For women who are conscious about their figures prior to getting pregnant, there is the concern that they might end up gaining weight too fast during their pregnancy and they might have difficulty losing weight after giving birth.
In truth, you don’t really need to follow that old advice of “eating for two” but it should also be emphasised that dieting during pregnancy can have bad effects on your baby’s growth and development because you are depriving it of essential nutrients.
As long as you eat a healthy, balanced diet at the right number of calories during the period of your pregnancy, you will able to keep your weight gain in check.
The Normal Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Just how much is the normal weight gain during pregnancy to begin with?
If your weight prior to pregnancy is within the normal, healthy range, the normal weight gain is between 20 and 25 pounds overall throughout your pregnancy. To attain the optimal growth for your baby, you should gain 1 to 5 pounds in the first trimester. After the first trimester, you only need to put on 1 pound per week.
If you prefer to check your weight gain in terms of calories, you should be consuming 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester, 2,200 calories per day in the second trimester, and 2,400 calories per day in the third and final trimester.
Tips on Keeping Pregnancy Weight Gain in Check
Now that you know how much weight gain you should have, let us take a look at some tips on how to keep control of your weight throughout your pregnancy…
1) Beware of your food cravings
Your constant cravings for food cause you to eat junk foods, pastries with refined sugar, and others with empty calories but you should be able to control these cravings and go for healthier food options such as fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Having treats every once in a while is okay but do not indulge in junk food too much.
2) Consume more nutritious foods in your diet
It is important that you eat much larger portions of fruits and vegetables because they contain essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which are needed for the baby’s development. You should also eat more of lean proteins, like poultry and beans.
3) Adjust your eating schedule
Normally, you eat three big meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – a day. To better distribute your caloric consumption throughout the day and curb your cravings at the same time, you should change your eating schedule into 5 smaller, but fuller meals consisting of filling nutritious foods.
4) Reduce your intake of salt
During pregnancy, you should eat less of salty foods. This is because higher levels of sodium cause water retention inside the body, which may be interpreted on your doctor’s scale as excess weight most especially since the retention of water in the body tends to be higher during pregnancy.
5) Practice regular low intensity exercises
While the tendency for most women is to sit down and relax during pregnancy, owing to the fatigue that they feel frequently, exercise can help to keep the weight gain in check. You don’t have to lift weights and other high impact exercises. Brisk walking, Pilates and yoga are great low intensity exercises to keep your heart pumping and burn excess calories. The exercise most recommended by fitness experts is swimming because you will be able to burn those excess pounds while your body is being supported by the buoyancy of the water.