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Calgary, AB / 587-437-3197 / jenna@simplynurtured.ca

2016 by Jenna Lessner 

  • Jenna Lessner, BSc, CHNC

6 Key Foods For Your First Trimester

Updated: Feb 13

Your growing baby needs you to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Each stage of development requires key nutrients to ensure optimal growth. In your first trimester, your baby begins to develop their brain and circulatory system. Their heart is beating by the 25th day after conception. At this point, your baby has developed simple kidneys, a liver, a digestive tract and umbilical cord. There are a few key nutrients that you need to include for the healthy development of your baby.

1. Free-range Eggs


Free-range eggs contain choline. Choline has a direct role in brain development. It is important for the formation of neurons and the connections between neurons called synapses.

2. Grass-fed Beef


Grass-fed beef is an excellent source of iron. Iron plays a key role in brain development as it promotes blood cell growth. Low iron levels have been associated with low birth weights. However, excess iron can be toxic and therefore only dietary sources of iron should be consumed unless prescribed by a physician.

3. Kale


Neural tube development is crucial during the first trimester. Folic acid aids in cell division and formation; helping your baby form a neural tube that will become the spinal cord and brain. Adequate Folic acid is known to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

4. Pumpkin Seeds


Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc. Zinc is needed to help cells replicate during the early development of your baby. It has been shown that low zinc levels may increase the risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy.

5. Spinach


Spinach is rich in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is essential for your baby’s brain development. As it is an essential cofactor in the developing nervous system and influences brain development and cognitive function. Vitamin B6 aids in red blood cell production. A vitamin B6 deficiency during pregnancy is thought to play an important role in learning and memory of your baby. Vitamin B6 is also important for maintaining your hormone balance and is known to combat morning sickness.

6. Sweet Potato


Sweet potatoes contain a type of vitamin A called beta carotene. Beta carotene is found primarily in orange and yellow vegetables. Vitamin A is involved in the laying down of new cells and is therefore required for the formation of healthy bones, teeth and eyes in the first trimester of development.


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Fallon Morell, Sally and Cowan, Thomas. The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care. New Trends; Washington. 2013.

Georgieff, M.K. Nutrition and the developing brain: nutrient priorities and measurement. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2007; 85(2): 6145-6205.

McArdle, H.J. and Ashworth, C.J. Micronutrients in fetal growth and development. British Medical Bulletin. 1999; 55(3): 499-510.

Simkin, Penny. Et al. Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn. Revised Edition. Meadowbrook Press: New York. 2016.