Isn't that crazy? And exhausting!
When you first get pregnant, your body kicks into baby-building mode by flooding your system with HCG. I like to think of it as a reverse hormone hangover (the higher your blood alcohol, the bigger the headache; the bigger the spike in hormones - twins, for example - the stronger symptoms you may have).
Did you know less than half of pregnant women experience morning sickness? If you were surprised that you weren't terribly sick, you're not alone. If you WERE terribly sick, you're a special snowflake and it sucks to be you. Sorry!
First up: growing a placenta.
Growing is HARD WORK you guys, that's why kids take naps. And so should you. Resistance is futile, so just cave in now -- you'll feel better, I promise. I was just lucky I work at home because I took 2 naps a day. I even turned down a job offer because it would interfere with my nap schedule. #naps4eva
So! There's a 50/50 chance you're nauseous, you're so tired you can barely sit upright, and now you have to feed yourself?
A few thoughts on eating during early pregnancy
- A puppy dies every time someone says, "You're eating for two!" You are eating for 1, plus a clump of cells the size of a pea which requires no extra calories.
- Lightning should strike people who say, "The baby takes what it needs." The baby can't take what's not there, so if you are low on folic acid, so is the baby.
- There is no such thing as too much fiber during pregnancy. The same goes for water. True story: I once ate half a watermelon by myself one day when I was pregnant with no deleterious side effects. (Yes, then I took a nap.)
Do I really need to take prenatal vitamins?
As a health coach, I work with clients to get nutrients through whole foods. However, pregnancy is tough and exhaustion can take a toll on your desire and ability to cook. Taking vitamins isn't going to hurt you or the baby, and will probably help. Missing a dose will not cause your child to have webbed toes or something.
My first trimester diet staples were Greek yogurt and cereal because that's all I could tolerate or prepare. Taking a prenatal vitamin reduced my stress about trying to cook. There was also a major heat wave when I was pregnant and Ryan Gosling coming over for a home-cooked meal would not have enticed me to turn on any appliance.
Other ideas for easy, nutrient-rich foods:
- Fresh fruit has fiber and water - double win! Dried fruit can be high in sugar, but is a great snack combined with nuts for slow-digesting fat and protein.
- Green juice and green smoothies flood your system with nutrients but don't take much work. Especially if you just grab one at the juice bar. Make sure it's not too fruit-heavy.
- If you normally cook a lot from scratch, don't feel guilty getting pre-cut fruit and veggies, or getting take out more often. Focus on getting enough protein and iron, then just try to eat as much fiber as possible.
- Protein can help reduce nausea and fatigue, plus it keeps you full longer. I ate a lot of eggs. If you can only tolerate carbs, at least make them whole grain to prevent spiking your blood sugar.
Many pregnancy books suggest meal plans that are more food than many women want to eat. Your blood volume increases by 50% or more, and dehydration can masquerade as hunger. Drink a metric crap-ton of water (start with half your weight in ounces - so 140 pound woman should drink 70 ounces of water) every day, take your vitamins, and do your best.
Next time: What NOT to eat. ...Or can you?
Now go take a nap. You've earned it.