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First-trimester hounding

Hi everyone,

Forgive me if a thread on this already exists. I am looking for some advice. We just found out that I am 7 weeks pregnant. Some mornings I feel fine and some mornings I can't keep anything down. Today I have absolutely no appetite. I ate a few saltines and took forever to chew them up.

Any moms out there have any suggestions on what to eat for breakfast - to at least get something into your stomach - when experiencing morning sickness? I am looking for items that are light to carry to the office to help keep me filled. I bought a carton of milk and a couple boxes of cereal to keep at work but I find I use those mostly in the afternoon. If my stomach is empty I feel more sick.

I also discovered that I can no longer tolerate the smell of pork (my favourite meat!) or foie gras. I discovered this at our anniversary dinner. Beef seems to be ok in small-ish doses. Chicken poses no problem.

How does a food lover deal with morning sickness?

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  1. Not a "food" answer per se but I did a lot of ginger (tea, supplements, candies) and that seemed to help.
    My aversions and morning sickness went away around 3 months, so hopefully you don't have much longer to deal with this.
    I found cooking pretty pointless during this period, I didn't enjoy anything even my tried and true recipes.

    5 Replies
    1. re: julesrules

      Thanks jules, I've been reading that ginger is a great way to settle your stomach. I'm going to try to make some candied ginger this weekend and look in my Asian grocery store for some ginger candies. I will check my local tea shop for some ginger tea also.
      I really hope that I am like you and that my aversions and morning sickness die down by 3 months too. Being ill at the sight and smell of certain foods is making me a little sad.
      Thanks for the advice. :))

      1. re: ladooShoppe

        Trader Joe's carries Reed's ginger ale, which is VERY "hot". Not sure if they still have the version with apple and ginger, which also packs a punch. Stewart's also has a strong ginger ale. Sipping these chilled, with ice, settles queasiness well. I regard these drinks as medicinal - not something I'd ever gulp a bottle of.

          1. re: ladooShoppe

            Trader Joe's also makes ginger snaps with bits of real candied ginger in them. I found those much more palatable than any ginger candy, and they have the added benefit of putting something in your stomach (like crackers, but better). Don't worry about the nutrition (or lack thereof) with something like this. Baby will take all he or she needs from your nutrient stores, and you will make it all up when your appetite comes back.

            The being ill/food aversions thing is normal. I never had what people talk about as those "weird" cravings, but when I wanted something, I wanted it, and I had to have it repeatedly/daily until for whatever reason I had finally found enough. Orange juice, banana splits, even things I never, ever, ever eat like Whoppers.

            1. re: ladooShoppe

              Check out ginger tea at the Asian grocery as well - in TAiwan you can get packets of sweet, spicy ginger tea that just needs hot water added.

          2. Congratulations! I'm 14 weeks along, with my 3rd. Every pregnancy is different but what kept me going this time through the worst of the morning sickness (which is misnamed and can last all day) are these new granola bars I found in the dairy case. They each claim to have a full glass of milks calcium, and have to be kept refrigerated, but are yummy and don't stink up everything.

            Oh, and I love getting california rolls for lunches. Somehow those never bother me.

            Good luck, and just stick with it and take your vitamins. The worst of this sickness should ease up soon.

            2 Replies
            1. re: tzurriz

              Thanks tzurriz and greygarious for your suggestions. I have seen Reed's ginger ale in my local West Indian store before; will try it out, Thanks!

              tzurriz, do you remember the name of those granola bars? I agree that the nausea can last all day and it is very unpleasant. Congratulations to you as well!

              1. re: ladooShoppe


                Milkbite. I know, it's a stupid name, but the strawberry and blueberry ones got me through several days when the thought of food made me want to lose it all the way to my toes.

                Now, I'm not saying they are amazing, just amazing for 1st trimester. ;


                Remember, if you can get food into your system, the nausea does dissipate.

            2. Whatever sounds good at the moment -- even if it's weird!

              Saltines were always good to have on hand-- and I found that lemonade helped with the queasy. I wasn't ever physically ill, but I had quite a few days that I just. didn't. feel. good.

              Another voice that having something on your stomach helps the nausea -- and hang in there -- it should go away as soon as you get past the first trimester. The second trimester was easy for me -- I didn't have any problems with heartburn in the last trimester -- but it's pretty common.

              Congratulations on your bambino/a

              1 Reply
              1. re: sunshine842

                Totally agree on whatever sounds good at the moment. Don't worry so much about nutrition right now, just concentrate on keeping something in your stomach.

                There were times during my first trimester with my daughter when I would be at work and for lunch I would go down to the local deli/salad bar and get macaroni and cheese with a side of rice. Carbs made me feel better.

                And chocolate milk made me feel better. I gave up coffee during pregnancy, not so much because of the caffeine but more because I like coffee with Sweet & Low and I didn't want to consume it. So I would have chocolate milk in the morning.

                And even though people say that mints help with nausea, in my doctor's office someone had suggested trying Jolly Rancher sucking candies. They were a godsend for me. Carried them everywhere.

              2. High fat Greek yogurt is my go to food during the first trimester (I'm 29 weeks right now). The high fat keeps me full longer, preventing that awful, nasty "I'm so hungry, I'll puke, so I need to eat NOW" feeling. Lots of candied ginger. Don't let yourself get an empty stomach, eat little bits of whatever you crave, including the middle of the night, which can minimize how bad you feel in the morning. I'm more of an "afternoon sickness" person. Overall, though, I love food, cooking, growing it, etc, but I just need to let a lot of it go during pregnancy, which can be frustrating. But, the time flies by, and before I know it, the baby is here, and I'm back in the kitchen :)

                1. I've had 4 pregnancies and some have been pretty rough. The best food changes with each. one I couldn't stand the sight of anything plant based, others dairy didn't settle.

                  Mango ginger sorbet is great and easy to make. The combination of sweet, ginger and cold worked well. Popsicles of all kinds were easier to tolerate than juice or whole fruit (even if the popsicles were whole fruit). Along the same lines chicken salad with grapes and ginger.

                  Morning I would often snack of DRY bland cold cereal like cheerios (for my first two) and gorilla munch for my last two.

                  I ate the ginger people candies or candied ginger, but now I can't stand the sight of them : ).

                  Cottage cheese worked during some. Bananas. Potatoes. For my first pregnancy I ate Annie's mac and cheese everyday at 3 PM (strange while working) and I ate a lot and nothing else the entire day except a few cheerios. Really, if it sounds good eat it and don't worry - it eventually passes - even if it is at 9 months. My husband always laughed that he needed to record pregnancy so he could show it to me whenever I mentioned wanting another kid : ).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jsaimd

                    Oh gosh, I almost forgot how many bananas I ate. And eggs -- some people can't stand them, but eggs were sometimes the only thing I *did* feel like I could eat.

                    And I went vegetarian for several months -- meat didn't nauseate me -- but to me it was like having huge chunks of soggy cardboard in my food - it simply didn't taste good, and I couldn't deal with the texture....

                    ...then I dived off of that wagon with a full twist and a half-gainer right into a 22-ounce prime rib and ate the whole thing in one sitting. (just that your baby and your body will do things that defy logic -- but roll with it.)

                  2. For me, full-fat plain yogurt was a useful option (might as well eat the good stuff, especially if you're struggling to get enough calories) and had good protein/calcium. Cottage cheese was good for protein and was also really palatable. I ate lots of toasted bagels and cream cheese. Scrambled eggs (I made them with butter and cheese) were good, and easy to make when I had no energy to cook. I found a place near my office that sold fresh made oatmeal (Pret A Manger - not sure if you have that chain), and that was helpful. String cheese. Frozen fruit and yogurt smoothies. A nutritionist recommended chicken salad and egg salad, since cold food is sometimes more appealing (but neither really did it for me). Ginger candies and real natural ginger ale were helpful. Unfortunately, to answer your last question, you may just have to put your food love on hold for a while :) Good luck!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: MiriamWoodstock

                      Many many many thanks to everyone for their suggestions! When I told my mom that I was pregnant she advised that I go out and buy a box of saltines immediately. I now have saltines in zip-loc baggies all over my house, car, purse, etc. They help most of the time and I definitely find that carbs help. I've started nibbling on a few saltines before getting out of bed in the morning. Having to exit the shower for a visit to the toilet is rather dangerous and unpleasant.

                      Ginger candies are working; I popped a couple on the subway this morning. I also bought a box of ginger and lemon tea. I haven't tried it yet but I think for the subway ride to work I will try it iced in my water bottle.

                      I found that over the weekend I felt quite okay in the morning. However, my husband left me to sleep in until around 9 (at which point our dogs would get impatient with me and hop up on the bed to see why mom was still sleeping) so I think the extra sleep helped. Or maybe I just have an aversion to work.

                      As for meat, I haven't been eating much with the exception of half a roasted chicken I devoured last weekend when I was feeling okay. I haven't been able to stand the sight or smell of pork.

                      A sincere thank you to everyone for their suggestions!

                      1. re: ladooShoppe

                        A close friend described morning sickness as the hangover that never ends and that is what it felt like for me.

                        I craved FLAVOR during that period, especially anything hot and spicy. Carbinated beverages helped too, I drank a lot of seltzer and sometimes, a Coca-Cola.

                        I felt better at the end of month 3. In month 2, I was so freaked out by a piece of salmon, it took me 5 years to eat it again.

                        My doctor advised me to pay attention to when I took vitamins and if they might be a factor. Apparently some of the stuff in prenatal vitamins can cause stomach distress.

                        1. re: cleobeach

                          The hangover that never ends! It's so true.

                          I feel that your aversion to salmon will be similar to my recent experience with pork, cleobeach. Just typing out the letters in the word pork is causing my stomach to turn! Good thing the ginger tea I bought is actually very good. I will put some on ice tonight. My hubby has frequent stomach problems; this might help him too.

                          I will talk to my doctor about the time of day I am taking my vitamins. I am on PregVit which requires 1 iron-rich pill in the morning and a calcium-rich pill in the evening after supper. I will ask if maybe I could switch to iron at night and calcium in the morning so I could at least get something in my stomach before getting on the subway. Never thought about that one - thanks. :)

                          1. re: ladooShoppe

                            Ginger is a blessing for any kind of tummy distress... I'm not pg but I suffer badly from motion sickness. Ginger ale, ginger beer, and ginger chews are my best friends.

                            1. re: Kajikit

                              yep -- even garden-variety tummy bugs are eased with ginger.

                          2. re: cleobeach

                            It's generally thought to be the iron content in the prenatals that might cause nausea. Definitely do not take them on an empty stomach, that has made me feel nauseous even when not yet pregnant. I stopped taking prenatals and supplemented with single-vitamin pills (no iron) for the duration of my morning sickness.

                            1. re: cleobeach

                              Agreed on the vitamins. I couldn't take them. I was advised by my doctor to just get plain folic acid pills, which is important for a variety of develpmental issues in the beginning. Those alone did not cause nausea.

                        2. Congratulations. I had horrible "morning" sickness the whole time I was pregnant. Not just the first trimester. I was not able to eat salad (lettuce) the whole time I was pregnant. I also had the added issue that I was told to gain a bit more weight than normal.

                          For breakfast, on the advice on my doctor, I had a carnation instant breakfast every morning. That helped get something in my stomach before I left the house.

                          I have also heard that for some people lemon helps their nausea so try lemon in all of that water you are supposed to drink.

                          1. Congratulations! I'm 33 weeks along and I got through my morning sickness (which was never in the morning but always the afternoon and evening) by eating a lot of plain food. I also couldn't even open up the fridge and smell everything in there without feeling my stomach churn. It was really hard to go from being so focused on food to feeling so repulsed by everything. The oddest one was salad - the idea of making a salad in my first trimester made me so sick.

                            So during my first trimester, I took my vitamins and pretty much only ate plain chicken, rice, Lipton soup (the noodle soup you make from a package), pasta with butter, apples and bananas. Didn't matter what meal it was for, this was my diet. And I could only eat the banana if I sliced it into pennies! I forced down soy milk - I drank it without a problem before getting pregnant and made myself keep up with it for the calcium because I couldn't stomach the thought of eating yogurt or cottage cheese. Kept plenty of saltines and ginger ale around me. I think almonds were okay too - the roasted/salted kind.

                            Like you described, if my stomach was empty then I felt sicker. So even if I was full from crackers that still helped a lot.

                            Good luck with your pregnancy and I hope that once the second trimester rolls around you will be feeling better.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: pellegrino31

                              This, too, shall pass. Like the previous poster, I found that I simply could not take prenatal vitamins, they made it impossible for me to keep anything (including the vitamin pill) down, and my doc and I figured out a combo of regular vitamins that I took a couple of times a day to minimize the effect they had on my gut...if you don't feel better soon talk to your doc about it...
                              Don't be too horrified by food aversions, I remember being kind of awe-struck by how my body was able to override my brain during pregnancy, and even if my aversions and cravings seemed stupid, I had to respect that some part of me (and not the part of me that usually runs the show) was being so incredibly assertive about what I should or should not do.
                              I found that I enjoyed cold foods much more than usual...very cold things seemed to help fight that sick feeling, and also helped assuage the constant thirst you may feel as you endeavor to create that whole new blood supply for your little passenger. Both Dole and Edy's (among others) do a whole-fruit popsicle that I could not get enough of while I was pregnant, and they tend to be a fairly healthy choice, too. If you have access to a freezer at work, try stowing some popsicles, sorbet, fruit ices, that kind of thing...

                              1. re: tonifi

                                Thanks pellegrino, I know what you mean about even being afraid about opening the fridge!! I suspected that I was pregnant when I noticed that I could smell absolutely everything in my house, including my dogs. I told my husband that the dogs needed to go the groomer because they smell and he said, "no they don't". I was upstairs folding laundry when I asked if he was cutting up a watermelon, which he was. He came upstairs and asked, "you can smell that?!!" Right now I can smell a bowl of pasta that my colleague on the other side of the room is eating. It is really wild.

                                tonifi, I can tolerate fruits and vegetables which is great I think. Cold and refreshing things like oranges and cucumbers are filling and they help to quench my thirst as well.

                                My colleague just "took me for a walk" (he's the only one in the office that knows at this point - and only because he noticed I was eating 6 meals during an 8h workday) and I got a popsicle on the way which was a nice treat. I almost had to leave the restaurant he went to pick up his lunch in. The quinoa that the server was scooping almost made me toss my cookies! I think I will buy a box of popsicles or iced treats for the freezer at work. If they go missing my co-workers will have me to deal with.

                                I picked up this tin of "Chimes Ginger Chews" candies from my Asian supermarket if anyone is interested. These ones are mango and ginger flavor and they are actually very good. They are chewy and seem to be working when I pop one on my subway ride down to work. This morning I had to down half my bottle of cold ginger tea while standing at the subway door. Close call today but I made it!

                                A crazy ride so far. I look forward to June when I begin my 2nd trimester! Thank you to everyone for your support.

                                1. re: ladooShoppe

                                  he's the only one in the office that knows at this point - and only because he noticed I was eating 6 meals during an 8h workday
                                  Interesting. I had a similar "outing" when eating lunch with my boss. When I told him several weeks later, he said he realized it the day we were at lunch together when I downed 4 pints of water, that his wife did the same during her early weeks.

                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                    a friend of mine had to spill the beans at about 6 weeks after the third time she'd jumped up and run out of a staff meeting.

                                  2. re: ladooShoppe

                                    The smell thing is just off the hook crazy, isnt' it? This continues after the baby is born - you will know way before anyone else when the baby has pooped. My kid turns 3 this month (yes, we are working on PT) and I can still smell it from the other room as soon as he goes.

                                    I had to quit riding the train when I was PG. I had to get off too many times from sweaty/almost puking but depending on where you live, that may not be an option. Always, always have little plastic bags with you in case of emergency puking, which can happen anytime.

                                  3. re: tonifi

                                    heh -- food aversions.

                                    Very early on, hubby and I went out to dinner, and I had a pasta dish with fresh artichoke hearts - one of my favorites. I was relishing the dish, and excused myself to go to the ladies' room....when I came back, I was appalled at how awful the dish tasted...for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

                                    I couldn't eat any more -- but took it home and finished it the next day -- there is NO logic whatsoever to food likings and aversions when you're hatching a little person.

                                2. Just finished the delights of non-stop sickness not long ago myself. It finally eased halfway into my second trimester. I also had good luck with ginger ale, I had cans and bottles of that and saltines stashed everywhere I could possibly go as well as in my car.

                                  Other things I found helpful:

                                  I'd eat enough carbs to get my stomach somewhat under control then make sure I ate protein. I ate a rather ridiculous amount of cold roasted chicken for three months when no other type of meat was even a possibility. If I could get myself to a place where I could get some protein down, it helped so much.

                                  Lots of cottage cheese and yogurt without much sugar. Anything too sweet would send me running for the bathroom, to the point I could *smell* sugar in food and feel ill.

                                  Refried beans, with or without cheese, on a tortilla if I needed carbs or just plain. Normally, I like spicy stuff, but for three months I ate plain warmed up canned refried beans. This was my lunch many days when nothing else would work. As I began to feel more human, I slowly could add back in more stuff.

                                  Frozen fruit/juice bars

                                  Protein shakes from Costco when I just couldn't face food

                                  Chai, with steamed milk (more sneaky protein) if I could stand it

                                  Bland hummus and crackers, then later baby tomatoes and carrots

                                  Avgolemono soup

                                  Hard fruit candies, especially citrus flavors

                                  Macaroni and cheese

                                  And even though it isn't a food, I finally splurged on the Rainbow Light Prenatal One vitamins. They are food based, so they were easier on my stomach, and they come with plant enzymes and ginger IN them so they have a component to help settle your stomach built in to the vitamin. I took them before bed with a snack of crackers and it's the only way I could keep ANY sort of vitamin down.

                                  1. It really goes to show you how everyone is different. I am surprised that so many people were eating chicken at the beginning. I couldn't even go near it...eating it or cooking it. Beef was fine and I even craved it, but chicken, forget about it. It even took me a while after my daughter was born to go back to eating it.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: valerie

                                      I couldn't handle any poultry at all when I was pregnant with my daughter. Just the thought made me ill. It made for an interesting thanksgiving. :)

                                      1. re: valerie

                                        Another one who could not stand to even think about chicken. And I love chicken! It's weird how different things can be.

                                      2. Eat whatever sounds good and wait for it to pass? Seriously., it varies. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a sesame babel with cream cheese and a sliced tomato every morning. With this one (ETA 5/22) I craved protein and made a boiled beef dish which I ate cold with pickles every day for a week. I think part of the key is to eatbefore you're hungry. I always got sickest if I got hungry.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Savour

                                          I've definitely noticed that Savour - eat before you're hungry or else you will feel sick. I have started eating a bowl of cereal before leaving the office in the evenings so I don't feel sick on the subway. It's hard for me to eat in the mornings though because I am not a breakfast eater regularly. Sometimes - like today - I just don't have an appetite. I will need to work on that.

                                          But 1 more month and then it's over. Right?? Right?!!

                                          1. re: ladooShoppe

                                            Yes, hopefully just one more month! But even if it just gets better slowly over time, it will feel incredible. People ask me how I feel, and I say, "Oh, SO much better, I'm only somewhat exhausted, and I'm only nauseous for about 5 hours a day." When they see that I'm seriously pleased to report that, they look at me like I'm crazy :)

                                          2. My husband always brought me some saltines and flat ginger ale before I got out of bed in the morning. It seemed to help. Now, I think I'd try just hot water with sliced ginger and a bit of honey. I have grandchildren now, but the memory of "morning sickness" doesn't leave you. Good luck.

                                            1. I always took my vitamins right before bedtime, so I could sleep through the worst of the nausea. Ginger helped me for a while (candies, very cold ginger ale) but then it didn't any more. I alternated between saltines and Triscuits - the salt helped, but I couldn't eat the same thing over and over again. I craved fruit and dairy - I ate a ton of cottage cheese with berries, Edy's frozen fruit bars, and drank probably 2 glasses of milk each day. Spicy foods (burritos, etc. - thank goodness for Moe's) always went down well. Pasta was good too, but no red sauce.

                                              I wanted nothing to do with meat that I had to cook, or even think about ordering - there were several dinners out where I told DH "just order for me so I don't have to look at the menu" - it took a while for him to get it! I did have a few days where I had to succumb to cravings for Five Guys cheeseburgers, though.

                                              My afternoon "morning sickness" lasted until about 14 weeks, so just as I could tell everyone why I was nauseous at random times, it stopped. :)

                                              Oh, and like others, my boss guessed early on (~7 weeks) - we were on the subway en route to a meeting, and I got very, very green from the repeated stop-and-go motion. He was kind enough not to ask, just waited till I told him.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: truman

                                                Oh, that's another thing -- anything that took long cooking was tough because by the time it was ready to eat I couldn't stand the smell. I didn't have a chicken aversion until I roasted a chicken at home.

                                              2. Try a plain baked potato. It's b vitaminy.

                                                1. I wish I had seen this earlier last month! I found out I was 7 weeks at almost the exact same time and needed a little advice.
                                                  I'm curious, ladoo, how are you feeling now??

                                                  I was like you and couldn't tolerate the smell of most of my favorite things, and got horribly sick when my stomach was empty. Felt like I lived on Rice Chex, saltines, chicken soup, frozen mango, melon, and ice cream (all kinds ;) for those weeks.

                                                  All of a sudden, I felt like myself again a few weeks ago (I'm almost 16 weeks now). Hope you are feeling better!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                    for a huge number of women, it's like someone turned a switch -- it's not always exactly at the end of the first trimester, but somewhere around that mark -- bam. You start feeling better.

                                                    I went vegetarian my second trimester -- not out of any health or moral issues, but because meat mostly tasted and felt like wet cardboard to me. I could manage ground meat in a a sauce like bolognaise, but any other chunks of meat were just yuck. Not nauseating, just unpleasant

                                                    Checked with the OB, who just walked me through guidelines to make sure I was taking my vitamins and getting plenty of protein from other sources (I ate enough eggs, cheese and beans to sink a battleship...) Then went to Chicago for a trade show at 6 months and *I WANTED MEAT. NOW.** I wiped out an 18-oz prime rib, much to the amusement of my coworkers (who all knew I was veg at the time). Such is pregnancy.

                                                    My second and third trimesters were Italian -- even the little Sicilian woman who owned the cafe down the street was surprised that a pregnant woman could eat as much tomato sauce as I did and not have indigestion. Never did -- I couldn't eat much at one sitting, but never any heartburn or indigestion (which many other women have). And go figure -- that one loves tomato sauce (but won't eat a tomato on a bet).

                                                    1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                      GreyHound! Hi! I am feeling much, much better. I am still sensitive to smells but they don't bother me as much anymore. I haven't tried eating pork belly yet; the chance has not come up but I am planning to stay away for a little while longer so as not to bring up any bad memories.

                                                      Now, I crave carbs like a fiend. For breakfast I had 3 slices of toast with peanut butter and for lunch I am eating a giant dish of pasta and veal sauce.

                                                      Thanks for posting; I hope the other Chowhounders suggestions helped; they definitely helped me. I am 15 weeks today. Congratulations to you!