I always thought that I’d eat the healthiest I’d ever eat while pregnant. I am growing a child and that certainly seems like a good reason to eat my best. Not to mention, two of my top vices, alcohol and coffee would be eliminated (it’s actually safe to drink coffee in small quantities while pregnant but I have not been). How could I not be the healthiest I’ve ever been?
But what I never expected was the way that my morning sickness would change my appetite. Starting around week 5, my typical spinach salad lunches were tossed in the trash in favor of any carb I could get my hands on. My all-day nausea was slightly eased by the constant consumption of carbs. At first I even bought the healthiest crackers I could find in the health mecca Whole Foods – but ended up throwing the crackers away because the smell and sight of them made me want to barf. The only thing that I could stand to eat throughout the day was pita chip crackers and gold fish crackers. And bagels and smoothies. I definitely made a few stops at Einstein’s or Jamba Juice on the way to work, even after I’d already eaten oatmeal for breakfast.
For a while, most veggies repulsed me (fruit was still fair game, especially if it was cold and I ate about 3-4 pieces a day). I still liked my green beans but for some reason really liked to eat them with pesto pasta. Mike soon grew sick (and gained weight from) the pesto pasta + green bean combo. Often I was too sick to even cook so we’d go out to dinner, picking up pizza or some other food that wouldn’t make me want to barf. One night I even made Kraft Mac & Cheese in an attempt to re-create my favorite childhood comfort food (I must report it was not as good as I remember).
If I had to say I had one craving, it was smoothies (could be worse!). I didn’t always indulge in the craving since smoothies are expensive and I later learned also filled with sugar, despite the fact that I’d order the fruit and veggie only variety (should have known, Jamba Juice). Besides the sweet smoothies, generally I craved salty/carby foods over sweet foods (apparently this is one sign that I might be having a boy, but the nausea means I’m having a girl, so your guess is as good as mine). I’m loving french fries these days.
Needless to say, the combination of my change in food preference and the fact that I was constantly eating, led to first trimester weight gain despite a consistent workout routine (averaging 6 days a week, but less intensity than before). Unfortunately the “eating for two” thing is a myth- in the first trimester you actually need ZERO extra calories. It’s recommended that you gain about 1-5 lbs in the first trimester and often women actually lose weight due to the fact that they are constantly barfing (I only threw up once) – I gained 8. While I’m sure some of that has to do with additional breast tissue (hello I’ve grown a size already) and water retention, plus a growing uterus and a tiny little baby, I’m pretty sure a sizable amount is fat. But, you need fat to carry and nurse a baby so I’m going with that. Not to mention, I started this journey at an all time low weight, having just come off of marathon training and 3 weeks of hiking during a very active vacation, so while 8 lbs sounds like a lot, it’s really just about 5 more than my average weight. My doctor didn’t seem to be concerned about it at all, so I’m trying not to be either!
I’ll write another post about my 2nd trimester nutrition but I will say I’ve gotten a lot better! The nausea stopped around week 12 and I’ve been able to incorporate a lot of my taboo foods back into my diet (even a few spinach salads and some kale!), although I still have a strong aversion to kind bars and any kind of “health bar”, almonds, raw walnuts (caramelized are ok!) and random other things. In general, I’m indulging more often than I do normally, but I still would consider my diet on the healthier side.
Did you eat differently than you expected while pregnant? Any strong aversions or cravings?