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    Anyone who has experienced morning sickness knows it doesn’t always just stick to mornings. With nutrition being such an important component of pregnancy, it can be difficult to focus on when you’re struggling with nausea and food aversions at all hours of the day. Pullman Regional Hospital’s Nutrition Therapy team provides a guide for expecting moms to navigate morning sickness.  


    What are some foods that help fight off nausea?

    The first thing to consider is the frequency of eating. Eating smaller amounts more frequently can be helpful. Getting too hungry or going too long without eating can cause nausea to be worse.


    The bottom line is to eat what sounds good to you, to get whatever nutrition is possible during times of Nausea. Start with dry carbohydrates such as crackers, pretzels, and cheerios, then follow with other foods as tolerable, such as proteins, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. 


    Some specific foods that can help with nausea are peppermint, ginger and citrus flavors.


    When dealing with morning sickness, what nutrients should be prioritized?

    St John says there are three things to keep in mind when dealing with nausea during pregnancy: 

    1. Prioritize drinking water and staying hydrated
    2. Make sure to eat something every few hours, even if it’s just a dry carbohydrate
    3. Try to get in your prenatal vitamin(s) if tolerated. Try taking it before bed if it causes more nausea, or try chewable gummies or even a liquid version.


    What are some meal/snack options that expecting moms can rely on in their first trimester?

    Cold foods tend to be good options for those struggling with nausea as they have less smell. St John recommends hard-boiled eggs, cold chicken, chicken or tuna salad (canned light tuna has less mercury than Albacore tuna), fruit, Greek yogurt, smoothies, cottage cheese, cereal and milk, graham crackers with peanut butter, etc. 


    Eat no more than 12 ounces per week of fish and shellfish that have lower concentrations of mercury such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish. Limit Albacore tuna to 6 ounces per week.


    Ideally, expecting mothers should strive for a nutrition breakdown similar to the following each day:

    • Dairy: 3 cups (yogurt, skim or 1% milk, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, etc.)
    • Fruits: 2+ cups (fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits, as well as pasteurized fruit juices)
    • Grains: 5-7 ounces (pasta, rice, whole grain bread, wheat germ, fortified cereals)
    • Protein: 5-6 ounces (lean beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, shrimp, clams, oysters, crab, halibut, cod, rainbow trout, sardines, cooked dried beans and peas, nuts and seeds)
    • Vegetables: 3+ cups (fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables, as well as low-sodium juice)


    Foods to avoid in the first trimester

    Let’s make it easy- foods expecting mothers should avoid during the first trimester don’t differ from foods that should be avoided during the entire pregnancy.


    These foods include (but are not limited to):

    • Alcohol
    • Excessive amounts of caffeine
    • Raw or uncooked meats, fish, poultry, or eggs
    • Fish with high mercury levels (shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish)
    • Hot dogs, luncheon meats, bologna, and other deli meats, unless heated until steaming hot
    • Raw or unpasteurized milk, cheese, and dairy products made with raw or unpasteurized milk
    • Soft cheeses (such as brie) and blue cheeses (such as gorgonzola)
    • Herbal remedies, supplements, and teas (unless otherwise recommended or prescribed by your doctor)


    How much water do you need to drink in the first trimester?

    Keep your water bottle close by. Fluid needs, like nutrition, vary by your size, your climate, and exercise habits, but a general recommendation for water consumption per day could be 8-12 cups of 2-3L/day.


    Staying hydrated is especially important in the 1st trimester because water can help with digestion, which tends to slow in the first trimester.


    If you’re struggling with your nutrition during pregnancy, Pullman Regional Hospital’s Nutrition Therapy team can help. Talk to your primary care provider or OB/GYN about a referral today, or visit for more information, to meet the team, and to explore online resources.

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