Meeting Nutritional Needs When Nausea Strikes

QUESTION

Dear Fitness Expert,
I am concerned about my nutritional intake because I am nauseous much of the time, and not eating as nutritiously as usual. Also, I am about 4 weeks pregnant and only started prenatal vitamins about two weeks ago.

Should I be very worried?

ANSWER

When I announced I was going to try out for the US Bobsled team, the coach sent my personalized workout routine. It was a 16-week program that allowed no time for anything but hard work, proper nutrition and more hard work.

Five days later, I discovered I was pregnant. By my 4th-6th week, I was so incredibly nauseous the thought of food turned my stomach but without proper nutrition, my workout load would be impossible. Ugh! I knew the nausea was temporary so I lived on Powerbars, yogurt and green beans.

You might find another combination that works you. The point is... eat as healthily as you can. Remember that it will pass and no, you should not be worried. Why? Your baby is taking everything he or she needs from you. See, you're already a Momma! The baby is taking all the nutrients s/he needs while you are feeling depleted. What you eat is not for your baby -- its for you.

Prenatals, lots of water and good foods are very important. Right now they might make you queasy but each are important so stay with it. It is recommended that you take your prenatal at night, sleeping through most of its ingestion (so you don't have to burp it up all day -- yuck!). Water, while it might not sound appealing will actually help combat morning sickness. Good foods will fuel you while baby takes what baby needs. Oh... and congrats! I promise, it will get better.

And, if you want a little more incentive, I struggled through until the morning sickness left me. I figured out what times I was more nauseous than others so I could adjust my training times. As my appetite came back, I ate better/felt better and kicked royal booty at the U.S. Nationals -- with baby on board! (I was 4 1/2 months pregnant with my second baby when "we" won the US Trials.)

Hang in there!

-- Alex

Alexandra Allred

Alexandra Allred is a former member of the US Women's Bobsled team, is an accomplished martial artist, and continues to teach kickboxing while juggling her career as a full-time writer and mother of three. She has interviewed hundreds of athletes, models, actresses, trainers, doctors, and health/fitness experts as she sought to find answers to her own questions about working out while pregnant, arranging breast-feeding around a training schedule, diet when pregnant and breastfeeding, and encouraging her whole family.

Alex is the author of ten books, including Atta Girl! A Celebration of Women in Sports and Entering the Mother Zone: Balancing Self, Health & Family. We're excited to have her on board!