Food was an interesting category for me during the first three months of pregnancy. I had been eating extremely healthy prior to conception and during the first few weeks. As I said, around six weeks I got hit with wonderful pregnancy nausea. I looked at my salad for lunch one day and started gagging. I just has my first full salad since then this week! It seemed that everything I had been eating right before conception and for those first few weeks sounded awful (salads, smoothies, homemade juices, most vegetables, fish, Lara bars, Naked Juices, chickpeas, almond butter, and quinoa). I always thought prior to pregnancy that I would have no issues sticking with the Paleo diet throughout, but didn’t realize how hard it would really be.
To combat the nausea, I tried eating small snacks throughout the day that were healthy but not worrying if they were necessarily Paleo. Nausea means you are hungry, so even if I already had a small breakfast and felt sick around 9 a.m., I ate something again. Some things that helped me through that period included: gluten-free brown rice toast with jelly and butter, lots of scrambled and fried eggs, fruit (especially bananas, strawberries, apples and pineapple), homemade granola with almond milk, full-fat yogurt, chicken, hamburgers, baked sweet/white potatoes, oatmeal with peanut butter, and cooked rice. I mostly just wanted plain foods without a lot of seasoning and carbs. One night for dinner I had cereal, toast, a banana and ice cream. I felt like a two year old! I’m happy I didn’t get an aversion to meat which a lot of pregnant women do. I could’ve eaten a cheeseburger almost every day in the beginning and still could!
I had some weak moments and cravings for foods that I hadn’t eaten in a long time: real pasta, soda, canned frosting, pudding, popcorn, French fries, cereal, bagels with cream cheese, etc. I tried not to cave in too often because I know how important nutrition is for the baby. Or if the craving was still strong, I would try to make homemade versions or get all-natural options whenever possible. Not to say I didn’t make Joe some Funfetti cupcakes just so I could eat the frosting… Usually once I satisfied my craving either with the real thing or a healthier version, it tended to go away.
At first I was really beating myself up for making poor food choices, but most days I barely had the energy to go to work, let alone cook. Luckily, Joe helped me out a ton and did a lot of cooking whenever possible. I learned to not worry too much if I had an unhealthy meal here or there. The most important part at the time was trying to get as much nutrition as possible even if it was through eating the same thing every day.
Around 10-12 weeks, things started getting better in the food department. I was able to eat more 100% Paleo meals, even if it was only one or two a day. I stuck with eggs/frittatas, sausage, sweet potatoes, lots of avocado, burgers with no bun, steak, and cooked veggies (green beans, asparagus).
In the first trimester I gained about 2-3 pounds which is perfectly normal. Some women even lose weight from morning sickness, which luckily I didn’t. I could feel my pants getting a little tighter around 10-11 weeks and can’t button them anymore. Even though most people that don’t know me wouldn’t be able to tell, I can see the changes as my stomach grows.
Exercise was also very tough for me during the first trimester. Prior to pregnancy, I was a dedicated exerciser doing a mix of pilates, weight lifting and cardio about five days a week. I tried for a little while to stick to my 5 a.m. workout schedule after getting pregnant but that didn’t last. I really slowed down my exercise routine and honestly didn’t do much. I tried to walk more when the weather was nice, do some light weight lifting and pilates as long as it felt comfortable and housework when I had the energy. If I started getting really tired or having cramps, I would stop. There was no point in pushing myself. I want to maintain some sort of endurance and strength throughout my pregnancy so hopefully delivery will go smoothly and losing weight after birth is also easier, but I’m trying not to stress too much. I do what I can, when I can, even if it’s only for 20 minutes a few times a week.
Ladies who have been pregnant, what cravings did you have? How did you maintain a workout routine, if any?