Before I begin, I just want to say this is my Pregnancy Journey: Diet and Workouts, and I'm simply sharing my experience. You may not agree with everything I say or do, so please note this is "my journey". I am not a physician, so please consult with your doctor before making any decisions. No two pregnancies are exactly alike.
Based on the Instagram poll results, I'm addressing as many questions as I can in this very detailed post. Hope you guys find my post helpful!
Pregnant during COVID
Being pregnant during a pandemic has not been easy. While I am sooo grateful I got pregnant, being away from my family and friends in New Jersey, unable to dine out, or travel anywhere has been a challenge. Before I became pregnant, I always shared Baby Moon ideas with my husband, and his response was always, "Nisha, let's get pregnant first before we jump the gun." Well, now here we are. 😊
With that said, I'm also blessed to be living in Southern California during a pandemic mainly because of the weather. I know this time hasn't been easy on anyone - not pregnant people, not moms, not singles, not college students, not little kids, not business owners, no one. We are all battling something so just know you are NOT alone!
The few places I am going to with a "mask" on are the grocery store, meeting a friend for coffee outside while wearing our masks, and going for walks with my husband.
Supplements I'm Taking
Here is a list of supplements I have been taking while pregnant (and some while I was trying to conceive):
- Garden of Life Organic Pre-Natal Multivitamin: offers 600 mg of Folate (not folic acid), I took this before pregnancy as well.
- Pink Stork DHA: offers 225 mg of DHA, enhances the baby's brain and nervous system. I started taking this after pregnancy, but I should have started while trying to conceive.
- Naturewise Vitamin D3: 5000 IU, I took this before pregnancy.
- Pink Stork Iron Supplement: 18 mg, I started this after pregnancy as I am low on iron.
First Trimester: Nausea, Fatigue, Food Cravings & Aversions
My nausea kicked in the 5th week of pregnancy, literally after I found out I was pregnant. I was miserable from the moment I woke up till 6 pm. The idea of food grossed me out. During this time I couldn't even edit my food blog pictures. I literally could not eat anything, but I needed some food to help subside my nausea. After 6 pm, I had major hunger cravings, and that's when I would lose it and eat whatever I wanted.
During this time, I didn't focus much on eating healthy, I was in survival mode so I just ate what I wanted which was mostly after 6 pm. Quite a few people DMd me on Instagram telling me they noticed I'm eating more "unhealthy" carbs and my diet seems different. LOL. This didn't bother me at all, I actually found it amusing that you guys take note of what my healthy-ish lifestyle looks like.
Most days I was so exhausted that I literally felt as though I had run a marathon. I was always tired, sleepy, and passed out on the couch night after night by 9 pm. Often times, I was taking afternoon naps too. Growing a human being takes a lot out of you, and something I was completely unaware of. This came as a complete surprise to me.
Foods that helped with Nausea
- Saltine crackers
- Whole-grain cereal
- Cheesecake Factory brown bread with butter (you can find CCF brown bread at the grocery store now)
- Lemon/ginger water
- Ginger masala chai - even though I thought of tea grossed me out, the ginger in tea really helped my nausea.
- Ajwain ke parathe - thanks to my mother-in-law.
- The smell of onions and green pepper (I taught my husband how to make Naan Pizza, and he literally ate this a few times a week)
- Salads (don't care for them in all 3 trimesters)
- Smoothies (the texture grosses me out even in my third trimester)
- Eggs (only in my first trimester, I started eating more eggs in my second and third trimesters)
- Chicken/fish (I still haven't been able to cook chicken/fish, but I'll eat it on occasion)
- Haven't been a fan of Punjabi food (second and third trimesters)
Before I got pregnant, I assumed women made up these cravings and aversions, little did I know what happens to the human body. It's crazy!
- Taco Bell Spicy Tostada (I would order 4 of these from Taco Bell before it was discontinued my first trimester, so I made my own version of the Taco Bell Spicy Tostada)
- Fresh bagels and Veggie Cream Cheese (thank you Shirley's Bagels - first trimester)
- Cheesecake Factory brown bread with butter (it helped with nausea and was also a craving)
- Pizza (second and third trimesters)
- La Sirena Grill - healthy fish burrito bowl with Aioli Sauce from my favorite local Mexican (second and third trimesters).
- Habit Veggie Burger (second and third trimesters)
- Gujarati Snacks (Rava Dhokla, Khaman, Muthiya) and South Indian food (Idli, Dosa, Sambar) have been favorites throughout my pregnancy.
- Rosemary Bread with Olive Oil, you can find this at the fresh bakery section of most grocery stores.
- EatBanza Mac and Cheese Chickpea Gluten-Free Pasta which is high in protein and fiber.
Foods I Avoid
- Limited fish, I do eat fish once a week usually shrimp, barramundi, salmon.
- Limited chicken, I usually have chicken once or twice a month.
- Deli Meats.
- Unpasteurized cheese
- Unpasteurized juice
- Uncooked eggs
- Large amounts of Cinnamon
- Pineapple/Papaya - I've heard some stories - Google this because I don't want to write about it.
- Alcohol (of course)
By week 12, I started feeling like myself again. No more nausea, no more fatigue, my energy level was slowly coming back. I was able to eat foods normally, and I was able to edit my blog pictures (Thank God). I was able to cook more and create content for my blog during this time. I was walking a lot more (2-3 times a week) and trying to work out (1-2 times a week). It felt nice to feel normal.
I am currently 28 weeks today and in my third trimester. My energy level has gone down a bit because I'm carrying more weight around. Getting up from the couch and out of bed is more of a challenge now. I feel like I have to use the bathroom every hour, and sometimes I go back 5 minutes later because I feel I'm not done. I'm experiencing acid reflex now, so if I eat too much or too fast, I need to burp it out. I know the third trimester is going to get harder and harder, so I'm trying to do as much as I can now.
My diet is no longer the 80-20 rule, but rather the 70-30 rule. Yes, I have cravings and love eating pizza and the Habit Veggie Burger these days. To be honest, though, I haven't had a crazy appetite since I've been pregnant. The second trimester was a lot better than my first. I believe part of the reason is we haven't dined out since February and I haven't been able to travel. I really indulge when I'm at a restaurant or if my mom cooks for me. Yes, we do get takeout once or twice a week, but it's not the same as dining at a fabulous restaurant - I miss that.
Additionally, I am high risk so I've been very mindful of what I'm eating. I do give into my cravings occasionally, but I don't blindly eat whatever I want. I try and eat in moderation and eat what's good for me and my baby. I haven't used the "pregnancy card" as an excuse to eat desserts. Again, all things in moderation, even during pregnancy - that's me though!
Eating Smaller Meals More Frequently
As I got bigger, I realized eating smaller meals throughout the day worked better for me than eating a few large meals. After eating a few large meals, I noticed it was painful to breathe comfortably. Since then, I've learned my lesson and prefer eating small meals throughout the day when I feel hungry.
Many of you were most curious about my sugar and I'm happy to report I PASSED my Glucose Test. Yay! I was worried about this test because my mom is diabetic and I'm high risk. I was aware of this test and was mindful of what I was eating during my pregnancy.
During my first trimester, I didn't have any sugar cravings, I preferred eating more savory food. This right here was the biggest sign that I was having a boy. I read up on those Old Wives' Tales.
The second and third trimesters, my sugar cravings spiked. If I did have cravings, I just baked desserts from scratch while controlling the sugar amount. I also enjoyed Walker's Shortbread Cookies, Sidecar Doughnuts, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and other desserts from local bakeries. I am keeping (kept) my dessert intake to a minimum. I avoid most processed desserts and prefer to eat the real thing (homemade or from a bakery) in moderation.
If I am outside enjoying a Decaf Coffee/Latte at Starbucks or any coffee shop, I request the barista to half the sugar amount. Any Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks consists of 2-3 pumps of pumpkin spice, I request just 1. Making little changes like this can make a big difference.
Additionally, I stick to brown foods that are high in fiber - whole-wheat pasta, chickpea pasta, brown rice, quinoa, Ezekiel Bread, and whole-wheat bread. On a rare occasion, I will enjoy white rice, white bread, and white pasta.
Adding More Protein
Since I'm eating limited fish and chicken, here's how I am adding protein to my diet:
- Organic Pasture-raised Eggs, I like Vital Farms
- Organic Tofu - works well in my Tofu Thai Red Curry
- Cheese - favorites are Havarti, Sharp Cheddar
- Chickpeas - love my Punjabi Chole
- Organic canned Black Beans - I add these to my nachos
- Peanut Butter
- Almond Butter
- Raw Nuts
- Yogurt - I usually eat some with Punjabi food
- Oatmeal + Chia Seeds
- Fish/Chicken - on the rare occasion I do eat meat
My iron has been low since I stopped eating salads. After I became pregnant, I developed an aversion towards salads and smoothies. I do take an iron supplement as advised by my doctor, but I'm also increasing my green vegetable intake with the following:
- Roasted broccoli
- Roasted kale
- Roasted asparagus
- Arugula salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
- Fresh spinach that I add to my mac and cheese, and eggs.
- On a rare occasion, my husband will force me to eat a salad that he will make.
Healthy Snacks I Enjoy
- Organic baby carrots & hummus
- Organic cucumber & hummus
- Cucumber with lime juice and chat masala
- Banana with lime juice and chat masala
- Banana with peanut butter
- Hummus toast (Ezekiel bread) topped with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers
- Toast with Havarti cheese + black pepper
- Organic berries (blueberries, raspberries)
- Cheddar cheese and crackers
Caffeine is controversial. Research suggests women can have up to 200 mg of caffeine per day. I do enjoy a cup of my Kadak Masala Chai daily, however I have tweaked the recipe slightly where I have lowered the caffeine amount and also eliminated a couple of ingredients. Here is the tweaked Chai recipe in my IGTV Video.
When I do go out to a coffee shop on occasion, I do enjoy Decaf Coffee/Latte, especially during Pumpkin Spice season. Most places will accommodate you, including Starbucks.
Before indulging in that cup of caffeine, please check with your doctor on how much caffeine is appropriate for you.
Workouts Before & After Pregnancy
Before I got pregnant, I was working out at the gym - lifting weights, working out on the elliptical machine, and HIIT. Once COVID hit in March, my husband and I stopped going to the gym as of March 8. I started working out at home doing the On-Demand Peloton Yoga and Strength workouts (not the bike).
Once I became pregnant, I obviously didn't know for the first 5 weeks. During this time I continued working out at home with the Peloton. And once I found out I was pregnant on May 1, I stopped doing intense workouts and switched to Prenatal Yoga on the Down Dog App.
Since I've been pregnant, I have learned to slow down and listen to my body. I tell myself I will workout 3 days a week, and most weeks I'll show up just 1 day. I didn't let myself feel guilty about it because I am growing a human, and it is very draining.
Once I hit 20 weeks, I started working out a little more. I enjoyed doing Tone it Up Prenatal workouts because they weren't strenuous and it was exciting to try something different each time. You can signup for the Tone it Up App, and yes, there is a charge. I literally worked out once a week because most days I just didn't have the energy. On days I did a workout, I preferred doing more arm, core, and back workouts rather than legs and butt. I focused more on my upper body than my lower body for workouts because I was paranoid (being high risk and all). I didn't want to exert myself and I always listened to my body. If at any time I felt I was doing too much, I stopped.
First Trimester: On days I felt like walking, I would take evening walks with my husband. Most days, I wasn't in the mood to do much except sleep, eat, and watch TV. Seriously, the first trimester took a toll on me, so I just let myself be.
Second Trimester: My energy levels returned at 12 weeks and this is when I went for walks 2-3 times a week. I was aiming to walk 1 mile to 1.5 miles each time. I felt like myself again.
Third Trimester: I have slowed down again because I'm carrying more weight around. By the time evening hits, I'm pretty tired.
And that's it
I hope this answers all your questions and this post was helpful. If you have more questions, feel free to comment below and I'll address them. After being on this Pregnancy Journey, all I can say is WOMEN ARE AMAZING! It's not easy being pregnant, especially the first and third trimesters. I have so much more respect for all moms and those struggling to be moms. We are all amazing!