The BRAT diet consists of bland, easily digestible foods that can help make stools firmer and replace nutrients that have been lost due to vomiting. This diet may prove useful to you during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester when morning sickness peaks. However, always talk to your doctor about your morning sickness and discuss the BRAT diet before following the diet.
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Although the acronym BRAT specifically stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, you can also add other bland foods to the diet. Clear soup, plain potatoes or crackers are a few other food options. Drinking clear liquids or electrolyte beverages can help protect against dehydration. Avoid selecting foods that contain dairy, sugar or fat, as these foods may trigger nausea or vomiting, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
When to Eat
The Merck Manuals website recommends that pregnant women eat frequently when following the BRAT diet. Going for long periods of time without eating may trigger nausea and vomiting. Eating before getting out of bed in the morning may also help prevent morning sickness.
Since the BRAT diet does not provide all of the nutrients you need as a pregnant woman, you should only follow the BRAT diet for a short period of time. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends eating a more balanced diet within 24 to 48 hours after the vomiting ceases, but some pregnant women experience vomiting throughout the entire pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your specific situation and ask for her recommendations on how long you should stay on the BRAT diet for your morning sickness.
Because the BRAT diet does not provide you with all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy, you need to be vigilant about taking your prenatal vitamin every day. If you have difficulty taking your prenatal vitamin or keeping it down due to morning sickness, call your doctor for advice.
While the BRAT diet may prove useful for women experiencing mild morning sickness, always call your doctor instead of following this diet if you are experiencing severe morning sickness or are having difficulty keeping anything down. This may indicate a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, which may cause dehydration, weight loss and electrolyte abnormalities. Hyperemesis gravidarum typically requires medical intervention, according to the American Pregnancy Association.