Once you find out you are pregnant, you may start to hear that it is fine for you to eat whatever you want whenever you want since you are eating for two. However, what you eat and when you eat it can affect your unborn baby and the way you feel while you are pregnant. All of your meals should include healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products and a small amount of healthy fats and oils like olive oil.
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During the first trimester of pregnancy, you may need to eat small meals throughout the day to combat nausea. For example, you may choose to eat six small meals instead of three regular meals per day. Your first meal may have to be eaten partially in bed if you are suffering from severe morning sickness. You may find that during this trimester, you have to eat bland foods that don't have a strong smell since strong tastes and smells may aggravate morning sickness. Try to avoid drinking beverages for 30 minutes before or after a meal, suggests the American Pregnancy Association.
During the second trimester of your pregnancy, you may begin to suffer from heartburn, so schedule your meals and sleep time far enough apart that you have at least two to three hours after a large meal before going to bed. If you do go to bed sooner, keep your head and upper body elevated to allow for proper digestion. Eating small to medium-size meals during the day can help. For example, eat a medium-sized breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then enjoy a small snack between breakfast and lunch, and have another snack between lunch and dinner.
During the third trimester, you baby is likely pushing on your stomach. This makes it uncomfortable to eat a full meal, so you will have to go back to an eating schedule that allows you to eat six small meals during the day. It is possible that as you near your delivery day, your appetite will decrease; however, you should still eat a healthy and balanced diet that provides you and your baby with necessary nutrients.
If you are suffering from any preexisting medical conditions or pregnancy-induced medical conditions, speak to your doctor to find out if you need to eat on a special schedule. For example, a woman that has gestational diabetes will have to plan her meals around her insulin schedule. Additionally, she should ensure that she never gets too hungry, as this may cause her blood sugar level to get too low.