Healthy Pregnancy: Making Food Your Friend, Not the Enemy

by in Healthy Pregnancy, September 16, 2009

No doubt, being pregnant is wonderful, but there are definitely a few things that aren’t so fabulous. Eating especially can bring on the problems, but food can also be your friend in times of need.

What’s Happening?!
Drastic shifts in hormones affect your body in so many ways. To make sure your baby gets all the nutrients from the foods you eat, your digestive system slows down. Of course, you want your system to take it slow and easy, but these changes can also leads to morning sickness, heartburn and everybody’s favorite, constipation. I always try to remind myself (no matter how bad it gets) that it’s all for a great cause.

Morning Sickness
Experts don’t completely understand all the reasons why women get morning sickness, but in the early stages of pregnancy, there’s a really good chance you’ll be nauseous, puking or both (lucky you!). Despite the name, it doesn’t just happen in the morning. Fortunately, I avoided the constant throwing up (Toby wasn’t so lucky), but I did feel sick nonstop for about 6 weeks.

    Here is what got me through:

  • Eat small meals. You’ll feel even worse on an empty stomach.
  • Carry crackers or a granola bar with you for an emergency snack.
  • Carb-rich food like crackers, breads and pasta always made me feel better.
  • Ginger ale, ginger tea and even ginger candies may help settle your stomach.
  • Stay hydrated, especially if you are throwing up a lot. Dehydration will only make you more exhausted.

Like the morning sickness, slower digestion and the baby taking up extra room in your abdomen can lead to heartburn.

    Try these tips to dowse the flames:

  • Avoid spicy foods and other irritants like chocolate if you’ve been feeling “fired up.”
  • Eat small meals slowly. Try eating half, wait 30 minutes and then eat the rest. Huge meals make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Check with you doctor about some safe medicines to help. Antacids like TUMS can help and give you an extra dose of calcium.
  • Sit up for at least 30 minutes after eating.

Constipation and all the fun bloating that comes along with pregnancy can make you miserable.

    Keep this in mind to get things moving:

  • Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes).
  • Drink lots of fluids. Dehydration only makes things worse
  • Get moving. Walking and light exercise can help.
  • Relax. Stress and anxiety can make things more difficult.

TELL US: What has been your trick for soothing those pregnancy ailments?

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Comments (2)

  1. Becky B says:

    A few things that have helped me through those early weeks that weren't mentioned. First, have a variety of crackers, bread and other carbs. I let myself exist soley on oyster crackers for a week, and now I can't even look at them! By keeping things varied you avoid making associations with the food itself and your nausea. Also, sipping ginger ale or even flavored seltzer throughout the day helped me keep my blood sugar a little more even and kept the nausea to a minimum. And for me, there is something about the bubbles, I had to have bubbles. Other than that, rest when you can, and try to get some moderate exercise, no matter how bad I felt walking into the gym, I always felt better leaving. Even if I had only spent 30 minutes doing light weights it helped.

  2. Alison R says:

    Definitely small meals with the nausea of the first trimester – it took me a while to work that out but when I did it helped a lot. I have eaten Ezekial Sprouted WholeGrain bread all the way through – it's very high in fibre and protein and tasty too! I started exercising (water walking) at the therapy pool at the local YMCA a couple of times a week which is really helping to keep me moving, keep the bloating and ankle edema down and generally I feel a whole lot better walking out (as Becky B says). For constipation I have recently found sipping Apple Cidar Vinegar and Honey in Water (1 teaspoon of each) while eating helps with digestion and keeping things moving as well as making sure I'm getting enough Magnesium and sometimes a little extra Iodine – get a Naturopathic Dr's advice about how much. As for heartburn – still working on that one but it seems that sometimes eating something makes it better and 1 teaspoon of liquid calcium-magnesium can work too.

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