Eating Through Morning Sickness
If you're dealing with morning sickness, eating healthfully (and keeping it down) is a particular challenge. Your stomach will have definite opinions on what it will and will not tolerate; when you're feeling nauseous let it guide you. Stick to what works — even if it's the same thing three times daily. Morning sickness won't last forever, and prenatal vitamins will help even out your nutrient intake while you get through this difficult period. Don't worry if you don't gain weight in the first trimester due to morning sickness. It's more important to have weight gain in the following trimester.
You may find yourself snacking more in pregnancy, either to keep morning sickness at bay or because your growing baby is leaving less room for a full stomach. Mini-meals can also help combat indigestion and heartburn. Try snacks that pack a protein punch such as peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers or yogurt with wheat germ swirled in.
Preparing meals when you're not feeling well can be even more challenging then eating them, so try to get help in the kitchen from your spouse or significant other, if possible. If not, stock up on foods that require minimal prep work, such as frozen entrees and canned soups, so you can eat with little effort.
As you have likely already discovered, both the taste and the smell of fatty and spicy foods can aggravate an already sensitive stomach, so try to stick to some bland basics. Traditional comfort foods nourish many women suffering through morning sickness; staples like soup, rice, pasta, and potatoes can be a filling way to get needed calories.
Strong odors can be a morning sickness trigger for many women. You may want to avoid cooking foods right now that pack a fragrant punch, like fish, onions, and cabbage. If you can't avoid doing so, turn the kitchen exhaust fan on and open a window. Cooking strong-smelling foods in the microwave also helps to minimize the odor.
Changing your meal patterns to small but more frequent snacks can make eating more tolerable. Remember that low blood sugar is a nausea trigger, so the worst thing you can do for your morning sickness is to skip meals. And you need those calories and nutrients for that growing baby!
Dehydration can also contribute to nausea. If drinking fluids makes your stomach turn, opt for foods with a high fluid content, such as frozen juice bars, grapes, and melon. (Review Chapter 2 for more on making it through morning sickness.)