A Pregnant Pause

Dear Home Ec 101,

I just found out that I am pregnant (starting my 6th week) and have been unable to eat most everything.  Luckily my cravings have been running mostly to fruit and chicken, but it is difficult to know what I will or won’t be able to eat on a given day.  And seeing as I was unable to eat anything but crackers for 3 days last week, it is making it difficult to know when this will change.  How do you propose to continue meal planning while you are pregnant?  As it stands right now, I work days and my husband works nights and this is our first child.  He fends for himself during the day and I do the same for myself at night…no other mouths to worry about.  Any suggestions?

Signed,

Knocked Up in Knockglen

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

Oh, do I ever remember those days of being able to eat only the most random foods ever. It was the worst with my first child. I lived with my first husband and his parents for the first couple of months of my pregnancy, and while my former mother-in-law is a fabulous cook, she’d sometimes make things that were completely vomit-inducing because of being pregnant. Once, she boiled a chicken, and I had to leave the house until the smell went away. Another time, she fried up some chicken gizzards for me. Yeah. Chicken gizzards. For a pregnant woman. Heh. That did not turn out well.

I was grateful to her, though, because she was very kind and generally catered to my pregnant randomness, running out into the cold night because I wanted strawberries, and buying Slim Jims by the bucketload. Once my first husband and I moved out on our own, my dear grandma did all the running*, and she wasn’t nearly as kind as my former mother-in-law was. That’s family for you.

By the time I was pregnant with my second child, I was older and healthier, so I did all my own running, since my husband worked a job that kept him at work from 8 AM to 10 PM, later on the weekends. And this is where my advice to you comes in. (Sorry, I’m in a reminiscent and rambly mood today. Bear with me.) My oldest son was in school all day, so the only meal I was really responsible for was the evening meal. I used a method of shopping my mom always called marketing. Basically, you stop by the store on your way home from wherever, and pick up what you need for the next 24 hours or so.

Now, this method is a little heavy on the wallet. We didn’t have piles of money at the time, so I set a hard budget for what I could spend each day. I basically took our monthly budget and divided it by 30, and then rounded down since I was using a little extra gas stopping by the grocery store each day.

I’d also pick up any other things we needed, like laundry detergent and dish soap, so when we ran out of those items, I adjusted the budget a little. This is absolutely the easiest way to suit your cravings, and it also saves you a little heavy lifting, since you’re only getting a bag or two of groceries at a time.

By the time my third (and final!) child came along, I had the marketing method down to a science. It’s still far cheaper to plan meals around sales and ahead of time, but I think pregnancy is a special time in one’s life, and you might as well enjoy it as much as possible.

Home Eccers, what did you do when you were pregnant for meal planning? Home Eccers who’ve not been pregnant- let’s hear about some really weird cravings you’ve had. Just last week I had the WORST craving for a peanut butter and banana sandwich. It’s not all that strange, other than how strong my desire was for it, and I’m not even pregnant. 😀

*I was on complete bedrest starting in my 18th week of pregnancy, because- get this- my cervix is incompetent. (I tried to fire it for being incompetent and get a competent cervix in there to do the job, but my cervix has tenure and therefore cannot be fired.) I was also very young and very underweight and my doctor wanted to be on the side of caution.



11 Comments

  1. Cindy on January 12, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I definitely always freez a LOT of food. That way me and my two sons always have a meal almost "ready", since i often do not have lot of time cause another baby coming…

  2. Judith on January 24, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    I agree with the marketing approach; I did that in my first pregnancy so that I could make what seemed appealing (though I kept basics in all the time: pasta, peanut butter, fruit, raw vegs.) We were on a tight budget so I had to satisfy cravings in little doses! Though, I’ll admit, I ate ice cream at Baskin Robbins every day (it was on the way home from the grocery store!) for a few months. Then I craved lemonade (it was winter and I found every neighborhood diner that had lemonade! They were so kind!)
    Try to balance the nutrition you need with your cravings as you can. Both you and baby need it!

  3. Jennie on January 24, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I’m currently pregnant and had bad aversions the first trimester. I did whatever I needed to do to eat. I caved into my cravings and then once they settled down I was able to start eating a healthier diet. I really like the marketing idea, wish I would’ve known. I’m in my third trimester and am able to cook most things. We don’t eat fish becuase I can’t stand the smell but other than that, not much else bothers me.

    My advice is go with the flow and do what you need to do to get through these next several weeks.

  4. Mom of three on January 23, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    With #1, I ate watermelon and pimento cheese for six months. I got pregnant in April, so it wasn’t too bad on the budget. Who knows what hubby ate, but I would say not much since he’d watch me eat the watermelon and pimento cheese and then barf it all up and do it again, over and over again. The last three months, I ate everything in sight, including an entire family size bag of chips with dip the night I went into labor. NEVER ask for an antacid in a hospital. NEVER…

    With #2, we ate whatever I could pull into the buggy before #1 and morning sickness drove me to the car. Ever had sour kraut and peanut butter together. Trust me, no one was craving it, that was all we had one week. #1 ate nothing but baby food and nursed. He was 10 months when I realized I was three months pregnant. Thought the throwing up was from the migraines. 😉 When morning sickness finally passed, and he was weaned, we had a few normal months where I just did shopping once a week as normal. Once he stopped eating out of those little jars, hubby and I got to eat again.

    With #3, we were finally well off enough that hubby just brought home take out for the first three months. After that I seemed to bloom. She has always been the easiest of the three.

    So, anyone wonder why there’s not a number 4?

  5. Pam on January 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    When you are well enough to cook make two or three of everything and freeze in single or double portions.

  6. a mom on January 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    With my second child, I didn’t have morning sickness at all, but I got “afternoon sickness.” Basically I was nauseous from after lunch until early evening. I just cooked dinner in the morning, then my husband could reheat it for the family.

  7. Sheri on January 23, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    I’m a fish, veggies, and salad type–but when I was pregnant, I was absolutely starving at all times (especially in the first half of the pregnancy), and I craved steaks, potatoes . . . and beer! I actually kept alcohol-free beer in the house–never before or since–and had one every day. I have no idea what all of that was about, but my family still laughs about how they can tell I am pregnant because I start eating like a teenage boy.

  8. Keter on January 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I didn’t have cravings or morning sickness, but I had aversions! With my son, I could not stand the smell or taste of coffee (I’ve been a coffee drinker since I was a toddler – no joke), and all meat smelled rotten. I had to ask my husband to smell the meat before I cooked it, because I couldn’t tell if something really was rotten.

    With my daughter, it got worse: EVERYTHING smelled rotten.

    Weirdly, I could sort of hold my breath and eat, even though stuff tasted wrong, it didn’t make me nauseated. The up side of this was that I also didn’t get the ravenous appetite and didn’t gain much weight in fat (but made up for that in retained water – scared the heck out of my doctors but my blood pressure stayed low).

    I probably should mention that my pregnancies weren’t typical; I never got a positive pregnancy test (I had to fight with doctors until the movement was obvious!) and both went over term – 10 months and 10 months two weeks.

  9. Karen on January 23, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Congratulations KUIK,

    This may seem a little “radical” but if your aversions are really bad such that you accept that you might need to live on crackers and toast for a few weeks, how about switching some responsibilities with your husband? Let the person who is going to be doing the eating do the planning and even preparing?

    Then stock up on your staples (crackers, rice…). Eat with him if you can, eat toast if you can’t. Try to convince your husband to choose things that make good leftovers; then he can have them for lunch if you take a pass on dinner.

    If he’s reluctant, point out that this will mean that he can eat whatever he wants for a while. And try not to interfere much. You’ll learn about his preferences and he gain an appreciation for how much work/thought goes into feeding him (sorry for the sexist assumption).

    Meanwhile, instead of food responsibilities, you could take on some things in his portfolio – laundry? taxes? vacumming?

    P.S. I’ve been there twice with the tummy trouble. With my first, my dinner for 8 weeks (from 6 to 14) was a small microwaved potato sprinkled with a little salt. I’m 18-weeks pregnant with my second and lost 6 pounds in my first trimester. A tip that I just recently learned from a friend of a friend is too space out liquids and solids. Wait at least 30 minutes after drinking to eat, wait at least 60 min after eating to drink. That did actually help a little.

  10. Jean on January 23, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    With my second, and now third pregnancy I try to stock the freezer about from the minute I know I’m pregnant until those aversions kick in for me in a few weeks. I make double meals and if there’s a meal with similar ingredients, I’ll go ahead and make that at the same time and freeze it. For us that’s easier on our budget, especially because we aren’t near a grocery store often. Cravings have to wait out here in the country!

  11. Heather on January 23, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I only have one kiddo, but when I was pregnant with him I craved spicy food, like seriously burn your mouth and breathe fire spicy food. I would do weekly grocery shopping and still abide by my menu. But, here’s the deal. When I was pregnant, I craved stuff by the week. For instance, I craved homemade meatloaf so bad at one point in time. I made a meatloaf and ate it for 3 days. Then, that just wasn’t enough, I needed MORE meatloaf. So, I made another one. This happened often. I think I did the weekly thing for Nachos, meatloaf, chicken n dumplings, and bbq chicken.

    So, if you’re like me, try just doing weekly or bi-weekly menus. That way you can adjust to what you’re craving. Oh, and always leave a portion of your monthly budget for those night-time cravings.

    Did I mention I needed a banana split or Sundae every SINGLE night the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy? Yes … I gained a lot of weight with my little one (you know ya’ll were wondering!!).

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