Diet for the First Weeks of a Pregnancy

by Kirstin Hendrickson

About Kirstin Hendrickson

Kirstin Hendrickson is a writer, teacher, coach, athlete and author of the textbook "Chemistry In The World." She's been teaching and writing about health, wellness and nutrition for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in zoology, a Bachelor of Science in psychology, a Master of Science in chemistry and a doctoral degree in bioorganic chemistry.


While the first weeks of pregnancy present some of the most rapid relative growth and change to your body, your new baby, called an embryo at this stage, is incredibly small. Although a healthy diet is important, you don't need to increase your food intake. A regular, healthy, balanced diet is the best diet for early pregnancy.

Early Pregnancy

According to the American Pregnancy Association, a typical embryo is less than an inch long by the end of the sixth week. Although your developing embryo develops tremendously during this time, it remains quite small. These tiny embryos need very little in the way of calories and nutrients. Your body provides the necessary nutrients to sustain your baby, and although you don't have to worry about making any significant changes if your diet, it's always a good idea to make good choices -- for yourself, and for your growing baby.

Vitamin Considerations

While you don't need extra calories early-on in your pregnancy, you may want to consider adding prenatal vitamins to your diet. There are many nutrients in prenatal vitamins that support the growth of your baby, one being folic acid. Folic acid is a supplement that supports neural tube development and is vital during early pregnancy. Drs. Roizen and Oz, authors of "You: Having A Baby," recommend 1,000mcg per day of folic acid in the form of a supplement.

Food Considerations

Though you don't need extra food during the first weeks of pregnancy, you should strive to make healthy choices. The best early pregnancy diet is healthy, balanced and includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, notes Dr. Miriam Stoppard in her book "Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth." Try to eat whole grains, lean sources of protein and plant-based fats to fulfill your energy needs. Avoid foods with large quantities of added sugars and fats, since they're low in vitamins relative to caloric content.

Special Considerations

One of the problems you may face during the first weeks of a pregnancy is morning sickness -- over half of all pregnant women suffer from pregnancy-related nausea. If it's hard to eat well due to queasiness, eat whatever you're able to keep down. You can make up for the nutrient deficiencies later in pregnancy. In fact, morning sickness affects some women so strongly that they actually lose weight during early pregnancy, but this rarely affects the health of the baby. If you're concerned about pregnancy-related nausea and it's effect on your growing baby, speak to your doctor about ways to reduce or eliminate morning sickness.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or