First Trimester Diet Reality

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Photo: Natalie Bodenhamer

I made it to the 2nd trimester! In the life of a preggo, this is a big ole’ deal. Mainly because the 1st trimester is the freaking worst, or has been for me historically. It’s full of nausea, vomiting, laziness, narcolepsy and hormonal chaos. So, to help mitigate the 1st trimester symptoms, I followed a very strict diet.

I’ve adopted this diet with each of my pregnancies and I’ll tell you what – it works wonders. It’s proven to reduce contribute to weight gain and diminish lead to bloating. And with only two food groups included, lean proteins and colorful veggies grains and dairy, it’s simple to follow. Trust me, you’ll be struggling to button your jeans in no time!

Upon getting pregnant, my dairy and grain intake immediately increased. Probably by 4500% is all. It is literally all that my body will tolerate eating. Lean proteins and vegetables, my daily drivers, have taken a back seat while Bagel and Cream Cheese are enjoying a first class upgrade. Thank goodness for prenatals or else I’d be sure to experience extreme vitamin deficiency.

Hey, this ain’t my first rodeo and I’m not worried about the sub-par first trimester diet. I remember back six years ago during my first pregnancy, I was shocked and alarmed by my food cravings. I spent plenty of energy judging (and subsequently rationalizing) my bread and cheese consumption. It just felt wrong to be simultaneously growing a new life while relying solely on dairy and grains. But, after resisting my urges for a few weeks, I finally trusted my body and followed it’s lead. And it’s amazing how much healthier I felt once I made that shift.

(Aside: I’m sure there is science behind all of this, but what pregnant lady can keep her eyes open long enough to read up on that gibberish?)

As far as real life experience goes, I now know that the first trimester eating habits don’t hang around forever. They don’t mean that pregnancy weight gain will be off the chart. No. They’re just part of the magical process of growing new life… and keeping your head out of the toilet while doing so.

My approach to eating while pregnant is this: Follow the cravings. Do not judge them. Do not rationalize them. Just lean into them and trust that they are a part of the process. 

A few other first trimester diet “rules”:

Eating is priority number one. Literally. “Sorry kids. I’ll get to your breakfast right after I scarf down this cinnamon raisin bagel(s).” Do anything you have to do to avoid vomiting. Including making your kids wipe themselves after they go number 2. Make yourself known at Panera Bread. You want those folks on your side when it comes to “Who gets the last Asiago Cheese Bagel?” (P.S. their rewards program is clutch! I’m working that thing!) Order french fries. No second guessing. If you’re all out of bagels, a corn tortilla topped with lots of melted cheddar cheese and a dash of Tapatío is heaven. Also heaven: sourdough toast, melted Swiss cheese and a sunny side up egg. If you must eat protein, it best be a rotisserie chicken, eaten straight off the bone, preferably in the grocery store parking lot. Don’t weigh yourself. Just don’t. You’ll be fine. And you look terrific. You majestic, life-growing GODDESS!!

My 2nd trimester cravings are already looking little more progressive. I’ve graduated to sandwiches (with lettuce!!) and have even had a few salads this week. With a quesadilla on the side, of course. Progress!

I ate a sandwich at my favorite bakery last week. I swear it was the best thing I have ever tasted. EVER. I tried to explain it to my baby daddy – it was like each bite was a chance encounter with heaven. Like divine perfection in each and every bite.

And that is the upside of pregnancy cravings. When you give into them, it is one of the most satisfying experiences on earth. Okay, gotta run. It’s Quesadilla time somewhere!

Natalie Bodenhamer
Tinybeans Voices Contributor

I'm Natalie, a thirty-something wife, mom and lover of life. I have two girls and one little dude on the way. With a light heart and serious intentions, I explore the intersection of adventure, parenthood and meaningful living. I write at Hello Day.