Health Tip Details


Pregnancy and Lactation

Pregnancy - 1st Trimester

Dt. Rukhsana Syed 20 Jul 2019 1217 Views

Becoming pregnant is the happiest moment in a woman’s life and also the most important one! However, pregnancy is also a very difficult time for a woman. There is no other phase in her life that is as emotionally and physically transforming as this. This phase comes with a mixed bag of feelings, ranging from joy of becoming a parent to the tensions regarding the baby’s health and upbringing. The anxiety is much higher, especially, if this is your first pregnancy.

The minute you announce your pregnancy, close friends and family have plenty of advice and suggestions. One of the most common being, “Now, you have to eat for two people!!”

This is a major diet blunder which is made my many in today’s times. Between strange cravings and old-fashioned advice to start "eating for two" many have put themselves in the category - with one in six women classed as obese within just three months of becoming pregnant, and many more putting on too much weight in later months while lactating.

What actually happens during your first trimester?

The Early Trimester of pregnancy which is considered to be the first 3 months of pregnancy is the time in which the egg fertilization placenta takes place. With the completion of the first month your baby resembles like a grain of rice. Second month is the time when the baby grows in size and the baby’s brain, skull and spine develop. The face, base of ears, hands & legs, root of fingers & toes developed during second & third month of pregnancy. With the end of third month, your baby is 7 to 10 cms long with 25 to 30 gms weight.

This is a phase where you are physically and mentally adjusting to the idea of a new life growing inside you. Many women in this phase suffer from morning sickness and are unable to eat what they normally do in the pre- pregnancy time. Fortunately, during the first trimester, no extra calories are needed.

Nutritional demands during the first trimester:

During the first trimester, basic water-soluble vitamins (B & C) are very important to defend against neural tube defects and support immunity. The most well know water-soluble vitamin for the first trimester is folate, (vitamin B9), which helps in the normal development of the baby’s skull, brain and spinal cord. Folate helps in protecting the growing baby from neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

And also, DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) - a type of omega-3 fatty acid (healthy fat). Having good quality, low GI carbohydrates throughout pregnancy will help maintain energy levels and may help with fatigue. Fibre (both soluble and insoluble) is necessary for good bowel health.

Let us further know which type of foods can be taken during the 1st Trimester of pregnancy

1) Consume folate-rich food: During the first few months, pregnant women are often prescribed folic acid pills and other supplements. Here are some excellent sources of folate to include in your daily diet.

  • Fortified breakfast in the form of oats, cornflakes, whole wheat flakes, whole wheat bread
  • Green leaves like fenugreek leaves, radish leaves, coriander leaves, pudina leaves, spinach
  • Vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, beans, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, bitter gourd
  • Fruits like orange, muskmelon, pomegranate, guava
  • Dry fruits like walnuts, almonds, peanuts, etc

2) Include lot of iron in your diet: Iron is an important element to be taken during pregnancy as it deals with RBC production. Since the blood volume starts increasing during the first few months, including iron-rich food in the diet is important. Here are some excellent sources of iron to include in the daily menu.

  • Vegetables like beetroot, beans, leafy vegetables
  • Iron-fortified cereals for breakfast
  • Prune juice
  • Liver of chicken, beef, mutton, which is rich in iron in limited quantities and not on a regular basis
  • Dried beans like kidney beans, black beans, red beans and white beans

3) Add a healthy dose of vitamin C: This is necessary to enable the body to absorb iron. Some excellent sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, soya, tomato, broccoli, spinach, etc.

4) Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): This vitamin is also necessary during the first few months of pregnancy, as it helps prevent nausea and vomiting. One can always include this vitamin in the diet by taking foods such as sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, tuna fish, hazelnut and soya.

5) Fruit platter is a must: Expecting mothers should have plenty of fruits, as they are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and, are high in water content. Fruits also help to prevent constipation during pregnancy.

6) Eggs, poultry, milk and milk products and nuts: These are a great source of protein, calcium and fats for expecting mothers. They also contain folate in minor quantities.

Morning sickness is common for most of the women during the first trimester. It doesn't just happen in the morning. You can feel nauseated at any time of day, and anything can trigger it. Food aversions are also common and can be related to nausea. 

Here are some tips which could be helpful to overcome your morning sickness:

Foods that prevent, avoid or stop nausea include:

  • Ginger or foods/drinks containing ginger which has anti-nausea properties that can definitely help with curbing such symptoms
  • Dry foods such as crackers, biscuits, jelly, low sugar flavoured popsicles
  • Plain vegetables or fruits
  • Lemons which can be eaten, sipped with herbal teas, sucked or sniffed

Foods to avoid in general, and that can cause nausea are:

  • Fatty, greasy and sugary (i.e. chocolate) foods
  • Spicy foods
  • High amounts of caffeine - it is recommended to avoid caffeine during pregnancy

Pregnancy diet does not mean eating for two. You should opt for nutritious food choices and eat a well-proportioned diet all through your pregnancy!

And if you are looking for some help regarding planning your pregnancy diet, you know whom to contact!

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