Why do they call it morning sickness when I feel sick all the time?!
Being a nutritional therapist while pregnant is hard. I know what I should be eating but, with ‘morning sickness’ in full swing, I just don’t want it!!
For me, the first trimester was like a constant hangover. I felt nauseous all the time, I completely went off fish and shellfish (which I usually love) and my appetite for vegetables went down whereas my desire to eat carbs was at an all-time high.
I’ve learnt not to feel guilty when you can’t eat a rainbow of fruit & vegetables every day or oily fish twice per week. Instead manage with what you can eat and, if you feel up to it, try and find ways to work things in – e.g. for me, I could only manage fruit and vegetables if it came with the crunch of fresh salad or stir-fry or sweet, juicy fruit straight from the fridge.
Smoothies or soups can also come into their own depending on whether you fancy hot or cold. Plus, you can hide so much fruit/veg in there!
One lifesaver hack for me was to cook some vegetables, add a tin of chopped tomatoes (and flakes of fish, if you can stomach it) then blitz into a smooth pasta sauce so you can still have that delicious bowl of pasta but you’ve sneaked some good stuff in there too!
If your partner is hands on in the kitchen, encourage them to do the cooking instead and that way they can hide things without you knowing. Which may be a god send if you can’t bear the thought or smells of cooking!
Anecdotally, foods containing ginger may help ease nausea. Also, many pregnant women feel more unwell when their stomach is empty so aim to eat breakfast (even if you can only nibble on a biscuit) and eat little and often rather than 3 large meals.
Do try to keep eating fibre (choose wholegrain pasta/bread; and smoothies instead of juices) and stay hydrated as constipation can be a real annoyance, especially in first trimester, and lack of fibre and water will halt things further.
Some movement can also help alleviate nausea and improve your mood. You may feel low in energy, need extra sleep and be unable to engage in much exercise as the thought of (let alone the action of) training and bouncing around can be exhausting. In the early days I had to move with caution when I stood up, let alone feel up for a run. However, I did find taking walks in the fresh air helped – especially if you can find a park, somewhere quiet. Take some long, deep breaths (if you can) to help release tension.
If you’re experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) and can’t keep food or fluids down then please seek support from your GP and/or get in touch with a support network such as Pregnancy Sickness Support who can provide advice and guidance.