by Julie Snyder
During the first trimester it isn't necessary to pack in extra calories, yet. While this is a time of incredible growth for your baby, he or she is so small that it doesn't take a lot of extra oomph.
Food might be the last thing on your mind if you're battling nausea and exhaustion.
Tara Gidus, author of "Pregnancy Cooking and Nutrition for Dummies," says that your pre-pregnancy nutrient stores get you through the first trimester if you're not able to hold down much food. You should still take your prenatal vitamin every day so you know you're getting enough folic acid.
You could have the opposite problem of being hungry all the time. Eat foods that fill you up and nourish you and babe at the same time!
You won't develop a baby bump until later on, but your body is adapting so that your baby gets enough oxygen and food needed to thrive and flourish. You'll build the placenta that's vital for your baby's development. It handles all the nutrition and oxygen going to your baby and waste products coming out. Your blood volume increases to help transport everything. You'll need plenty of iron and other minerals.
Your baby goes from being a single cell to a tiny human complete with a pumping heart, complex brain, lungs, hands and feet. Your baby needs a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and amino acids to accomplish all that amazing growth.
Folic acid plays an important role as your baby's brain and spinal cord develop. Start taking this supplement as soon as you're thinking of making a baby.
Vitamin C helps your body fight off infection and aids with the absorption of iron. It also helps make collagen. Your baby uses collagen to make tendons and ligaments.
Iron is used to build hemoglobin, the molecule in blood cells that carries oxygen. Protein is made of amino acids. These tiny components for the building blocks for every new cell your baby makes.
Vitamin A helps your baby form those wee peepers while B-complex vitamins help protect against birth defects and aid in making energy. Vitamin D boosts your immune systems and helps build strong bones.
Clean out your cupboards: Purge and replace refined foods with healthier options. If you can't keep snacks and sweets in the house, toss them or give to others in need.
Don't skip meals . When you do or eat irregularly, your body responds with mood swings, the shakes, a decrease in energy and nausea.
Schedule your meals and snacks: Eat frequently. Instead of scarfing down two large meals a day, eat five or six small ones. Trapped in bed in the morning? Have a quick bite in bed. Try yogurt with fresh fruit, whole grain crackers with nut butter or a piece of cheese. Natural sugars raise your blood sugar and reduces morning sickness.
Once you're up, cook a couple eggs and whole grain toast to complete breakfast. Bake a potato and pair it with lean meat or fish for lunch. Pack lunch? Have a tofu or tuna sandwich on a whole grain bun with berries.
Your mid-afternoon snack's a life saver. Choose something packed with nutrition. A handful of berries with peanuts or a half bagel with cream cheese and salmon does wonders.
Keep dinner light. Cook your favorite pasta with a meat sauce or toss a spinach salad with grilled chicken. Before you head to bed, eat a snack high in protein. The extra protein helps regulate your blood sugar levels overnight. You're not as sick in the morning!
What foods worked best for you during early pregnancy? Share your list!
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