Intuitive Eating During 1st Trimester of Pregnancy

If you’re wondering how intuitive eating works with a pregnancy, I’d love to share my experience.

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Now that you know I’m in the 1st trimester of my pregnancy with Baby #2, I thought it would be fun to talk about it! (See the full announcement here!)

If you’re wondering how intuitive eating works with a pregnancy, I’d love to share my experience. And if you’re thinking you’re interested in starting to eat intuitively, but you’ll wait until AFTER the baby, I’d love to share why it might be a really good idea to start now! (Or at least shed some light on why you don’t need to wait if you don’t want to!)

I Didn’t Feel Bad About the Carbs

I found out I was pregnant on the first day we sheltered in place. It happened to coincide with Cooper staying home from school sick, and then me getting his cold too.

And then once the cold was gone, I got morning sickness! For me, that usually means I need to eat immediately when I get up, and usually my appetite is for carbs. Years ago, that might have been really stressful for me. In the past, I’ve had so many internal rules and regulations about eating carbs, and getting pregnant doesn’t change any of that mental chatter. I know that for me, dealing with the general bloat and nausea of pregnancy, plus fighting guilt and shame around carb intake, would have been extra overwhelming.

Throughout my whole 1st trimester, I was so grateful that I no longer had a negative relationship with carbs. As I’ve changed my morning eating routine, it’s been fun to see Cooper get involved (he’s convinced he’s feeding the hungry baby in his tummy too), and it’s been so wonderful that I can engage in new food patterns with joy and freedom instead of stress and guilt.

(Also, it just so happened that my early pregnancy carb-cravings coincided nicely with the sourdough craze, so I definitely got in on that too!)

Body Freedom at ANY Size (Pregnancy Included!)

This baby is so, so tiny…

but I still feel so, so bloated. 

It doesn’t make my pants feel great, even early on in the pregnancy.

But instead of assuming that I’m not eating right, I’ve been able to accept that my body is changing and growing. Bloating is inevitable, and there’s nothing to stress over!

Also, this time around I’ve been a big fan of wearing maternity clothes as soon as you want. They are so comfortable, and they made for a growing and stretching body. Rather than try to force myself into my “regular” clothes that feel tight and uncomfortable, I’m wearing clothes that feel GOOD!

Even if you don’t have a need for maternity wear…

I like to advocate for my clients (pregnant or not) to buy clothes they like in a variety of sizes. If you have a few pairs of pants or nice tops in a size larger than usual, you can wear clothes you like even when you are a little bigger. That works whether you’re pregnant, have period bloating, have gained a few pounds, or just want the extra space.

There’s never a reason that you have to force yourself into clothes that are simply too tight, too small, or too constricting. 

Trust Your Body 

For awhile in the 1st trimester, I could NOT cook. It just turned my stomach, and I couldn’t deal with it. 

Sometimes that meant eating broth with rice and noodles, because it’s all I could stomach. And then sometimes it meant freezer meals, or comfort foods like take out. I also struggled with the idea of veggies — so I didn’t push them for awhile.

I trusted my body to tell me what she wanted and needed. And around 12 weeks in, I started craving salads and citrus-based things (like lemonade and key lime pie). Roasted veggies still don’t appeal to me, and that’s fine. My body will let me know what I want and need, and I’m listening in so I can honor whatever she shares with me.

Intuitive eating allowed me to enjoy the cravings I had (and will continue having) while also caring for my body and needs. Sometimes I would eat something that made me NOT feel good. Hmm. I would just tuck that away as feedback that would come in handy next time I was making choices, and move on.

No guilt, no shame!

I also chose to celebrate the take out and freezer meals when that’s what my family needed. My husband and Cooper didn’t mind the change, and I chose not to feel guilty about it. Not feeling good is what it is. There’s no need to pile guilt on top of it!

Intuitive eating during pregnancy gave me the grace to take care of myself in whatever way worked for me at the time. I didn’t have to beat myself up, or feel guilty for not being “enough”. Instead, I could be a really parent and wife who knew what they needed and took care of themself. What a gift, to both myself and my family!

Prepare for Pregnancy Up & Downs

About 10 week in I had a Corona virus scare. I got more sick than what I could excuse away as just the pregnancy, and my doctors ended up wanting me to have the test. Being sick and not knowing what it was (especially with Covid-19 always on the news) was so scary. It was also a reminder to be so grateful for this little baby and how much I already loved them.

Ultimately, it was just a scare. After recovering from that, I had a week that made me think I was in the clear. Less morning sickness, more energy…

And then things got hard again. 

If you’ve been pregnant before, you know how fast things can change with both your body and your feelings. After a few more weeks of morning sickness, things cleared up again. Around week 16 I started to actually feel good, and I’m loving that right now.

Pregnancy is a series of ups and downs, and there is so much happening during the entire experience! For me, intuitive eating during pregnancy has enabled me to:

+ Maintain a positive body image, especially during those first stages of growth and bloating 

+ Accept the changes that are happening with my body

+ Release food guilt and parenting guilt (all the guilt) because I understand there’s no reason for it, and I can choose to let it go

+ Listen to (and trust) my body as she tells me what she wants (and doesn’t want) – including food, rest, and any other needs that might come up

I’d love to hear from you too! Have you tried intuitive eating during pregnancy? Would you be open to it?


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