The “eating for two” concept can be music to the ear but we can’t really take those words literally. Or else you would experience excessive weight gain.
A few “oops” moments here and there are fine but if it occurs too much, you are going to be apologetic once you stand on a weighing machine.
According to a study in 2015 carried out among American moms, 48 percent of them gain too much weight during pregnancy. The overeating part can be caused by a few reasons:
- Misunderstood the eating concept for pregnancy
- As a consequences of hormonal imbalances which affect mood and thus, the tendency to overeat
- Poor knowledge on the subject of caloric intake during pregnancy
Eating can be tricky. Taking in more than you are allowed to can lead to excessive weight gain which in turn can cause complications.
How much weight gain is considered normal during pregnancy?
There’s no such thing as a universal rule for normal weight gain during pregnancy. It usually depends on your prepregnancy body mass index (BMI).
If you have a normal BMI, then you would be allowed to have a much higher weight gain compared to if you are in the obese BMI.
Generally, in Malaysia, the standard range for weight gain for pregnant mothers according to different set of BMI are as follow:
|Pre-pregnancy body weight status (BMI in kg/m2)||Total weight gain (ranges in kg)||Rates of weight gain in second and third trimester [mean (range) in kg/week]|
|Underweight (<18.5 kg/m2)||12.5 – 18.0||0.51 (0.44 – 0.58)|
|Normal weight (18.5 – 23.0 kg/m2)||11.5-16.0||0.42 (0.35 – 0.50)|
|Overweight (23.0 – 27.4 kg/m2)||7.0 – 11.5||0.28 (0.23 – 0.33)|
|Obese (>27.4 kg/m2)||5.0 – 9.0||0.22 (0.17 – 0.27)|
The best way to decide is to allow your doctor to access your overall health to determine your pregnancy caloric requirement. So, don’t miss out your prenatal checkup.
How do I watch out for my weight gain during pregnancy?
There are a couple of steps that you could have taken in order to watch yourself from taking in too much while being pregnant.
Skip all of your planned diet
Even if excessive weight gain can do damage, so does too little weight gain. Practising all kinds of caloric restriction is not a good idea during pregnancy.
Your foetus would need as much nutrient supplies as you can give. This is especially true during the second and third trimester.
You would want to follow nutritional advice provided by your doctor or dietitian, and leave all kinds of pills and supplements which are not prescribed to you.
Eat nutritious foods, avoid empty calories
People who take lots of empty calories tend to overeat which can subsequently lead to excessive weight gain.
In order to eat more and to watch out for your weight, you have to be smart. The usual trick to carry out this tip with ease is through smart substitution.
Some of examples include:
- Skim milk instead of whole milk.
- Fruits for snacking instead of your usual unhealthy Pringles.
- Baked potatoes instead of french fries.
- Grilled chicken instead of fried chicken.
- Plain water to quench your thirst instead of a sugary drink.
All women need to know that what you eat matters mostly for the development of your little one.
Of course, sometimes, you can let yourself go for a little while. But it will be best to stick with the advice given by your healthcare providers.
Getting the right kind of fats
Believe it or not, getting the right amount of fat can also help in preventing excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
Taking fats to keep yourself healthy is not a novelty. It’s a concept which has been recognised for thousands of years.
Too bad most of us succumbed to the misconception that fat is actually fattening. Your daily caloric requirement should consist of 20 to 30% of healthy fats.
That’s right, when I talked about fats, I meant the healthier side of fats like avocado, meat and fish oil.
Consuming foods which are rich in fats can help improve your satiety level. This in turn will cause you to take less calories and eventually prevent excessive weight gain.
A little bit of advice, avoid fast food. Those delicious yet unhealthy meals are rich in trans fats which are not the kind of fats we are seeking for.
Nothing could go wrong with exercise
Getting the recommended amount of exercise is the way to go when you are trying to avoid excessive weight gain.
Try to learn yoga, join any prenatal exercise class or go for a brisk walk. Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activities per week to stay healthy but I’m sure you can do better than that.
You can move around while carrying out your daily chores, pick up your food from a deli instead of having a delivery service or use stairs instead of waiting for an elevator.
If you want to start an exercise regime, ask your doctor first. They would do a preliminary checkup before recommending suitable exercise programs to help prevent excessive weight gain.
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