Eating a healthy diet during your first trimester of pregnancy is vital to making sure both you and your baby get the nutrients you need. Begin by balancing healthy amounts of protein, fats and carbohydrates from the list below, so you start your pregnancy on the right track.

Of course, consult your Mount Auburn doctor before making any major changes to your diet.

Eat, Actually

Many may feel nauseous or lose their appetite during the first trimester, which is a concern that should be discussed with your physician. Oftentimes, women can only stomach water and saltines due to all of the changes happening in their body. This being said, stick to foods that are comforting – and still healthy! – and slowly move towards a diet with more variety as your stomach allows. Choose skim milk, 100 percent fruit juice and water to stay hydrated.

Choose Quality Calories

Make sure you’re eating the correct amount of calories tailored to your body weight. If you are underweight or overweight, you should eat more or less calories, respectively, based on your weight goals. If you’re already at a healthy weight, continue eating your usual number of calories. It’s not until your second and third trimesters when you’ll have to begin eating more and taking in more calories. However, during the early months, only a slight change in intake, if any, is what you and your baby need right now.

Nutrient-Rich is Best

Beans, poultry, yogurt, fish, peanut butter and lean pork are great options for protein while they also provide immense amounts of calcium, folate and iron. To ensure a healthy carbohydrate intake, choose whole wheat breads, cereals, crackers and whole pasta.

Try making a whole-wheat turkey pita for lunch or cooking a salmon dish atop a bed of whole wheat pasta for dinner. But caution —  make sure any meat you eat is fully cooked. If you choose to eat fish during your pregnancy, choose fish that are low in mercury. Mercury can harm your baby’s nervous system, and raw or uncooked foods carry bacteria that are dangerous for the developing fetus. Specific fish you want to avoid are tilefish, swordfish, shark and king mackerel. Also, make sure to check advisories beforehand for fish from a local river, stream or lake. Visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administration website for more details.

Fruits and vegetables are equally important to incorporate into your diet. Dark and leafy veggies provide vitamin a, folate and iron. Experts suggest eating 5-9 servings a day of fruit or vegetables, which includes fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juice. Try sprinkling blueberries on top of your morning bowl of yogurt and chop up an apple as a side. Have at least one citrus fruit a day for your healthy dose of daily vitamin C.

Vitamins, Vitamins, Vitamins!

Make sure you are getting all of the essential vitamins and minerals by taking prenatal vitamins and healthy supplements. While your healthy diet should be the main source of your nutrients, vitamins help to fill any gaps.

Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, iodine, calcium, among others. Folic acid is important to your baby’s development, as the vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects, or defects of the spinal cord and brain.

Calcium keeps the mother’s bones strong while ensuring the baby’s healthy bone growth. It can be found in many dairy products as well as calcium-fortified soy milk, orange juice, yogurt and pasta. Flaxseed oil, walnuts, fish and Omega-3 fortified eggs are excellent sources of Omega-3.

These tips should help to keep your diet balanced in the first three months of your pregnancy, a vital time of growth and development for a new fetus. You’re well on your way, and we will be back to guide you through the changes you’ll have to make in the second trimester.