Fighting nausea and fatigue with food

During your first trimester you may be glowing with happiness! Or, if you are like the 70-80% of all pregnant women who experience some form of morning sickness (or all-day sickness as many would call it) you might feel more like you’re flushed than glowing.

And what about all that fatigue? Feeling tired all of the time may be one of the first signs of pregnancy for many women. Since we can’t swig back shots of espresso all day, finding healthier alternatives to keep our energy up may help.

Here are a few tips to keep you feeling energized and alleviate that nagging nausea:

Eat first thing in the morning

Waking up with an empty stomach can enhance nausea. Try something small and easy to digest, like saltines, oyster crackers, or dry plain cereal. If you have an appetite, enjoy a light and nutritious breakfast, like plain yogurt with fruit, toast and avocado, or an egg and English muffin to give you energy to start your day.

Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day

Larger meals can make you feel tired, as your body is using more energy for digestion. And to prevent nausea it is best to eat a snack or light meal before you start to feel hungry. You’ll be packing snacks for your baby soon, so you may as well start practicing for yourself now!

Skip the fatty foods

These can slow down your digestion and make you feel nauseated longer and drained of energy. Fill your plate with simply prepared foods that are mostly healthy carbs and lean protein to keep energized.

Try foods that fight nausea

Ginger, lemon, and peppermint help soothe an upset stomach. Cool treats carry less smells, can be easier to eat, and also ease your tummy. Stock up on teas, popsicles, sorbet, or sherbet to help you manage nausea.

Choose bland yet nutritious, whole foods

Processed foods that are high in salt, sugar, and refined carbohydrates may make you feel even more fatigued and nauseated than before. Opt for fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and lean proteins to maximize your nutrition while not making you feel bogged down.

Stay hydrated

If you aren’t already doing so, start carrying a bottle of water with you everywhere. Dehydration can make you feel weak and tired. Begin to transition to non-caffeinated beverages or moderate your caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day (about the same as a 12-ounce dark roast coffee).

Take your vitamins at night

Since vitamins may make some people feel nauseated, you may be able to tolerate them better if they take them before bed.

Consider Vitamin B6

B-vitamins help give you extra energy and some women find it helps reduce nausea. Talk with your OB or midwife about adding Vitamin B6 to your regimen.

Go for a brisk walk or get up and stretch

Getting a little exercise throughout the day can help wake you up and boost your mood. A quick walk in the fresh air can help you feel better, if not all day, then least for a short while. Again, talk with your doctor before initiating any new exercise routine during pregnancy.

About the author:

Jennifer is a dietitian passionate about connecting good nutrition with tasty food. She runs a private practice, Nourish for Life, where she works with new moms and parents of young children to help them eat well and have a healthy relationship with food. She is a mom of one tiny human and two fur-babies, and loves creating yummy new recipes in her free time.

  • “Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy.” ACOG. FAQ126The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dec 2015.
  • Noel M Lee and Sumona Saha. “Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy.” Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 40(2): 309–vii. Web. Jun 2011. 

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