Being Pregnant

Everything Making You Sick During the First Trimester? Here’s What a Nutritionist Recommends

written by DANA PETERS, M.S. R.D.
morning sickness remedies"
morning sickness remedies
Source: Matilda Wormwood | Pexels
Source: Matilda Wormwood | Pexels

The first trimester can be SO tough on moms physically. Between the fatigue and nausea, some pregnant people may find it hard to do much beyond lying down on the couch. But what happens when that isn’t exactly an option? Many of us know that even while pregnant, work still needs to be done and older siblings still need care. 

Oftentimes foods that cause nausea or morning sickness have strong smells or textures that may become unappealing during pregnancy. In fact, many cases of prenatal nausea—AKA “morning sickness”—are smell-related and not always tied to food. If you’ve ever been in a crowd during early pregnancy, you may have felt like you could smell every drop of perfume, laundry detergent, etc. 

You can develop an aversion to any food over the course of pregnancy, but the most common ones include meat, dairy, eggs, onions, garlic, tea, and coffee. Luckily, food aversions typically fade after the first trimester, but if they don’t, definitely talk with your doctor about possible solutions. 

In the meantime, read on for six morning sickness remedies.


Nutritionist-Approved Morning Sickness Remedies


Keep meals and snacks simple

Nausea tends to start as soon we get close to food, such as when cooking. Good news—there’s no need to cook a meal from scratch during pregnancy. Read that again. Keep meals and snacks as simple as possible by leaning into prepared foods if possible. Grab a rotisserie chicken and some pre-chopped veggies or frozen grains to build a healthy, balanced dinner. This is a key skill, especially if you’re feeding a family. Be sure to include one “safe” food for yourself that you can typically stomach. 


Fill up on cold foods

Food smells tend to be a large contributor to nausea, so try eating more cold foods to lessen the impact of scent. Smoothies are typically easy to tolerate and can be customized based on your food preferences. They’re also a great way to get more nutrient-dense foods, such as leafy greens, yogurt, or milk, that might be hard to stomach otherwise. This Morning Sickness Smoothie recipe from Plant-Based Juniors gives tropical vibes with pineapple, which helps aid digestion, and ginger, which has been shown to help with nausea. 



Eat small, frequent meals and snacks

Large meals can be harder to stomach—pun intended. If you’ve always been a three-square-meals-a-day kind of person, now might be the chance to start adding snack time to your calendar. Eating small amounts of food more frequently is usually better tolerated and helps make sure you keep some food down if you’re dealing with vomiting. For reference, eating smaller meals and snacks may mean eating every two to three hours depending on your schedule and hunger.


Take your prenatal at night

Prenatal vitamins are essential during pregnancy, especially in the early stages. While it may be tempting to skip them if they’re contributing to your nausea, please don’t! A prenatal vitamin is important for filling in nutrient gaps and meeting increased nutrient needs. Instead, try eating a small snack shortly before bed and taking your vitamin at night. This is often just the relief mamas-to-be need.


Stay hydrated

Food aversions can occur with liquids too, but it’s important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, as dehydration can actually make nausea worse (no thanks!). While water is best, do what you can to make drinking palatable. Add a little flavor to your water with fruit or diluted fruit juice, make it super cold with ice, or try a smoothie. If you can, it helps to eat fruits and vegetables and other water-containing foods. 


Give yourself some grace

The first trimester of pregnancy, like all things related to motherhood, is HARD. So don’t beat yourself up over every little thing you did or didn’t eat, especially during the early days of your pregnancy. Focus on finding foods that work well for you and that don’t make you feel sick. It’s okay if that looks like a lot of bagels, crackers, and pasta for a while. Keep taking your prenatal, do your best, and you’ll make it through.

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