As you go through your pregnancy, you've got a dining partner who says “I'll have what she's having” every time you take a bite. So it's more important than ever to think before you eat.
Here are a few tips to help you get started with your nutrition during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Make your diet healthy during pregnancy.
Doctors recommend that the average woman gain between 2 and 5 lbs during this first trimester diet, so most women don't need to add extra calories at this point. Try to get the most out of what you put in your mouth, with foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats or meat alternatives, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. And go easy on the fatty foods.
Eat your nutrients.
You'll want to get proper levels of everything from vitamin A to zinc, for your sake and your baby's. The Food Pyramid can help you learn what you need and how to balance your diet every day. Also, ask your doctor about a prenatal vitamin supplement.
Get your folic acid during the first trimester.
Folic acid is so important for a healthy baby that doctors recommend taking a supplement with at least 400 mcg per day before you even conceive. That's because it can help protect against birth defects. It also promotes healthy cell division, and nourishes your baby's developing nervous system. So be sure you're getting your share. Vegetables during pregnancy provide important nutrients, especially folate (the natural form of folic acid), which nourishes your baby’s nervous system development. In your first trimester, aim for 2½ cups of colorful veggies per day. In your second and third trimesters, aim for 3 cups.
Watch your vitamin A intake during pregnancy.
You need some, but too much can be toxic. The Institute of Medicine recommends you get no more than 3000 mcg per day.
Include snacks in your first trimester diet.
If you're napping a lot or queasy from morning sickness, you may not feel like eating normal-sized meals. But mini-meals and snacks may fit the bill. Try to keep something in your stomach, like crackers or frozen fruit pops. And don't forget to stay hydrated by sipping water between meals.
Avoid unhealthy habits during pregnancy.
Alcohol and cigarettes can seriously compromise a healthy pregnancy.