Pregnancy can cause many unwanted symptoms. Luckily, there are ways to manage these symptoms. One key way is through knowing what and how to eat.

Recently, Kounsel brought on Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist Kirsten Davis to talk about nutrition during pregnancy. Here are Davis’s top tips for how to manage three of the most common pregnancy symptoms through good nutrition:


Nausea is thought to be due to a rapid change in hormone levels and typically subsidies by 20 weeks.


  • Avoid an empty stomach. Try to always have crackers, bread, or something else bland if you can’t keep anything else down.
  • Include protein with every meal. This manages your blood sugar, which makes you less likely to feel nauseous.
  • Eat small, frequent meals without smell or taste that you could tolerate better.
  • Focus on vitamin B6 sources:
  • Cold liquids are sometimes tolerated better, such as smoothies and protein drinks.
  • Including ginger in meals or even simply smelling it can help reduce nausea.
  • Add lemon to water, ingest mint, and try sucking on popsicles.

It’s okay to be on medications prescribed by your doctor. Davis says that although some women are wary of being on medication when pregnant, it can help you eat, make sure you gain weight appropriately, and give your baby everything it needs. B6 is commonly prescribed by doctors to help prevent nausea.



Heartburn in pregnancy is thought to be caused by elevated progesterone (a hormone released by the ovaries), which relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, as well as the uterus expanding into the abdomen and other organs.

Potential trigger foods to be aware of:

Tips to prevent heartburn:

  • Stay upright after meals
  • Eat smaller, frequent meals as needed
  • Take your time, eat slowly, and chew thoroughly


Constipation can occur throughout pregnancy as your hormones are changing and organs are shifting around.

Davis’s top tip for preventing constipation is to include fiber in your diet. The recommended amount during pregnancy is 28 grams per day and 29 grams per day during lactation.


Common food sources that provide fiber:

Fiber also controls blood sugar, helps healthy weight gain, and improves gut microbiomes, which impacts immunity.

Increasing your water intake and incorporating regular movement are also helpful in decreasing constipation.

Always talk to your OBGYN or trusted provider about medications and severity of symptoms during pregnancy.  LactMed is a great resource for when you are breastfeeding and have questions about what medications to take.

About Kirsten Davis

Kirsten Davis is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN) and Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) who obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Nutritional Sciences/Dietetics at The Pennsylvania State University. She completed her Dietetic Internship at The University of Virginia Health System specializing in pediatrics and nutrition support in a clinical setting. She has experience working in both Level III and IV Neonatal Intensive Care Units in New Orleans, LA, and Washington, DC, respectively. She holds active licensure in the state of Louisiana.

Reach out to Kirsten on Kounsel for breastfeeding, lactation, and nutrition support during preconception/pregnancy.