Pregnancy Period

Coping with Nausea during the First Trimester of Pregnancy

Written by: Amicis

Mengatasi Mual pada Trimester I Kehamilan

We understand your concerns. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and a more sensitive sense of smell that occur in pregnancy are caused due to hormonal changes that typically occur in early pregnancy (week 6 - 8, reaching the peak at week 12 - 14, and improving at week 22) until the body is able to adapt to the increased production of the hormones.

Those symptoms may occur all day, but may be worse in the morning because the stomach is empty or if the mother does not eat in the sufficient portion. Nausea, vomiting, or more  sensitive sense of smell usually occur in 80-85% of pregnancies during the first trimester, with 52% disturbing vomiting symptom. 

Nausea during pregnancy can be treated with gradual food intake. When the symptoms continue and become more severe, you may consult your specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Regarding the food intake during pregnancy, the mother’s good health is one of the important factors in pregnancy. Adequate nutrition, exercise, and adequate rest will affect the mother's health. If the mother’s weight is within the normal range before pregnancy, she requires calorie intake of 2200 calories per day in the first 13 weeks (first trimester). During the second and third trimesters, she requires an additional 300 calories per day. Extra calories can provide the energy needed by the mother and the fetus. 

Begin with drinking milk. Dairy products are very important during pregnancy because they contain calcium which is useful for teeth and bone growth of the embryo. Start to consume milk or milk products. If the mother wants to balance the calorie intake, the low-fat milk is the best choice because the calcium content will not be affected in low-fat dairy products. Prenatal vitamins should also be consumed by pregnant women. Prenatal vitamins contain calcium, copper, folic acid, iodine, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, D, E. These vitamins are preferably  consumed during meal or at night. 

Folate and folic acid play an important role in the formation of the fetal nerves, prevent abnormalities in the brain and bone marrow. Synthetic form of folic acid can be found in supplements. Scientific evidence shows that consumption of folic acid supplementation can reduce the risk of preterm labor. Natural sources of folic acid include cereals, green vegetables, citrus fruits such as oranges and nuts.

Calcium plays a role in the growth of bones and teeth. Natural sources of calcium are dairy products, broccoli, fruits, salmon, and cereal. Vitamin D also helps the growth of bones and teeth, found in fish, fruits, milk, and eggs.

Avoid pollutants such as mercury (contaminated fish), pesticides (DDT, heptachlor, chlordane), lead (gasoline, wood preservatives, paint building materials), and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs (a mixture of chemical compounds, found in contaminated fish). Stop Isotretinoin drug consumption. Isotretinoin is a derivative of vitamin A, which is widely used to treat acne. Consumption of isotretinoin can cause defects such as cleft palate, heart problems, etc. These drugs can also cause miscarriage. Prevent the mother’s body from substances that can cause developmental disorders in the fetus.

The followings are types of food that the mother should not consume :

  • Liver and liver products. Contain high doses of Vitamin A that is teratogenic (causing birth defects). 
  • Raw or undercooked foods due to the risk of toxoplasmosis (seafood, meat). 
  • Fish that contain high levels of methyl mercury such as sharks, marlin, which may affect the nerve system of the fetus.    
  • Caffeine in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola is limited to 200 mg per day. Effects that may occur include insomnia (difficulty sleeping), reflux, and increasing frequency of urinating.
  • High doses of Vitamin A (> 20.000 – 50.000 IU/day) may cause congenital abnormalities. 
  • Milk or unpasteurized milk products.
  • Raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs.

Make sure that the mother cook all the food properly, wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly, avoid cat litter, and wear gloves when working with soil.