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We’re all familiar with the concept of “eating for two,” and if you’re like me, you may have been looking forward to eating donuts and ice cream without the guilt. But before you find yourself elbow deep in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, let’s talk about what your body needs and when, in order to have a healthy and happy pregnancy. Assuming you can swallow anything more than saltines and water, what you eat during the first trimester is particularly crucial.

Indeed, during the early months of pregnancy, your little one’s brain and spinal cord begin to develop, as do major organs such as the heart. So you need to provide him or her with the right nutrients -- and not just through prenatal vitamins. You need a healthy, well-balanced diet too. So what are the most important nutrients you should be getting at this stage?

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Here’s the lowdown on what you should eat during the first trimester.

1. Try to eat your nutrients. If you are one of the lucky 50 percent of women who experience the dreaded morning sickness, your prenatal vitamin will carry you over until you can stomach something other than white rice. But if you’re feeling good, do your best to eat a balanced diet of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates (such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains). You will feel your best and minimize unpleasant symptoms such as swelling, constipations and fatigue, giving you and your little blueberry a solid foundation for a healthy and happy pregnancy.

2. Smaller, more frequent meals. Your body doesn’t require any additional calories at this stage, so “eating for two” actually means eating half as much and twice as often, and being twice as careful about what you put in your mouth. Focus on eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, which will also help minimize nausea and fatigue, and eat nutrient dense foods to fuel up on vitamins and minerals. Finally, avoid the foods that have been deemed unsafe during pregnancy such as raw meat and fish, deli meat and unpasteurized cheese.

3. Folate. Also known as folic acid, folate is an important B vitamin that supports the placenta and helps prevent neural tube defects in baby. Pregnant women are advised to take in an additional 400mcg for a daily total of around 800mcg. For reference, two cups of cooked spinach or 20 spears of asparagus will get you that additional 400mcg. In other words, the greener your plate, the better.

4. DHA. You should eat healthy fats every day to support brain and neurological development for baby. Look specifically for omega-3, and more specifically DHA, which is a type of omega-3 that is most readily absorbed by the body. Salmon, sardines, enriched eggs and flaxseed oil are the best sources, and it’s advised that pregnant women consume an extra 600mg for a daily total of around 1,000mg. A 6oz piece of salmon has around 1400mg of omega-3 DHA, so having one or two servings per week gets you off to a great start.

5. Iron. Iron has many benefits throughout pregnancy, but is most important for your health in the first trimester. Most women start their pregnancy iron-deficient, which is linked to a poor immune system in mom and preterm delivery and low birth weight for baby. Since your blood volume will double over the course of your pregnancy, it’s recommended that you increase your iron intake by 12mg for a total of 27-30mg daily.

6. Zinc. Though we don’t talk about it very much, zinc is an essential mineral for cell division and growth and for the production of DNA. You need only about 11mg daily, and your prenatal vitamin should have you covered, but speak to your doctor if you aren’t sure you’re getting enough.

7. Vitamins A and D. Vitamin A is most commonly found in milk and eggs, as well as orange, green and yellow fruits and vegetables. It helps develop major organs and bodily systems during the embryonic stage. Vitamin D helps with the development of strong bones, as well as healthy cell division and immune function in baby. Both are fat-soluble vitamins, which means the body stores what it doesn’t use so it can pull from reserves when necessary. If mom isn’t getting enough, the body will pull from her reserves to make sure the baby is getting what he needs.

Mom of a baby boy, Carolyn Tallents is a prenatal and postnatal health coach, focusing on nutritional needs for mom and baby, as well as safe and effective exercise from trying to conceive through the postpartum period. Check her website here.

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Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

News

Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.

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Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.

Love,

A fellow mama

Life

I am broken.

It has happened again and I am breaking even more. Soon, the pieces will be too small to put back together.

The negative pregnancy test sits on my bathroom sink like a smug ex-lover. I am left pleading, How could you do this to me again? I thought it would be different this time. I had hope.

We are still trying. It has been 11 months and 13 days and there has been no progress. No forward momentum. No double solid lines. The emptiness of the space where the line should be mocks me.

I am broken.

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No amount of planning and scheming and effort is enough. I am not enough because I cannot make a chemical reaction happen at the exact moment it needs to happen. I cannot do what I want but oh how I wish I could.

It almost happened once. Two months ago, I felt different. Sore breasts and aware of the world like never before. I felt not empty. The blankness had been replaced by someone. I was sure of it. And I was late. Six days late and I thought this is it.

I didn't rush to test because I didn't want to jinx it. Or perhaps I just didn't want to let go of that string of hope. Without evidence that you're not actually here, I can pretend that you are.

So I waited. And I Googled early pregnancy symptoms and I kept an eye out for red spots I hoped I would never see. I finally couldn't wait any longer and decided the next morning would be the test.

But when I woke up, I knew it was just me. The feeling I had been feeling was gone and I knew, just knew, what I would find.

This test had words instead of lines. 'Not pregnant' it blared loudly, obnoxiously, insensitively.

I am broken.

It was four in the morning and I stood in my tiny bathroom apartment silently sobbing. Alone.

Perhaps you were there for a brief moment, but then you were gone.

I stared again at the stick.

Not pregnant.

Not pregnant.

Not pregnant.

It was taunting me now.

I wrapped it in a paper towel. Walked down three flights of stairs to the front of my building and threw it in the garbage can outside.

Later, when my husband woke, I told him I was wrong. There was nothing there after all.

And I mourned. All day long, I mourned. While I walked to work. While I said hello to my co-workers. While I answered questions and pretended to smile and tried not to think of the broken body I was living in.

The next day the blood arrived. Furious. Both of us infuriated it was there once again.

Can I keep doing this?

Am I broken?

Will I get to the point where I just… stop? Stop hoping. Stop praying. Stop wishing. Stop. Trying.

Am I broken? Or can I keep going?

Life

One of my biggest jobs as a mama is to create a foundation for my kids to become trailblazers and problem-solvers. It's not an easy task. I'm constantly wondering what type of person they'll become and how I can ensure they'll be awesome citizens of the world. For me, part of raising and encouraging future leaders starts with exposure—the more I introduce them to notable leaders in history, the better they can envision their own future.

This is why I love when brands create inspirational clothing and accessories for kids. And this month, Piccolina, a lifestyle brand for littles, added an exclusive Black History Month capsule collection to their trailblazer tees series and they are too cute for words.

The Black History Month line honors heroic leaders like Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Katherine Johnson and Rosa Parks on colorful tees. It even features illustrations by emerging artists of color like Monica Ahanonu, Erin Robinson and Joelle Avelino who are, in my opinion, just as important.

In addition to the tops, the collection features art prints that coincide with the shirts, making this a perfect addition to any kids room—and even mama's office. Perhaps even more exciting are the price points: The limited-edition tees retail for $28 and framed art prints are $60.

Maya Angelou trailblazer tee

Maya Angelou trailblazer tee

This cotton tee features a portrait of the award-winning author, poet and civil rights activist and is the perfect way for your little one to celebrate her inner storyteller. A portion of the shirts proceeds benefit non-profit organizations that support girls' education and empowerment, such as the Malala Fund and Step Up.

$28

While I'm not sure what type of person my little ones will become, I'm certain that introducing them to leaders will help them have greater self-confidence and reinforce that they are competent and resilient, too. And what mama can't get behind that? Now the hardest part is deciding which ones to purchase.

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