Pregnancy brings about noticeable changes to the body and it’s almost impossible to stick with one’s pre-pregnancy diet. However, eating a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet prior to the pregnancy can make ensuing months easier. Paying attention to your body’s cue be it food cravings or hunger pangs will keep you on course with your pregnancy weight gain.
Here’s some great news that I wanted to share!
I’m having a baby!
And now, I want to share my Pregnancy Food Experience with you. Because Pregnancy is a life-stage that many of us go through and sometimes it’s not as glamorous as you think it’s going to be. It can be hard to feel your body changing drastically. It is almost impossible to stick with your Paleo diet. So, I wanted to share my food story and give you some of the tips on foods to eat during pregnancy first trimester that I used on myself and with pregnant nutrition-counseling clients.
Pregnancy Foods To Eat During The First Trimester
For the past few years, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about eating during and before pregnancy. I’ve devoured blog posts, books and articles about how to follow a Paleo/Traditional Real Food diet for fertility and during pregnancy and I was able to implement a lot. But, most of it flew out the window the second I hit 7 weeks.
Six months before we conceived, I was feeling pretty crappy. I got sick two or three times over the course of three months. Not just head-cold sick. I developed high fevers, enough to make me rush to the ER. After all of that sickness, I started working with my acupuncturist to fix some obvious imbalances in my body.
I was so depleted that it was nearly impossible to keep my immune system working properly. I had gone through a stressful period during the beginning of the year which left me drinking 9 cups of coffee a day.
Once I realized how badly I was feeling and what I would need to do to feel better (stop drinking coffee and wine), I did my own Nutritional Reset Paleo Whole Food Cleanse and supplemented it with herbs from my acupuncturist. After three weeks, my energy levels were up and I was feeling exponentially better.
I continued my Nutritional Reset for the next two months. It ended up being my pre-conception diet. I ate lots of nutrient-dense whole foods and healthy fats. I felt healthier and more energetic than I had in a long time. And I was in such a good groove eating whole foods that I had completely switched to decaf coffee and had only two glasses of wine per week (as opposed to two, every night).
Things were going well food-wise until I was about 7 weeks pregnant. That’s when I started to get tired to the bone. Tiredness that would only be relieved by lying down in bed. I was lucky enough not to throw up during my first trimester, but, I did feel like I was hungover all the time.
Feeling hungover all the time made it pretty hard to eat some foods like vegetables and meat. And pretty much everything that wasn’t toast, cereal or gluten-free bagels. I ate only gluten-free cereal with unsweetened almond milk, gluten-free toast with butter and apricot jam and gluten-free bagels with cream cheese. Well, most of the time everything was gluten-free but, sometimes it was gluten-loaded.
I also found myself eating in my car pretty much every day. I couldn’t make it from one place to another without having a snack in the car. I literally had to have some kind of carb-loaded food on me at all times.
For a few days, I felt bad about my diet. I had been eating so well and now I wasn’t eating right. I felt like I was depriving my baby of nutrients. But, the truth is that during the first trimester, the baby’s nutritional needs are really tiny. And if you’ve been eating a healthy diet leading up to pregnancy, you need not worry as your body creates nutrient stores in times of need.
Once I realized that I started thinking about my cravings and aversions, differently. I always tell my pregnant clients to take this time to really listen to their bodies. It’s a time when your inner body cues are very clear. I knew exactly what I wanted to eat and what I didn’t want to eat. So, I started using it as a chance to tune into my body and give it what it wanted.
When I “gave in” and listened to my body, the stress of eating melted away. I started looking at eating a game where I had to figure out exactly what I wanted to eat. Eventually, I starting craving healthy foods again (around 13 weeks). Eggs, chicken, and steak came first, and then came vegetables. I’m sure that listening to my body is what got me back to eating the foods I’d been eating before I started feeling so nauseous.
Personally, I think that pregnancy is a time to stop fighting your body when it comes to food. To start really listening to your body and giving it what it wants– even if it wants cereal and toast. Of course, I recommend trying to eat healthy foods but, also giving your body what it wants and NOT feeling guilty about eating those “unusual” foods.
Here are my tips for thriving with food during your first trimester:
How you eat before you conceive is incredibly important. Eating a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet before pregnancy has been shown to make your first trimester (and entire pregnancy) easier.
Listen to your body no matter what. Pregnancy is the perfect time to start hearing those inner-body cues of hunger, satisfaction and to deconstruct your cravings. Listen to your body through the tough times and you’ll nourish yourself and your baby when you start to actually want healthier foods again.
Listening to your body will also keep you on track with pregnancy weight gain. When you’re listening to your inner body cues, you’ll be more likely to stop eating when you’re full – especially while eating ice cream and cookies. Personally, I found that my satisfaction cue has been the strongest throughout my whole pregnancy, thus far: I know exactly when to stop eating and if I force myself to take that last bite, I start to feel sick.
There are lots people on the internet that have harsh views about eating during pregnancy. Plenty of moms have stuck with their Paleo diets throughout the whole first trimester and lots of them tout this as the only way to eat during pregnancy. I say that everyone is different. Everyone’s pregnancy experience is different.
But, only you know what works for you. Don’t pay attention to that mom that shames bagel eating. If you have to eat a bagel, eat it. Now is not a time to fight your cravings. It’s a time to embrace your cravings and your body and give it what it truly wants and needs.
As long as you are continuously listening to your body, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re going to be making healthy choices for yourself.