How Important Is Nutrition in First Trimester?
The first trimester of pregnancy is the first 12 weeks you are pregnant. While you may not yet be outwardly showing that you are pregnant, this is a crucial time for you and your baby. This is because both your body and your baby's body will be rapidly changing.
The first trimester is the most sensitive time in your pregnancy. You must eat foods that nourish your body, and you should stay away from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
What Happens During the First Trimester?
Your baby's embryo will begin to attach to the uterine wall, and the following organs will form:
- The amniotic sac. This is a sac that fills with fluid and surrounds the fetus. This sac encases the fetus throughout your pregnancy. In addition, the amniotic sac helps to protect and balance the temperature of the fetus.
- The umbilical cord. The umbilical cord connects your fetus to the placenta. It allows blood to flow through two arteries and a vein. The blood that flows through the umbilical cord provides your fetus with nutrients.
- Placenta. This small, flat organ is unique to pregnancies and lies against the uterine wall. It separates your blood supply from the blood supply to the fetus. It is crucial for transporting nutrients and taking away waste.
What to Eat During Pregnancy
During this time, you should be thinking about the food you eat as a source of support for your body and your fetus. Everything you eat, your baby eats as well, so it's also good to include various tastes and foods into your diet to give them variety.
You should eat food that is organic, local, and, as much as possible, free from chemicals. It’s also good to eat food that is unprocessed and does not contain too many chemicals.
We'll look at some of the foods you should be eating on the following slides.
Greens such as salad greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, and mustard leaves benefit your body in many ways. Specifically, these vegetables are chock-full of:
- Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K
However, in the first trimester of pregnancy, the most significant benefit is undoubtedly the folic acid naturally contained in greens. Folic acid is usually in prenatal vitamins, and it helps to boost heart health as well as preventing birth defects.
Leafy greens have all of these fantastic benefits and nutrients while being low in carbohydrates, cholesterol, and sodium. Thus, eating greens during pregnancy is great for you and your fetus.
To fuel your body with the best possible foods, you have to eat as many nutrients as you can and avoid other, less beneficial ingredients. Usually, this means you should eat a lot of brightly colored vegetables. Eating the following vegetables will really help you throughout your pregnancy but especially in your first trimester:
- Sweet Potato
All of these vegetables contain the vital nutrients and vitamins that will most likely be in your prenatal vitamins — and more besides. For double the benefits, make sure you eat the right foods as well as taking your vitamins.
Protein is an essential energy source for your body. It supports both you and your growing fetus, and it helps your baby's heart and brain development. The fats from animal proteins are also highly beneficial for both you and your baby.
Focus on eating healthy proteins, which means fish, meat, and meat alternatives that are fresh, unprocessed, and clean. It is doubly important to make sure that all your food is safe and free of contamination. This is especially true for raw meat and fish.
Some great sources of protein during your first trimester are:
- Peanut Butter
- Plant-based proteins like Tofu
Whole grains are grains that look brown as opposed to white. Foods that contain whole grains include brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, cereals, and oatmeal. They are extremely healthy. They contain high amounts of:
- B Vitamins
- Folic acid
All of these nutrients help your baby's development and growth. They can also help aid or prevent constipation and/or hemorrhoids, which are common symptoms of pregnancy.
One camp of people believe that fruit is too sugary to eat while you are pregnant, but this is untrue. Fruits have significant nutritional benefits and help you to curb sugar cravings.
You should still be somewhat careful, though. Make sure you don't eat too much juiced or sweetened fruit. Also, check in with how you feel after you eat fruit. If you are eating too much of it, you may notice a weight gain or a spike in your blood sugar. If so, cut back.
However, in moderation, the following fruits should be excellent for both you and your baby:
Dairy is a fantastic source of protein and calcium. These two things help the baby's overall development and also, specifically, bone development. The best dairy sources are cheese, yogurt, and milk. However, make sure the dairy you buy is pasteurized.
Pasteurization helps kill bacteria to which you are more susceptible while pregnant. Usually, pasteurized products are carefully marked as pasteurized in the supermarket, so just look for information on the label.
Foods to Avoid
There are some foods and substances you should cut down on or avoid entirely in your first trimester and during pregnancy generally:
- Raw meat
- More than 200 milligrams of coffee in one day
- Unpasteurized milk and its by-products
- Deli meats
- Raw or undercooked seafood
- Smoked seafood
If you are in the first trimester of pregnancy, you should be taking care of yourself generally. This involves getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water, and listening to your body. This is an exciting and crucial period for you and your fetus, and you should take the time to fully experience the immense changes that are happening within you.