Eating for Two? How to Avoid Unnecessary Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a journey that only a woman is fortunate enough to experience. There may be strange cravings and morning sickness on the docket, but there’s also the gift of a child. Women also may get trapped with the excuse of ‘eating for two’ when pregnant and experiencing cravings, sometimes justifying hundreds or thousands of extra calories consumed per day. 

Understanding the general calorie consumption requirements is the first step in avoiding that trap. During her first trimester, a pregnant woman needs 350 extra calories per day to support the growth of her fetus. During the second, she needs 450 extra per day. 

Some women gain weight to a point of obesity and while that can be contributed by several factors, it can also have to do with the fact that ‘eating for two’ was taken to an extreme. The following weight gains are within normal ranges based on the woman’s original weight:
•    A woman with an average weight can expect to gain anywhere between 25-35 pounds
•    A woman with one below average weight can expect to gain 28 to 40 pounds
•    A woman with above average weight can expect to gain 15-25 pounds.

Anything outside of these ranges can possibly complicate the health of the mother and baby.

In order to have a healthy baby, the mom should maintain her nutrition while increasing the levels of folic acid, protein, calcium and iron.

Addressing cravings.
Not if, but when, cravings come, they can be spun into a positive experience. Craving french fries and ice cream? We understand. Instead of going the full fat route, you can choose baked fries and frozen yogurt. If you’re craving chips, you can choose kale chips or freeze-dried pea chips instead. Making simple swaps like these will make the mini-calorie savings into a big difference in the grand scheme of the entire pregnancy. 

In addition to making sure that your nutrition is in good standing, getting active is also pertinent to optimal health. It has the benefit of keeping weight down, reduces back pain, boosts mood, and improves sleep. With some modification, healthy pregnancies can mostly maintain their regular exercise routine.

However, if you are experiencing health problems during pregnancy such as cervical bleeding, anemia, some forms of lung and heart disease, vaginal bleeding or placental problems, it’s best to discuss with your doctor what you can and cannot add to your exercise routine. 

Exercises to approach with caution due to their nature include kickboxing, contact sports such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, or hot yoga. Anything that has a high risk of falling like skiing, or horseback riding or activities that could cause you to hit water aggressively like surfing or diving should also be avoided while pregnant.

Exercises that are good for pregnant women include swimming, walking, using a stationary bike or an elliptical. Unless otherwise instructed by an ob/gyn, women who were avid runners prior to getting pregnant can continue running but may need to make modifications.

If you need an Ob/Gyn in the South Bay area, contact South Bay Ob/Gyn at 631-203-8893.

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