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What to Eat in the First Trimester

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During the first trimester, a baby is developing her basic body structures and having her first heart beats. During this period of rapid fetal growth, what you eat impacts how your unborn child develops. A diet heavy in protein, as well as vitamins such as folic acid, can boost your chances to have a healthy pregnancy.

Start Strong

Fully cooked lean beef, chicken and other types of meat can contribute to the 75 to 100 grams of protein a mother needs daily during those first three months. Vegetarian alternatives include nuts, tofu, kidney beans, black beans, split peas and chick peas. Dairy foods can also add protein and calcium. You'll need roughly 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. It's especially helpful during the first trimester since calcium helps with the baby's developing bones.

Ease Morning Sickness

Ninety percent of pregnant women have at least some nausea or morning sickness according to the article "Morning Sickness" on the University of Maryland Medical Center Web site. It typically begins four to six weeks after conception. The article suggests eating a high protein, complex carbohydrate diet to ease the symptoms. Nuts, pasteurized cheeses, cottage cheese, yogurt or peanut butter all meet the high protein standard. You may also want to try bland foods such as saltine crackers or soup broth when you're feeling nauseous.

Constipation-Fighting Foods

A growing uterus will put pressure on the rectum and intestines according to the article "The First Trimester" on the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Web site. This can cause constipation that may carry on throughout your pregnancy. During the first trimester, it pays to get used to eating foods that fight constipation. Try a high-fiber diet that includes between 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. You can get fiber from fruits, vegetables or whole grains.

Supplemental Help

Getting at least 400 micrograms of folic acid in daily can reduce the likelihood of neural tube defects by up to 70 percent according to the article "Folic Acid and Pregnancy" on the KidsHealth Web site. The benefits are the highest when taken before conception and during the the first trimester. While you should take a vitamin supplement that contains folic acid, it's also found in foods such as orange juice, enriched grains and leafy green vegetables like spinach.

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