Candice’s Pregnancy Journey: First Trimester

First Trimester

Time: week 1 – week 13

Theme: Balancing hormones for morning sickness

After you’ve prepared your body for pregnancy, it’s time to start trying! I was lucky enough to get pregnant the first time trying, and I think that’s largely due to the 6 months I spent preparing my body and detoxing myself from heavy metals.

Now that you’re pregnant (congratulations!), diet and supplementation become even more important. You want to make sure your growing baby has everything you need, and you also want to make sure you’re doing everything to support your health and well-being too.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

The most important thing is to listen to your body and take it easy. DO NOT eat for two. Bear in mind your baby does not get nutrients from your food intake during this period of time. Whatever weight you gain during this period is your own extra weight and maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy helps reduce the chances of pregnancy-related complications and conditions.

Foods to Add:

  • Bone Broth – a lot of it

I buy my organic chicken bone and feet from https://gonzalo.hk. Bone broth can help nourish gut healing, support digestion, and provide a great source of collagen and protein.

  • Leafy Green Vegetables (eat before 4pm)

These vegetables are exceptionally high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E and K. They’re also crammed with fiber, folate, chlorophyll, and many essential nutrients that are ALL very good for making a healthy baby and staying healthy yourself.

  • Healthy Fats and Oil

I suggest cooking with:
High heat: Coconut oil, ghee
Medium-high heat: macadamia oil, camelina oil, avocado oil
Low-medium heat: olive oil

  • Organic Hormone-Free Meat

I buy mine at https://gonzalo.hk. Try your best to eat protein every 2-3 hours. During the first trimester, eating protein at regular intervals may help curb nausea

  • Brown Rice

Make sure to buy sprouted brown rice so the nutrients are easier to absorb by the body. The sprouting process also removes phytic acids which interferes with absorption.

  • Himalayan or Celtic Salt

Cooking with these provide a better mineral profile than your standard cooking/table salt.

  • Chicken Essence

I bought organic chicken essence drinks to have first thing in the morning as the amino acids inside are highly bioavailable.

Foods to Avoid:

  • High Heavy Metal Fish

Completely avoid fish like tuna, yellowtail, swordfish, and other big fatty fish

  • DO NOT drink cold drinks
  • Avoid Sugar and Caffeine

Dietary Tips for Morning Sickness

The first trimester is when morning sickness can get really bad. It’s best to avoid taking medication for morning sickness if possible, and implement these dietary strategies to ease nausea:

  • Eat protein within an hour of waking – to stabilize your hormones (good options include turkey slices or eggs)
  • Fruits & veggie smoothies – without ice and at room temperature
  • Soda crackers – eat slowly and sip on water before you get out of bed
  • Take vitamin B6
  • Drink ginger tea before or after meals
  • Take Biogest by Thorne Research – these digestive enzymes reduce the digestive burden and help us extract nutrients
  • REST!

SUPPLEMENTATION PROTOCOL

I was lucky to have a friend like Dr Deborah in Singapore who gave me very comprehensive advice on what to take during my pregnancy. I know she’s a person who does extensive research and knows her info especially when it comes to supplements, lifestyle and fitness. Again, I chose mainly pharmaceutical-grade brands that I trust because I do not want to intake any of the junk that my body doesn’t need. My recommendations are not the gold standard, but it worked very well for me. Please take into consideration that everyone is different!

  • Prenatal Probiotics (Garden of Life) – 1 capsule every morning
  • Prenatal Vitamins (Pure Encapsulations) – 3 capsules every day with food (I spread it out and took 1 with every meal)
  • Omega-3 Fatty acids (Pure Encapsulations) – supports the development of the baby’s brain, eyes and nervous system. Also, it’s great for reducing inflammation in mothers’ bodies (1-2 capsule after lunch and dinner)
  • Cal/Mag/D (Pure Encapsulations) – works synergistically to promote healthy bones and teeth. Also it’s great for preventing cramping and restless legs. (1 tbsp after lunch)
  • CoQ10 – This helped me tremendously with energy and breathlessness (1 capsule per day after lunch)
  • Phosphatidyl-choline (Thorne Research) – supports fetal brain development (1 capsule after lunch and 1 capsule after dinner)
  • Whole-body Collagen (Designs for Health) – Unlike “collagen” supplements out there on the market, this formula includes a few types of collagen which helps ensure I’m getting enough for my joints, muscle, skin and other tissues and as building blocks for my baby. I am also hoping this will help my body recover faster postpartum (1 -2 scoops a day mixed in soup or any drinks)
  • Acetyl-L Carnitine (Thorne Research) – This supports brain health for both baby and mother and lowers risks of gestational diabetes (1 capsule upon waking and 1 capsule before bed)
  • Inositol (Pure Encapsulations) – Not only does inositol improve egg quality pre-conception, it is great for pregnant women as it’s shown to lower chances of gestation diabetes (1 spoon upon waking and 1 spoon before bed)

LIFESTYLE 

Exercise

I was quite sleepy all the time during the first trimester. I was taking it easy and did not do any strenuous exercise. The most I did was some easy walking after dinner and some simple stretching at home.

Skincare

Clean skincare is so important because our skin absorbs so much of what we put on it. And whatever chemicals may be absorbed from the skincare we use, can go straight to the baby. These are the products I chose:

For face:

  • Clinicell Enzyme foaming cleanser (for removing eye and face make up and cleansing face)
  • Edible beauty face serum (I was stacking a few of them on my face)
  • Super Goop Sunscreen
  • Suzanne Kauffman eye serum and eye cream mask
  • If my face gets sensitive or dry, I use the pink serum from Celicium
  • Dr Barbar Sturm Face cream (during winter)
For Body:

  • Vanessa Megan as body oil (before towel drying the body)
  • Clarins stretch mark cream
  • Mama Mio Boob Tube

Oral Health

I have been practicing oil pulling for around 6-7 years by now. It’s amazing for cleaning out the bad bacteria in your mouth every morning, which can also improve your gut function. Put a spoon of coconut oil in your mouth the first things in the morning (before you eat or drink anything), and swish through your teeth for 10-15 mins. You can then spit it out and brush your teeth.

That’s it! These are my top tips to not just surviving but thriving during your first trimester. Each trimester is so different so I really believe in celebrating and enjoying each stage of your pregnancy as much as possible. I know it’s not all fun! Thankfully I didn’t have too many unpleasant symptoms but I hope that sharing my health decisions can help support you during your pregnancy. Like I said, every woman and every pregnancy is different, so reach out to our fantastic team at LifeHub for personalized advice.

Candice Chan

Candice Chan, CEO of LifeHub

Candice Chan is a Canadian-certified Doctor of Natural Medicine and nutritionist who co-founded LifeHealth Group, a private healthcare group based in Hong Kong which owns and operates both clinics and consumer health care spaces devoted to creating a new way of health care; and previously founded Younibody, a chain of 7 functional medicine based wellness centers in Hong Kong. Candice holds a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition science from the University of California at Davis and an International Certificate for Doctor of Natural Medicine, from the Canadian Board of Healthcare Practitioners and International Naturopathic College, and is also a certified reiki practitioner, bioresonance therapist and yoga teacher.

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