long health of your child.

The perinatologists and staff at all seven of our locations are here to help you manage your high-risk pregnancy every step of the way. For women who have concerns about diabetes, getting enough nutrients for multiple babies, or otherwise getting the nutrition they need, we offer customized, one-on-one counseling and education for each patient.

For more information, call 480.756.6000 or schedule an appointment online.