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Pregnancy Tips: First Trimester- What to Eat? What to Avoid?

Pregnancy is welcoming a whole lot of crazy changes along with a lot of excitement and anticipation. Your body and your mind undergoes a lot of changes. You feel both excited and confused in the first trimester of your pregnancy because of the numerous changes and developments that your body is going through. Here is a gist of all the changes that may strike in this phase.

Symptoms of Pregnancy:

1. Missing your menstrual Cycle:

This is the most obvious symptom and perhaps the most easily identifiable also. If your cycles are regular, and you have missed your periods, then you may be pregnant. Take a test kit and detect at home. Visit a doctor too if you are unsure after taking a test.

2. Nausea and Food Aversions:

Nausea during pregnancy is common. You may  feel the constant urge to puke. The regular food that you once craved for now does not interest you completely. Your mouth may begin to feel bitter. All these are symptoms of pregnancy.

3. Vomiting:

Throwing up your food is another very common indication of being pregnant. The constant feeling of nausea ends up at the stage of vomiting. This is a frequent phenomenon as well. No matter what you eat, you puke all of it down the drain. If this is what is happening to you, get a pregnancy test done right away.

4. Positive Test Result:

Pregnancy test kit is an easy way to ascertain your pregnancy at home. These are true in 90 percent of cases. Hence the reliability on these kits is a lot.

Baby Developments in the First Trimester:

1. Missing your Due Date:

When you miss your menstrual cycle and take the test, you immediately want to run to your midwife or gynecologist for a check up and a confirmation. The doctor will ask you the date of your previous menstrual cycle to calculate the possible date of conception. The date of conception is only an estimation as nobody can ascertain which date the child is borne in the womb of the mother.

2. First Trimester:

The first trimester is roughly calculated between your 1st week to the 12th or 13th week. The first week is calculated from the last menstrual cycle. The period from 5th week to the 10 week is considered to be the embryonic stage of development.

3. Amniotic Sac Development in the First Month:

The amniotic sac is extremely crucial for your child as the baby is going to develop inside the amniotic sac. You will now need to drink lots of water. The reason behind this is that your amniotic sac is full of water. By the first month of pregnancy, the baby is about 6-7mm in size. Your child will grow from the size of a tiny grain of rice to the size of a huge watermelon by the end of your pregnancy.

4. Second Month of Pregnancy:

In the second month of pregnancy, the hands and legs are developing further. The cells continue to divide rapidly. The end of the second month marks the beginning of the stage of fetus. Your little baby is now about the size of an inch. The heart beats of your baby will be audible by now and you will be able to hear the little life in your womb.

5. Third Month of Pregnancy:

By the end of this month of pregnancy, your child’s hands and legs will have completely developed. The child’s peripheral organs grow rapidly in this month. The child can now open and close his/her fists and mouth. Your baby’s reproductive organs develop. The fingernails and toenails also grow. Your child is now around 3-4 inches in size by the end of this month. This trimester is extremely important and most major developments take place during this period. You may thus be advised to avoid eating some food items.

What you can eat in your First Trimester of Pregnancy?

1. Dairy Products:

This is the time to consume maximum milk and dairy products to keep up the levels of proteins in your body. Consuming yogurt is advised by doctors in the first trimester. Yogurt contains probiotics and is this extremely helpful for a healthy gut. It promotes digestion and accelerates metabolism.

2. Vegetables:

Eat lots of green leafy vegetables rich in Vitamin C and iron. You may be asked to consume iron tablets in the first trimester. In order that your body absorbs the iron, you need sufficient vitamin C. This you will receive from eating fresh green leafy vegetables. Also, eating other vegetables will provide your body with a variety of other nutrients too. Drink vegetable soup to increase the liquid intake in your body. Drinking juices of vegetables like carrot and beetroot also is helpful.

3. Legumes:

Legumes contain lots of proteins. Your child is multiplying rapidly inside your womb. It needs more and more proteins to aid perfect growth inside. Legumes provide a variety of vitamins and minerals too that would be required for your baby’s growth and well being.

4. Lean Meat and Eggs:

Another rich source of proteins are lean meat and eggs. They are a non vegetarian option to your legumes and vegetables. Lean meats contain lots of iron. Eating an egg everyday is advised by doctors to balance the nutrient cycle of an expecting mother. Some doctors advise against consuming meant in the first trimester. Consult your doctor before consuming meats and eggs.

5. Fruits:

Find yourself lucky if you are in your first trimester and it is also a great season for a wide variety of fruits being available in the market. Eat lots of apples and bananas. Check with your doctor if you may eat seasonal fruits. If you easily catch cold and cough, your doctor may ask you to refrain from seasonal fruits which may further aggravate cold and cough. You may eat oranges, sweet lime, musk melon, water melon, etc during the first trimester of your pregnancy.

6. Iron Rich Foods:

Your doctor will put you on supplements to increase your iron levels. This phase requires you to have maximum of iron nutrient in your body. You must also thus look up for iron rich food items. Consult you doctor about these food items before consuming them.

What not to Eat/Drink during the First Trimester:

1. Papaya and Pineapple:

Your doctor will especially ask you to stay away from these two fruits. They induce contractions and may lead to an unwanted abortion or miscarriage of the fetus. These are fruits with a warm propensity and are hence not advised to be consumed in the first trimester. In your last month, your doctor will ask you to sit with a bowl of papaya and drink plenty of pineapple juice.

2. Alcohol:

Its time to call it quits. Lets accept it as a ground fact, none of your drinks are going to be of any good purpose to you child and to your body. Your doctor will ask you to put a complete full stop on your alcohol consumption. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can make your child also dependent on alcoholic drinks after birth.

3. Quit Smoking:

This too you need to do immediately. Smoking causes a lot of breathing disorders like asthma to your body. It can be more damaging for a growing child inside your body. You must thus stop them immediately without any delay.

4. Fish:

If you are regular fish consumer you may continue eating the same during the first trimester too. However, if your body is not accustomed to eating fishes too often, they may lead to an unwanted abortion of the fetus. Check with your doctor for the same. Also eat fishes like salmon which have minimum impurities.

5. Drugs:

It goes without saying that drugs too are absolutely banned during pregnancy due to their harmful effects on your child.

Activities that you may perform:

1. Walking:

You may continue to walk during your first trimester. In fact you must walk. However, mind your speed. Walking slowly is advised by doctors in the initial months. Do not do brisk walking or jogging or even running.

2. Do not go gymmimg/ Heavy Exercises:

You cannot pick up heavy weights and do weight lifting anymore in your gym. No heavy exercises of abs and crunches. You may only stretch your arms and legs a bit in a way which does not involve application of any stress on your abdominal area. You may also have to discontinue with swimming or dancing. Do not worry, you can resume swimming in the third trimester of your pregnancy.

3. No cycling/ Scooter Riding:

Not in your first trimester, cycling is not for you right now. It may exert pressure on your uterus and be detrimental to the growth of your child. There is a debate if one may ride a two wheeler or not. It is advised you refrain from doing so. Riding a scooty or a bike may cause pressure to be exerted on your body which may lead to a miscarriage of your fetus.

4. Driving:

Different doctors have different opinions on whether you may drive during pregnancy. If your pregnancy involves any kind of complication, your doctor may ask you to take complete bed rest and refrain from even activities like driving a car.

You may have a lot of questions related to your pregnancy. This is just a small list of do’s and dont’s. It is a small attempt to answer your innumerable queries. You must discuss everything with your doctor and follow their instructions.

Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.