The months of trying and fretting over conception are finally over and you can now feel part of that magical world of new parents!
Going to have a baby soon? That’s wonderful news! It’s an amazing feeling one moment and utterly confusing in another. You feel like you know everything as you have already memorized a thousand websites and books, and then you stumble on one query and feel like you know nothing at all.
It seems like the best of the times and the worst of the times. Your body changes rapidly, one day you weigh your normal self and the next day you bloat and retain an ocean of water. You get moody and irritable at times and the next second you are insanely ecstatic. And this is just the first month!
Your First Month:
Most women don’t even know that they are pregnant until they miss a period and proceed to test for pregnancy. In this situation, by the time you test positive for pregnancy, you are considered 2 to 2.5 weeks pregnant, and the first month is already almost through, maybe even more. That realization in itself is enough to trigger a panic attack!
Don’t all websites and books say that the first trimester is the riskiest and that a lot of brain development takes place in the first three months? And here you were, utterly unaware that you were potentially harming the fetus by lifting heavy weights, not eating properly, having junk food, travelling, fighting and worse – having sex. Wow, so much stress!
No Need to Worry:
But relax, there’s no need to get all worried and stressed. Nearly healthy pregnancies that are detected after 2-8 weeks after conception proceed normally and produce healthy, strong babies. So don’t fret too much. There is, however the question of what to eat and what not in first month of pregnancy diet (or whatever is left of it!), and here we’ve sorted it out for you.
[ Read: First Month Of Pregnancy Care ]
First Month Pregnancy Diet: What to Eat:
Want to know what to eat during first month of pregnancy? Then here is you answer. The first few months of pregnancy are wrought with symptoms like nausea, bloating, vomiting, headaches, tender nipples, menstruation-like cramps, famishing hunger and excessive sleepiness. With each woman, these symptoms appear at different times in the first trimester, and in a different order. Some symptoms may not appear at all and some might be very severe.
In any case, it is vital to maintain a healthy, balanced diet to ensure a healthy mother and fetus. So be sure to incorporate the following in your diet during first month of pregnancy:
1. Folate-Rich Foods:
Even though your doctor may have prescribed you folic acid pills and supplements, you still need to include folate-rich foods in your diet, as it is important for sustaining a pregnancy and also for the development of the embryo. Foods rich in folate include oranges, potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, eggs, beans, greens, etc.
2. Vitamin B6:
This particular vitamin is important during the first month of pregnancy diet, as it can help inhibit nausea and vomiting. Nausea/vomiting is most often the biggest issue and almost all women feel varying degrees of it. Instead of taking medications for the problem, include foods rich in Vitamin B6 like whole grains, salmon, peanut butter, bananas, nuts, etc.
Fruits are mega foods that contain a little of everything and none of fats – the perfect recipe for a healthy pregnancy. They are rich in vitamins, water content and antioxidants. Some fruits are rich in fibre too. At least 3 servings of fruits taken everyday is a good way to kickstart your diet in first month of pregnancy.
[ Read: Mango During Pregnancy ]
4. Milk Products:
If you can digest it, milk is a wonderful source of proteins, vitamins, calcium, water, healthy fats, folic acid and Vitamin D (if fortified with a supplement). Dairy products like yogurt and hard cheeses are as good as a glassful of milk too. Your daily intake of milk and milk products should come to about one liter. To avoid boredom, mix and match flavours and innovate to find out what you like best.
Almost all meats are safe for the first month of pregnancy except for pork. Seafood is also to be avoided. Pork, if even a little undercooked, can carry dangerous bacteria and viruses. Seafood contains high quantities of methyl-mercury which is devastating for fetal development. Apart from these, all hygienically cooked meats are safe for expecting mothers, as they are rich sources of proteins and vitamins.
6. Iron-Rich Foods:
It is common knowledge that iron is the magic mineral vital for maintaining a steady flow of blood for both mother and fetus. The fetus requires a supply of iron rich blood to provide it with oxygen and nutrients. Add a lot of iron rich foods in the first month as your doctor will not be prescribing iron pills until the fourth month of pregnancy. To include iron, eat foods like: Beetroot, oatmeal, bran, tuna (tinned), beans, dried fruits, chicken and mutton.
7. Sugary Foods:
Contrary to popular belief, you do not immediately start gaining weight in the initial stage of pregnancy, and you do not need to ‘eat for two’. However, carbohydrates and sugars are essential for maintaining a level of at least 200-300 extra calories a day that your body needs to make a healthy baby. Eat non-complex sugars, natural sugars to give yourself that spurt of extra energy. Consume fresh fruits, sweetened porridge, pancakes, puddings, fresh fruit juices and smoothies, etc.
First Month Pregnancy Diet: What NOT to Eat:
The first month of pregnancy will zoom past and you won’t even notice it (except for those nauseating hours!). So it becomes very easy to forget what NOT to eat during the first month. You euphoric feelings will give way to guilt if you consume something that harms your unborn child. Therefore, take care to avoid the following foods in your diet during first month of pregnancy:
1. Contraction-Inducing Foods:
Your mother and other older women from your family may have already warned you to steer clear of foods such as pineapple, licorice and raw papaya during the first few months. And they are right! These foods have the power to create contractions early in pregnancy, which may result in miscarriage and serious cramping.
As said earlier, sea food normally contains high amounts of methyl-mercury, a compound which can severely hamper fetal brain development. Since you may not know you are pregnant at all, in the first month, it is advisable to limit seafood while trying for a baby. If you must, include freshwater fish in your diet.
3. Soft Cheeses:
Avoid all kinds of soft cheeses as they are mostly made with unpasteurized milk and can be the carriers of food poisoning and other bacteria. Besides, soft cheeses also induce gas.
4. Packaged/Processed Foods:
Though they tote their virtues in ads, the first month of pregnancy should not include processed or packaged foods like juices, condensed milk, etc., as they could be laden with disease causing bacteria. instead, opt for freshly squeezed home-made juices and fruit salad (consume them within 20 minutes of preparation).
This list, though brief, is comprehensive and hopes to encourage you to plan wisely to suit your 1st month of pregnancy diet . Try different recipes, be careful and have a happy voyage through the next eight months!
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