Pregnancy does have a way of making you feel like you are a queen and feeling like one will inevitably make you think that anything you wish shall be granted.
I mean you are giving life to another human being, and that really makes you not only a queen but also a celebrated superwoman *cheering sound*, that is if you look it in one way.
But if you look at it from a healthier perspective, you should really be aware that pregnancy, as exalted as it sounds, does not give you the license to eat anything you fancy, or in other words ”eating for two” is a myth, as quoted by Julie Redfern, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Just like everyone else, pregnant women need to watch their caloric intake, as their diet greatly affects their baby's overall health and development.
But alas, many pregnant women still make eating errors--mainly because they don't know any better.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, pregnant women should gain between 15 and 35 pounds (~6.8 and 15.8 kg).
You certainly should be increasing the amount of certain nutrients.
But the reality is you need only 100 extra calories a day during your first trimester, and 300 extra calories a day in the next two, that’s about the equivalent of adding an extra glass of milk in the first trimester; a glass of milk, an apple, and a couple of graham crackers in the second and third.
However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that pregnant women consume 71 grams of protein per day. (Nuts, eggs and lean meats are quick, easy options.)
"You need the extra protein to support new cell growth in the fetus," - Jennifer Ramos Galluzzi, Ph.D., nutrition and science professor.
Just a little heads-up: overeating makes it harder to lose the excess weight after delivery.
But more urgent than that, putting on too much weight during pregnancy can be dangerous for both mom and baby, as it increases your risk of backaches, high blood pressure, and also gestational diabetes which will likely end up in you having to give a cesarean birth because your baby is bigger in size.
Conversely, gaining too little weight during pregnancy may be a concern in itself. It can lead to low birth weight, premature delivery, and, later, developmental delays, along with learning disabilities, and chronic health problems in your baby.
Studies show that weighing too little at birth can predispose your child to diabetes later in life.
More important than how much you gain is what you eat. Everything you take into your body during pregnancy sets the foundation for building your baby in the later life.
“The number of extra calories you require is small compared with the amount of extra nutrients. “
The best way to keep your weight gain on target is to eat a varied diet with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables.
You should select foods with important pregnancy nutrients: calcium, folic acid, fiber, and iron by adding more nuts, beans, legumes, low-fat dairy products and lean meats to your diet. All of these give you lots of nutritional bang for your calorie buck.
Also avoid the empty calories found in fast foods, junk foods, and sweets. It’s not a sin to splurge on ice cream every once in a while, but just try to keep it to a minimum.
“Moderate exercise is also a great way to keep weight gain on target.”
Remember that the weight you're gaining is mostly from the growth of the baby and other changes in your body due to your pregnancy.
So instead of obsessing with the scale, focus more on eating lots of healthy foods.
Your body (and your baby) will thank you for it.
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WebMD. (2019). Why Pregnant Women Shouldn't Eat for Two. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/pregnant-eat-for-two-right [Accessed 21 Apr. 2019].
Element. (2019). https://master.elementdev.io. [online] Available at: https://www.fitpregnancy.com/nutrition/prenatal-nutrition/eating-two [Accessed 21 Apr. 2019].
WebMD. (2019). Eating for 2 -- but Not Too Much. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/eating-for-2-not-too-much#1 [Accessed 21 Apr. 2019].
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