During pregnancy, you may experience a ‘glow’, nausea or swelling. While we all hope for the first of the three, we’re more likely to be met with nausea and swelling (not to mention other less-than-favorable symptoms).
Hormonal changes are at the root of these symptoms, particularly the levels of progesterone and estrogen in the body.
In the first trimester, there is an extremely rapid increase of estrogen levels which may cause the heightened nausea and sensitivity to smells, tastes and favorite foods. In the second trimester, estrogen assists with milk duct development and breast enlargement. By the third trimester, estrogen levels reach its peak.
Meanwhile, progesterone levels also fluctuate in the same pattern. This may cause a feeling of loosening in the joints, ligaments and pelvis. Hello pubic symphysis pain! It also allows the uterus to stretch and grow alongside the growing baby.
As you move through your pregnancy, your nutrient needs will change, which means that you’ll want to adapt your diet to fit those evolving needs. Nutrients work to soothe or assist in alleviating certain pesky symptoms. In this way, food really is medicine.
Ease nausea with ginger
Ginger is perfect for nausea and can assist with digestion. Try utilizing raw ginger in a tea or add to chicken broth then enjoy before a meal.
Relieve inflammation with turmeric
Turmeric can help with any inflammation, joint or muscle pain, headaches especially when paired with magnesium. Great sources of magnesium include avocados, almonds, cashews, lentils, chickpeas or leafy greens.
While also adding bananas will boost potassium levels which can also assist your nerves and muscles to function optimally.
Increase fiber to aid constipation
Enjoying foods with high fiber content is essential in combating any constipation due to the increased progesterone.
High fiber foods include raspberries, carrots, beets, broccoli and Brussels sprout.
Boost energy with iron
Iron needs are essential. Appropriate iron stores assist with growth and development for the baby, carries oxygen and boosts energy and temperature regulation.
In pregnancy, sufficient iron stores will help battle any fatigue, boost the immune system and heighten focus. This is especially important in the third trimester and during labor due to possible blood loss.
Foods rich in iron include red meat, pork, poultry but also spinach, tofu and quinoa.
Snack on seeds to balance hormones
Another favorite snack of mine includes seeded crackers. Seeds can contribute to balancing estrogen and progesterone and obviously is a delicious fiber filled snack.
Seeded Crackers Recipe
- 1/4 cup of flaxseeds
- 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup of sesame seeds - white or black
- 1/2 cup of water
- Additional herbs like paprika, garlic or zaatar
- Add all ingredients to a food processor into a fine sand. Slowly add tablespoons of water to make a paste.
- Move the mixture into a bowl then add additional herbs.
- Spread the Mixture onto parchment paper lined sheet pan then move to oven heated to 350 degrees.
- Spread mixture about an inch thick or desired thickness of cracker.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes or more depending upon thickness or slightly browned edges.
- Enjoy alone or with dip.
This post was written in collaboration with Jennifer Jolorte Doro is a Nutritionist and Postpartum Chef who focuses primarily on providing nutritious meals to families postpartum, breastfeeding counseling, and helping families navigate the transition to solid food and beyond.
Jennifer’s focus is, on whole, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients while providing healthier alternatives to some of life’s favorite foods. She is a mother of a one year old boy, based in NYC and the Hudson Valley. Her training includes an MS in Clinical Nutrition and Integrative Health, Certified Breastfeeding Counselor, Birth Doula and Pre/Postnatal Yoga Instructor.