“Eat for two” is a commonly heard verse during pregnancy to fulfill the nutrition requirement of both. It is natural to gain weight during pregnancy. As the baby grows, some changes occur in a woman’s body. These changes increase your weight but much of your weight is not fat. It includes baby weight, placenta, amniotic fluid, blood volume, and breast tissue weight.
It is not recommended at all to go for dieting during pregnancy as lack of nutrition may lead to severe complications for the mother as well as for the baby. It is the most important stage where you need all nutrition to keep yourself and your baby healthy.
If you are already overweight, you should still gain some weight due to pregnancy. Obesity may cause some complications during pregnancy for women and their children. During pregnancy women with high BMI may face certain health complications including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, cesarean birth, longer postpartum stay in the hospital, postoperative infections, breastfeeding issues, and a high risk of postnatal depression.
It is not easy to prevent excessive gestational weight gain (GWG), especially in overweight women. Research showed that a nutrition-based diet may help to prevent excessive GWG. This article will help you to avoid excessive gestational weight gain during pregnancy while following a good nutrition-based diet.(1,2)
Increase Diet during Pregnancy
It is very necessary to eat the right thing during pregnancy in enough quantity for your baby’s growth and development. Pregnant women should increase their regular calorie intake by about 300 more per day. During the first trimester, although it is difficult to maintain a good diet due to nausea and vomiting, still eat a balanced diet and take prenatal vitamins.
Commonly, women lose some of their weight in the first trimester due to nausea and vomiting. A medical evaluation is required if pregnant women lose much of their weight or are unable to gain weight during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.(1)
Maintaining Weight During Pregnancy
Women should not start a diet during pregnancy. Especially overweight women should not try to lose extra fat during pregnancy as a baby will not consume your stored fat for its growth.
Research conducted by Dr. Jones from the University of Utah concluded that women overweight by 60 pounds should not try to gain extra weight. Their stored body fats will provide energy for the fetus.
For a healthy sized-baby, normal weight gain for a woman should be around 25 to 35 pounds. Getting too much weight will not help to make your baby oversized, rather you will face difficulty in getting back into shape. It is good to slowly improve your weight gain, very little in the first trimester and maximum in your last trimester.
Nutritional and Healthy Diet Guide
Taking a healthy nutritious diet will help to increase your healthy weight to get a good size baby. It is not that different from a normal healthy diet. You need to balance your diet so you can get all vitamins and minerals.
Protein is a very necessary nutrition for baby tissue and organ growth.
It also helps to develop the brain of the baby.
Support growth of breast and uterine tissues.
Provide more blood supply to your baby.
You should take 70 to 100g daily
Protein-rich food includes chicken, nuts, cottage cheese, peanut butter, and pork.
A pregnant woman requires 500 mg twice a day.
It helps to build the bones of the baby and helps to regulate fluid use of your body.
Milk, yogurt, leafy vegetables, cheese, and low mercury fish.
Reduces the risk of neural tube defects(affects the brain and spinal cord) which is the most common birth defect found in babies and
You should consume 600-800mg of folic acid daily in your diet.
Nuts, eggs, peanut butter, dried beans, and lentils are good sources of folic acid.
Iron helps to ensure that baby and mama both get enough oxygen supply.
It helps to increase blood flow with the help of potassium, sodium, and water.
Pregnant women need 27 mg daily. Take some vitamins as well to make iron absorption better.
Good sources of iron are eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, lean beef, poultry, and citrus fruits.
Daily Serving of Nutrition
Following is the diet to stay healthy during pregnancy. This diet will help to provide you with all nutrition and vitamins required for your baby health.
Get all nutrition
Gains and bread (whole grain) 6-11 servings
Fruits 2-4 servings
Vegetable 4 or more
Dairy product 4 servings
Nuts, Egg, Fish, Poultry and meat 3 servings
- Get more fiber
- Iron-rich products
Take Vitamins and minerals supplements If you are not getting enough minerals from the food you can add some supplements to fulfill your requirements.
- Calcium intake
Foods to Avoid(1)
- Less fat intake
- Limit cholesterol
- Don’t eat high mercury-containing food like (shark, swordfish, and tilefish)
- Avoid unpasteurized cheeses like feta, Brie, and Mexican-style cheese.
- Avoid raw fish like oysters and clams.
- Corn syrup or more sugary drinks and food items.
- Lean protein Eat lean protein such as turkey, fish, and chicken but avoid fried items.
- Avoid processed food like bacon and sausage
- Whole-grain carbs avoid white and refined grain to control weight gain.
Ways to Control too Much Weight Gain
Maintain a good weight before pregnancyTry to maintain your weight before pregnancy by consulting your healthcare provider.
Eat enough to support your baby’s growthEat enough calories to nourish your child. Your BMI and current weight will decide how much more calories you need. Always choose good nutrition-based food that makes you satisfied. Choose a protein and fiber-rich snacks and meals.
Control excessive weight gainAlways keep an eye on your weight. If you are obese you still gain some weight. It is important to know how much healthy weight you need to gain.
Underweight women (less than 18.5 BMI) can increase weight 28- 40 pounds
Normal BMI (18.5 to 24.9) can increase weight 28-35 pounds
BMI 25-29.9 can increase 15-25 pounds
Obese BMI more than 30 can increase 12- to 25 pounds
Drink more water
Drinking enough water will make you hydrated. Some experts suggest drinking enough all day to keep your urine pale or clean. Drinking water will help you to avoid constipation as during pregnancy your digestive system works slowly. Drinking more water will keep you full for a longer time.
Cut your sugar intake
Avoid consuming sugar intake to control unhealthy weight gain. Natural sugar can be a good source to satisfy your craving for sugar.
Never skip meals
To lose weight it is not advisable to skip a meal. Always take all meals on time to meet your nutrition needs.
Cut down Calories
Pregnant women need at least 1700 calories daily to stay healthy. Keep an eye on your calorie intake and restrict unhealthy fats to control your diet. It is better to consult your health adviser to make a log of your calorie intake.
Avoid junk food like chips and candy.
Avoid soda drinks
Take more vegetables instead of carbs
Take small portions
Switch to Complex Carbs
Complex carbs make you feel full and give you energy. It contains more fiber which will prevent constipation, which often happens during pregnancy.
If you were practicing your physical activities before pregnancy, you should continue it after consulting your doctor. Exercise never harms your fetus except for a few like sit-ups. It is good to practice some exercise daily for at least 30 minutes to control unhealthy fats.
Some best exercises for pregnant women are as follow
If any pains are caused by exercise in your abdominal area, you should immediately stop that.
It is good to develop a habit of walking regularly. You can start with a 10 minutes walk and increase the time gradually. It is not only good to control unwanted weight gain, but it will also help to avoid so many aches and pains in the body.
Enjoy Occasional Indulgence
To satisfy your craving for sweets during pregnancy you can enjoy an ice cream cup treat once a week. It is not good to take sweets daily, it will increase your unhealthy weight.
Consult your Advisor
Make a habit to discuss your weight with your weight regularly. It will help to keep a track of your weight gain and can take advice to control if required.
Right Amount of Calories
Pregnant women should take a healthy nutrient-rich diet to avoid any complications and to have a healthy baby. Normally pregnant women need the given below amount of calories at different stages.
- 1st Trimester 1800 calories daily
- 2nd Trimester 2,200 calories daily
- 3rd Trimester 2400 calories daily
Usually, doctors don’t advise controlling weight gain during pregnancy. However Obese women who don’t want to affect their pregnancy with their overweight can control their weight with diet and low-intensity workouts.
Your weight loss concern should be discussed with your dietitian and follow a healthy, nutrition-based diet with enough quantity to meet your baby’s growth requirement and to avoid any complications.
You should not control your weight gain in the 2nd or 3rd trimester as you will gain more weight as the baby grows. Early pregnancy is the time to address weight concerns with the consent of your doctor. Early and timely planning can help to control excessive weight gain.
What are your weight concerns during pregnancy? What diet plan do you follow in your pregnancy? Send us your feedback about this article and tell us how you address your pregnancy weight issue.