I received the following question through my nutrition thread and thought it merits a separate post:
"My husband and I just found out (to our great delight) that we are expecting our second child. The beginning stage of pregnancy leaves me utterly exhausted. Since I work full-time (which will stop when the baby is born!) I don't have many opportunities for rest and nap. Combine that with fairly severe sickness (which is not limited to the morning!) and I find myself extremely low on energy. I'm also finding it difficult to eat much of anything. (I lost 20 pounds in the first trimester of my first pregnancy! Eventually, I had to take some medicine for the hyperemesis, but there were no further complications. I'd like to avoid that if I can.) What recommendations do you have for foods that I should focus on? I know that there will be a few weeks when I can only choke down a few bites, and I want to know which foods should be given priority during this time (I'm also on good prenatal vitamins)."
First, congratulations on your wonderful news! Many women experience nausea at some point during pregnancy, in varying degrees of seriousness. Some just feel queasy a couple of times in their first trimester; others feel sick throughout the entire pregnancy.
Try not to let yourself become very hungry. Even if you feel like you can't keep anything down, sometimes not eating for many hours is precisely what makes you sick. If your blood glucose level is low, it can make nausea worse. Try to eat a few crackers or something else with carbohydrates first thing in the morning.
Generally your best bet is to eat smaller portions, eat slowly, and have your meals more frequently. For example, if you are used to three meals during the day, you might feel better if your main meals are lighter, and two or three small meals are added in between. Some women snack throughout the entire day in the first few weeks of pregnancy, unable to eat a whole meal - which is fine, if that's what helps you deal with sickness.
Listen to your instincts. Every woman is different, and your senses are probably trying to give you hints anyway. If something doesn't look good to you at the moment, avoid it, no matter how "good for you" it's supposed to be. Can't stand eggs? Don't fuss about the protein. Developed a dislike for garlic? Forget about its health benefits. According to your personal preferences, try to make your menu as non-irritating as possible.
What do I mean by "non-irritating"? Again, it's different for every woman, but many deal better with foods that don't aggressively attack our taste buds and smell receptors, like fresh fruit and vegetables, bread or toast, cheese without strong smell or flavor, lean fish and chicken. Often the foods that make your sickness worse are spicy, fried, strong-flavored or fatty.
Of course, you should try and continue to make your meals as balanced as possible. Just try and combine them from foods that you find to be non-irritating (for you).
I hope this was somewhat helpful, and look forward to hearing the advice of more experienced ladies. If you are pregnant, or already have a pregnancy or two (or more) behind you, you are invited to share your experience.