All women need healthy weight gain during pregnancy. This is a universal truth and needs no doubts or debates. The interesting question is where does all that extra weight added on to a woman’s body gets deposited during pregnancy.
Scientific researches have shown that healthy weight gets distributed in a different part of the body. It does not focus on one particular organ or body part.
Know Your Healthy Weight
Eating wisely during pregnancy: Extra Calories Diet Plans
1. Eat for your growing baby
During pregnancy, you must keep in mind that the food you are eating is not only for your health but for your baby too. So you require about 300 additional calories every day as your baby is growing faster day by day.
If you are underweight or carrying twins, you will need even more. However, if you are overweight, your consultant may advise you to consume fewer extra calories.
2. Have a healthy diet
It is important that you must not only eat more, but you must also eat healthily and safely. Make sure that your calories come from nutritious food which will help in your baby’s growth and development.
3. Focus on a balanced meal plan
You should take a real diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and multi-grain bread. That way you are more likely to get the nutrients, you need.
However, your body demands more of the vital nutrients such as folic acid calcium, iron than your normal requirements before your pregnancy. To make sure both you and your growing baby are getting enough, your consultant will prescribe prenatal vitamins.
4. Increase your calcium intake
Your body needs more calcium in pregnancy. Most women do not often get the 1,000 mg of calcium that they need daily. In your case, the need is more, as your baby’s calcium demands are high. You should increase your calcium consumption or there will be calcium loss from your own bones.
Low-fat dairy products including milk, cheese, and yogurt, calcium-fortified products, including orange juice, soymilk, and cereals, tofu, dried beans, dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli and almonds are good sources of calcium.
5. Take real iron and folic acid
Pregnant women need 27 to 30 mg of iron every day. Iron is essential to make hemoglobin, a constituent of the red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all the cells of your body. Thus, it is essential that pregnant women get sufficient iron.
The body most easily absorbs iron from meat sources, though plant sources can also supply this mineral. Some good sources of iron include red meat, dark poultry, eggs, salmon, dried beans, peas and enriched grains, tofu, dried fruits, leafy green vegetables and blackstrap molasses, iron-fortified breakfast cereals, and folic acid.
A Folic acid supplement 1 month before and during the first trimester of pregnancy decreases the risk of neural tube defects. If the neural tube, the precursor of the baby’s brain and spinal cord, does not form properly, the result is a neural tube defect such as spina bifida.
6. Stay Hydrated
Get enough fluids as many factors during pregnancy can cause dehydration and weakness. Plenty of fluids, especially water to drink is important during pregnancy. An adequate amount of water is essential to prevent common problems such as constipation and dehydration. You should drink at least 2 litter of water daily to maintain your healthy hydration.
6. Do some exercises
At least 25-30 minutes of light exercise every day, is also necessary for a pregnant woman. It has been proved very beneficial. Daily exercises improve your sleep, help prevent excess weight gain, increase your energy level, and decrease the common pregnancy-related problems like back pain, constipation, and swelling, leg cramps and can prepare your body for labor.
Most pregnant women concerned about putting on weight during pregnancy. When you pregnant the first thing comes in your mind that you will gain weight. You fear that if you will lose your weight after the birth or not. what if you never go back to your pre-pregnancy body size. Remember, the extra weight you gained is actually for your baby and later for breastfeeding.
Excessive weight gain can be due to many reasons including swelling or edema, gestational hypertension, and twin pregnancy. You can calculate your body mass index with your weight in kilogram kg divided by height in Meter Square (BMI= Kg/Meter square)
BMI = body weight in kilogram (Kg) / height in meter squares
For healthy and normal fetal growth and development, it is crucial that the pregnant mother’s weight should be progressive. Continuous weight gain will help in building up maternal fat stores and helps in fruitful lactation after birth.
It can be harmful to mother and baby both if you gain too little and too high weight during pregnancy. Your weight should be in the normal range for your height before you get pregnant.
Severely underweight pregnant women can give birth to a low birth weight baby and more likely to have an early delivery.
On the other side if you gain more than expected weight gain or previous obesity, can lead to many complications such as gestational diabetes, probability of large baby, emergency cesarean birth, birth injuries, and UTI.
Maintaining your weight pre-pregnancy and while you are pregnant
1. Eat good quality food
Gaining weight is very important but pregnancy is not a reason for unrestricted or unlimited dietary satisfaction. The pregnant women should give priority to the quality food intake as well as observe their needs and for their baby.
It may be difficult for you to lose weight after pregnancy if you put on excessive weight during pregnancy. You must be aware of how much you are eating and gaining so that you achieve a healthy weight through a balanced diet.
2. Cut down sugar
Avoid junk food and sugary drinks. Moreover, stay away from smoking or any kind of drugs and alcohol. It can cause adverse effects on baby health.
3. Exercises always good
Do regular exercises at least for 20 minutes and perform pregnancy exercise as per your doctor’s advice. Go for a regular nice walk for 30 minutes.
4. Consume enough fluids
Drink at least 2 liters of water daily and the most stay happy.
5. Make a diet chart
Evaluate your diet and by ensuring you are eating a healthy balanced diet and cut down high-sugar, extra salt and high-fat food, which can because of overweight.
6. High protein food
Take an extra protein diet and eat five more servings of fruits and vegetables.
7. Take pregnancy vitamins
Remember prenatal multivitamins are important too. So don’t forget to take them but ask your health care provider about it first. Include important minerals in your diet especially calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and copper, which is available in multivitamin supplements as well.
It is wise to avoid alcohol, smoking, and excessive consumption of caffeine and uncooked and processed food.
If you have any doubt regarding weight gain or prenatal multivitamins then it is good to discuss with your doctor or health care provider.
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I am experienced health professional (B.Sc. Nursing, P.GD Nursing). I am passionate to provide valuable information about Maternal and child Health. My goal is to provide the right and trustworthy information about pregnancy and baby care.