Mother and Baby

What foods should you eat during the first trimester of pregnancy?

Pregnancy is split into three stages: the first, second and third trimester. If you've just taken a pregnancy test (read: if you only got a faint line on the pregnancy test), have been exhibiting some of the early signs of pregnancy and have found out you are pregnant - welcome to the first trimester of pregnancy!

During the first trimester, you are likely to experience everything from morning sickness to tender breastsfatigue, general pregnancy painheartburn and indigestion - sounds fun right?

In order to make these first thirteen weeks as bearable as possible, it is a good idea to stick to healthy diet and make sure you read up on what food and drink you need to avoid when you're expecting. It is important you get all the nutrients you need when growing a baby so we have rounded up the best food to eat during this important stage of pregnancy.

18 superfoods to eat during the first trimester:

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1) Yoghurt

If hot meals are offputting, yoghurt is a great soothing option to fill you up. You can have it with fruit or try grated apple as that is thought to be good for settling an upset stomach.
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2) Spinach

Spinach is a great dark leafy green that is full of vitamins and nutrients. According to the World's Healthiest Foods it has a very high concentration of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folic acid, magnesium and iron! You can put it in lots of dishes and let it wilt or have it blizted up in a smoothie.
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3) Seafood

Seafood and shellfish as long as it is cooked is great during pregnancy. It contains iron and a good ammount of protein.
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4) Vegetable soups

Soup is a good way to get your veggies in. Go for realtively bland, comforting soups as they will be easy to digest too!
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5) Nuts

Nuts are always a good healthy snack, especially if you are trying to eat small regular meals. They contain healthy fats and choline.
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6) Red meat

Red meat is high in protein, iron and vitamin B12.
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7) Milk

Milk contains protein, good fats, choline and vitamin B12. You can always swap to nut milks if you're vegan!
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8) Poultry

Poultry contains protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and choline. Chicken is a good, relatively bland source of protein that you can add flavour too easily which is also low fat.
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9) Green vegetables

Whether you are pregnant, in the first, second or third trimester, green vegetables are always going to be good for you. They are packed full of vitamins and nutrients and are a good way to fill you up while being low in calories and fat. They should also help with digestion due to their high fibre content.
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10) Ginger

Ginger has almost unbelievable powers of healing. Pop some in a stir fry or have it in ginger tea.
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11) Legumes

The food group legumes includes chickpeas, lentils, beans and pulses. Legumes contain loads of goodness: B vitamins, iron, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, potassium and phosphorus.
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12) Oily fish

Oily fish like salmon or mackerel are great because they contain Omega 3 fatty acids which are really beneficial during pregnancy.
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13) Fortified cereals

Cereal is not the healthiest option compared to the other food items on this list as it can be full of sugar. However, if you can't stomach hot food, particularly smelly food or vegetables then cereals fortified with vitamins are an easy option to ensure you're getting the vitamins you need.
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14) Fresh fruit

Snacking on fresh fruit if you can't face big meals is a good option. Fruit is naturally low in fat and does not contain cholesterol. Fruit contains B vitamins, folic acid and dietary fibre. It always better to get your allowance of fruit and vegetables in real food instead of sugary juices.
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15) Chia seeds

Chia seeds are a really great superfood during prengnacy. According to Live Strong "Two tablespoons of these little chia seeds pack a big nutritional punch, providing 138 calories, about 8.5 grams of fat (primarily omega-3 fatty acids), 4.5 grams of protein, 11 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of fiber. Chia seeds are also a good source of calcium, iron and vitamin A. One serving of chia seeds provides a pregnant woman with over 15 percent of her protein needs, over a third of her daily fiber needs and nearly all of her additional calorie needs for the first trimester."
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16) Eggs

When you're pregnant, eggs are probably a love or hate it food because of their strong smell. However, some pregnant women find it helps them with nausea and they are a great filling start to their day. They contain a lot of protein, choline and vitamin B12.
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17) Linseeds

Linseeds contain vitamin B12 and they are a great extra to add to yoghurt, porridge or cereal to fill you up and give you an extra boost of nutrients.
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18) Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and rice are great during pregnancy as they are relatively bland and inoffensive. They fill you up quickly and everyone loves a beige food. It is best to eat frequent high carb meals that are low in fat. However, if you struggle with indigestion and bloating, it might be a good idea to limit your consumption of them as they are a common culprit.

What food can help with nausea or morning sickness?

Morning sickness and nausea are one of the worst pregnancy symptoms. It often means you don't want to eat all and when you do, all you want is likely to be unhealthy nutrient-lacking comfort food. As tempting as it is to order a greasy takeaway to make you feel better, it is probably a good idea to stick to relatively bland and non-greasy foods that won't upset your stomach further.

Pregnant women often complain that the thought of fruit and vegetables is very offputting while pregnant. This is really difficult as these foods and the nutrients they contain are important during your pregnancy. If hot food is the issue, try a crudites of raw veg or add a salad to that pizza to make sure you are getting at least some goodness. Healthy swaps such as sweet potato instead of chips or yoghurt, smoothies and fresh fruit instead of a whole tub of ice cream. However, we understand that this is easier said than done if you are feeling poorly.

Some mothers swear that a slice of toast first thing in the morning before they get out of bed can help with nausea. Plus, this means somebody has to bring it to you and who doesn't love brekkie in bed? The NHS recommends avoiding an empty stomach by eating small, frequent meals high in carbs but low in fat. They also suggest eating cold food as the smell of hot food cooking can often be offputting and make sure you drink plenty of fluids, especially water.

Ginger tea and peppermint tea are great at reducing the symptoms of nausea when drunk in moderation. However, all herbal teas, especially caffeinated should be drunk in moderation.

What nutrients are important during the first trimester?

Certain nutrients are important during pregnancy to ensure everything ticks along nicely. Your body is working hard all the time which is why you probably feel pretty fed up and exhausted. It is possible to take vitamins or nutrient supplements during pregnancy but it is important to check with a doctor or pharmacist which is safe. These are the nutrients that are important during the first trimester and where to find them:

  • Iron: Found in greens, seafood, legumes, red meat
  • Choline: Found in eggs, liver, dairy and nuts
  • Folic acid: Found in dark green veg, legumes and citrus fruit
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in oily fish and linseeds
  • Vitamin B12: animal products (fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk) and fortified foods like cereals containing B12


What foods do/did you rely on during the first trimester? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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Catriona originally joined the team as an Editorial Assistant to work on the 2019 M&B Awards. As a Digital Writer, she has written and updated hundreds of articles on the site from medical explainers to celebs news and shopping galleries.

Catch her running along the Thames or eating her way around London's restaurants.


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