Read the first chapter of real food for pregnancy for FREE.

First trimester tips for nausea, food aversions, fatigue and more

The first trimester can be a lot more challenging than you might have expected… or maybe that was just me!

From nausea to fatigue to food aversions to headaches to bloating to emotional ups and downs of “Is this pregnancy gonna stick?” and “Is this symptom normal?” — let’s just say, the first trimester can be a LOT.

For many reasons, you may not be up for sharing your pregnancy news with others early on, which can make the experience lonely.

I think for many first timers, this trimester was not the one they anticipated being challenging. The expectation is that the 3rd trimester will be hard, when you’re visibly quite pregnant and carrying a full grown baby in there (no doubt, that trimester has its own challenges), but that the first trimester will be a breeze minus a little nausea.

Sometimes the first trimester is, in fact, a breeze, but this is not the norm. For one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms —nausea — estimates are that 90% of women will experience some degree of nausea and it’s most likely to show up in trimester one (before 13 weeks).

Pregnancy is an absolute miracle and it’s also full of ups and downs. 

Some days you feel energized and ready to take on the world and others you feel, well, not so great.

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy are often referred to as morning sickness, but this is a bit of a misnomer. For many pregnant women, any-time-of-day sickness is a better description. Your nausea may last for a few weeks, a few months, and—I’m sorry to say—it may even stick around for your entire pregnancy.

Most often, nausea is a fleeting symptom that occurs in the first few months, then gradually eases up. In approximately 60% of women, nausea and vomiting will resolve by the end of the first trimester (13 weeks) and if it doesn’t, know that only 9% of women experience it past 20 weeks.

Not to worry, though! Everything is a phase, including the tiring and nauseating first few months of pregnancy.

When I polled my social media audience for questions about the first trimester, I had so many good ones come in! I addressed as many questions as I could in the following video, which originally appeared on my Instagram page. I address first trimester tips for nausea, food aversions, fatigue, headaches, bloating and more! I hope it’s helpful and reassuring.

If you’re silently slogging through the first trimester wondering when you’re going to start feeling better, I see you. I’ve been there (twice) and it DOES get easier.

A few quick tips for nausea (there are more discussed in the video above + in Ch 7 of Real Food for Pregnancy):

  1. Eat small, frequent meals or snacks.
  2. Balance your blood sugar—aim to include some protein and fat when you eat, even if the portion is small).
  3. Try salty, sour, or cold foods.
  4. Keep a snack at your bedside and move slowly first thing in the morning.
  5. Consider eating more (and/or supplementing with) ginger, vitamin B6, and magnesium.

More than anything, remember this: You’re doing the incredibly demanding job of growing a new human (and a whole new organ that supports baby’s growth called the placenta) and this takes SO. MUCH. ENERGY.

In fact, there is probably never a time in your life when your mitochondria — the energy-producing parts of your cells — are under such an intense demand. All of those rapidly dividing cells and organs being formed require energy at a cellular level and your mitochondria are working at max capacity to pull this off.

This is why you feel wiped out. Lean into it. Trust that the signals for rest that your body is sending you are for good reason… because guess what? They are!

Hang in there, mama. Your body is doing an amazing job.

Until next time,



PS – If you want more information about food aversions & cravings in pregnancy, see this post and read Ch 7 of Real Food for Pregnancy

PPS – Before you go, I’d love to hear your top tips for getting through the first trimester. What symptom was most challenging for you and how did you get through it? Everybody is different and every pregnancy is different, so we can all learn from each other. 

Get a Sneak Peek of the Book!

Download your FREE chapter from

Real Food for Pregnancy.

You'll also receive Lily Nichols' weekly newsletter.
Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

Behind the Scenes of Real Food for Fertility: Insight into the process of writing and researching the book
Can you eat too much fish during pregnancy?
Vitamin B12 & Pregnancy: A nutrient crucial for your baby’s health
How much iron do you actually absorb from food?

Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.


Leave a comment
  1. Hi, Lily!

    Thanks for your posts, work and book!! I’m 10 week pregnant and I’m finding all of them very useful and interesting!

    I’ve one question though: if I cannot access any grass-fed collagen powder (I’m not in the US), would it be OK to get any other brand or would it be best to avoid it?

    I eat collagen rich foods every now and then, that’s why I think a supplement could be well during this special time.

    Thanks so much for your time! Lots of love!

  2. They make salt and vinegar almonds too. Those are carrying me through the first trimester. If you want an alternative to the potato chips.

  3. I’ve just finished the first trimester for the second time in my life and this time I dealt with a lot more fatigue than in my first pregnancy. It’s hard watching the house stay in a constant state of disarray, but I really couldn’t care when every cell in my body was begging me to sleep. My nausea has been more mild than in my first pregnancy, for which I’m grateful, but historically nausea has lasted up to 17 weeks for me and I’m only in the 13th week now.
    I’ve been using a keto, grain-free granola from Costco in the mornings as a pre-rising snack, often drinking bone broth or eating yogurt as my first meal (and eating more after I get to work) because it takes gradual steps to get my stomach ready to eat normally for the rest of the day. A surprising symptom for me this time around has been general discomfort or achiness in my abdomen.

  4. I’m in my 3rd pregnancy and suffered with all day sickness with my first two pregnancies, which didn’t go away until week 17. Even with medication I puked over 20 times in both pregnancies. This pregnancy, however, I’m prepared. My top tips are…..
    -LISTEN TO YOUR BODY…. REST REST REST…. go to bed 3 hours sooner than you normally do… it truly helps.
    -ice cold water always… also have an electrolyte flavored drink mix on hand for when water makes you nauseous… dehydration is dangerous.
    -supplement with magnesium….thanks Lily! I believe this is truly helping! It somehow is helping me be less nauseous.
    -ideally wean off of coffee while TTC or as soon as you get pregnant… coffee is a big nausea contributor for me and weaning off it sooner has also helped me not have to fight headaches/withdrawal. Coffee is also a diuretic which inhibits folate and other B vitamin absorption.
    -Salty, bland, or citrusy foods- beef jerky, rice, cherrios, yogurt, spinach(yes!, spinach is bland), avocados, chia seeds mixed with water.
    -Avoid garlic, onions or any strong foods where its hard to get the taste out of your mouth. You’ll thank me later.
    -use a toothpaste with baking soda as a main ingredient or brush your teeth with classic baking soda…. it helps to neutralize the nasty taste left over in your mouth after a meal.
    -If you can’t keep any food or water down(like me in my first pregnancy), please see your doctor ASAP!! There are safe medications out there that can help make you functional. To give perspective I’m normally the crunchy/natural sort that avoids medication at all costs…. so taking a medication was hard for me….especially during pregnancy. But I’m glad I did because it did make me functional and I was able to drink water again without puking it up. Moral of the story, don’t suffer in silence. It’s okay to ask for help.

Comment Policy