Pregnancy is the only time in our lives when putting on weight is a pleasure! When it is for the well-being of the life inside us, we women put aside our inhibitions of gaining too much weight and start eating healthy food. The range of weight gain during pregnancy fluctuates from 8 kg to 16 kg, which is considered normal weight gain.
This weight gain includes the weight of the fetus, the blood cells, placenta, amniotic fluid, uterus, breasts, and fat storage. So how do we control weight gain in pregnancy? It’s all about eating the right kinds of food in optimum quantity and staying active as well as stress-free.
The myth ‘busted’.
Now that you are expecting, are you eating for two? A pregnant lady requires just 300 extra calories daily, that too after the first trimester.
In fact, if you do not put on any extra kilos in the first three months, it is not a cause of worry. Women put on 0-2 kg in the first trimester and thereafter the weight gain is steady, about 1-2 kg per month.
Too much or too less weight gain
BMI = weight (kg)/height (m2) Depending on your current BMI (Body mass index) your weight gain throughout the pregnancy has to be monitored. If your BMI falls under the normal range of 18.5-24.9, you can put on as much as 10-16 kg of weight in pregnancy. If your BMI is less than 18.5, you can comfortably gain as much as 13- 18 kg. If your BMI is slightly on the higher side i.e. 26-29, pack on a cautious 7-11 kg. For those women whose BMI is more than 29, you should try and limit your weight gain to 5-9 kg.
(Source for weight gain during pregnancy chart- http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-weight-gain/art-20044360)
For women who are underweight, do take extra care of your food and nutrition. Eat healthy and regularly at small intervals. This would also keep your heartburn in check. Low BMI could pose complications of preterm labor and an underweight baby.
For those who have already packed on too many pounds, you could be at a risk of several complications like gestational diabetes, hypertension, and labor and delivery troubles. Moreover, there is a higher likelihood of developing stretch marks all over the stomach, hips, and thighs. And not to mention the post-delivery efforts of getting back into shape. (Though we will discuss that in the upcoming editions). Phew, that’s too much to give up on!
Tips to healthy and controlled weight gain in pregnancy
- Eat what you like. Do not curb those cravings.
- Just control your portions and do not overeat.
- Eat small quantities at frequent intervals. Strong tastes are known to cross the amniotic fluids and reach the baby. So eat what you would want your baby to have later; it develops the baby’s taste buds.
- Munch on nuts, raisins, fruits, and smoothies when you feel hungry. Try all healthy options and sip fresh fruit juices and coconut water as the fluid content aids in digestion, makes you feel fuller and does not pack on extra calories.
- Walk. It will keep you fit, aid in digestion, and leave you feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
- Incorporate prenatal yoga to your daily routine, as it not only keeps expectant moms in shape, it reduces stress and also prepares the body for delivery.
- Learn Lamaze – This technique prepares women for the journey of labor by understanding their bodies better and learning breathing techniques to cope with childbirth.
- Swimming is considered safe in pregnancy and is a great way to exercise the body. It strengthens the heart, improves blood circulation, and improves a general sense of well-being.
NOTE – Prenatal yoga, lamaze, and swimming have to be performed under the guidance of an expert; only once you consult your healthcare provider..
Milk, ghee, butter, if they are all there to stay, what do we exclude from our diets? ” Sugar” -stop loading extra sugar into your body.
Sweetened and packaged foods are also a big “NO”. This is the time you must focus on healthy eating with giving in to cravings once in awhile. Do not let the stress of loading extra pounds diminish the pleasures of pregnancy. Check out Pregnancy Diet & Food: What to Eat & What to Avoid.
Stay active, and it’s OK to cheat sometimes (give away to indulgence).