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How to Eat for Two During Morning Sickness

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The symptoms of morning sickness typically occur during the first trimester, and for many women, they are one of the first signs of pregnancy. More than half of women experience morning sickness, with the severity ranging from slight queasiness to excessive vomiting, known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Morning sickness typically appears by the sixth week and generally disappears around the end of the first trimester.

However, despite its name, morning sickness can happen during all hours of the day, and sometimes it can last a lot longer than 13 weeks! Some women are only ill in the morning, some women feel sick all day long, and others may only feel sick in the evening. While you are feeling nauseous it can be difficult to eat enough food to get the calories and nutrients you need to gain weight for a healthy pregnancy. Listed below are some tips that have helped reduce my morning sickness during my three pregnancies.  I hope they can help you too!

  • Don’t get too hungry. Having a healthy snack consisting of lean protein and complex carbohydrates between meals can help your blood sugar levels stay even and help you stay full. An empty tummy can trigger nausea. Try peanut butter on celery, chicken and vegetable soup, cottage cheese and cucumbers, or hummus with raw vegetables. Even a quality protein shake or bar paired with veggies can do the trick.
  • Eat more protein. The sight or smell of raw meat can trigger nausea in many pregnant women, but eating enough protein can help keep that queasiness away. Luckily, there are many non-meat sources of protein to help you meet your needs. Things like nuts (including nut butters), seeds, eggs, cheese, and Greek yogurt are good sources of protein that are less likely to cause nausea. Having a high protein snack before bed can also prevent the queasy feeling associated with an empty stomach in the morning.
  • Limit processed and convenience foods. When you are pregnant and frequently tired, it may seem easier to reach for processed and convenience foods, rather than cooking a meal from scratch. But many boxed and frozen foods are loaded with sodium and additives that offer little nutritional value to your body and your growing baby. Choosing whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats will provide more nutrients for your baby. Prepping several meals on Sunday can help cut down on cook time during the week and keep you from reaching for the boxed dinners. If you must use boxed foods, look for organic, low sodium varieties.
  • Eat what you crave- within reason. If you crave a certain food, chances are it will set well with you. Eating a small serving can help alleviate the queasiness long enough to eat a nutritious meal. Learn more about the ABC’s of growing a healthy baby.
  • Change your prenatal vitamin. Many women find that the supplemental iron and folate in their prenatal vitamins makes them nauseous. If you are unable to tolerate the prenatal vitamin your doctor has prescribed, ask for a different brand or for a children’s chewable. If you do take a children’s chewable check the FDA website for consumer alerts or subscribe to consumerlab.com to make sure the brand you choose is not contaminated with lead. Experiment with the time of day you take the vitamin, as well as whether you take it with or without food. If you aren’t able to find a vitamin you can tolerate, be sure to eat plenty folate rich foods such as fortified breads and cereals, lentils and legumes, and a variety of green vegetables such as as broccoli, asparagus, and spinach. Iron is also important and can be found in protein-rich foods like lean meats, poultry, legumes, and eggs, as well as in green vegetables and whole grains.

Test Your Knowledge:

1. What are good sources of protein?

  • Nut butters
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Poultry
  • Legumes

2. When does morning sickness usually disappear?

  • The end of the first trimester OR
  • 13 weeks







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About the Author

Tara Hovis

Tara Hovis

Tara Hovis is a wife and mom of three living in Michigan, and a student currently pursuing a BS in nutrition at Kansas State University. She has experience in nutrition writing and research. Tara enjoys creating delicious, whole-food meals that accommodate the various food intolerances in her household.

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