Weight gain is a normal and expected part of pregnancy. Nonetheless, there are some things that you can do to ensure that you maintain a healthy weight (between 25-35 pounds) throughout all three trimesters.
Some tips to follow are included below:
Tip #1. Eat a healthy, well balanced diet.
Rather than pigging out on excessive simple carbohydrates like chips, cookies, and white breads, be sure to eat lots of protein like lean meats, fish, nuts, and complex carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables. In addition to protein, some important nutrients that you should include in your diet are: folate and folic acid (prevents against birth defects), calcium (strengthens bones), and iron (prevents anemia).
Tip #2: Don’t eat for two.
In general, during pregnancy you should consume only between 100 to 300 calories. I know! That’s equivalent to a piece of toast (or two)! You can curb your hunger by eating nutrient-dense meals. Again, fight the temptation, and say NO to the ice cream and pickles!
Tip #3. Don’t watch the scale, but be mindful.
In general, if you are pregnant with one child, and begin pregnancy at a normal weight (i.e., not underweight or overweight), you should expect to gain between 2 to 4 pounds during your first three months of pregnancy. You should gain about 1 pound per week for the remainder of your pregnancy.
If you were overweight before pregnancy, you should aim, during pregnancy, to not gain over 25 pounds. If you were underweight or at a healthy weight, you should look to gain about 40 pounds.
If you are having twins, expect to gain 35-45 pounds over the nine months (this assume you began pregnancy at a healthy weight). This is an average of 1 ½ pounds per week after the usual weight gain in the first trimester.
Tip #4. Spread out your meals.
Aim to eat five to six small meals throughout the day, rather than three or four large meals. When thinking about your meals, try to be sure to pair complex carbohydrates with protein. This will be sure to keep you fuller longer. It will also ensure (by virtue of the complex carbohydrates) that your energy levels maintain themselves throughout the day and ward off heartburn. Some great meals to give a try are included below:
Meal and snack ideas
Breakfast: Egg (scrambled, fried, hard boiled) with whole grain toast or oatmeal with blueberries and almonds or walnuts
Morning snacks: Apple slices with peanut butter, almonds with cranberries, or cheese with whole grain crackers
Lunch: Turkey with a spinach salad, Chicken salad sandwich on a whole grain bun, whole grain pasta mixed with veggies and chicken, chickpea salad, or grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup (go easy on the cream)
Afternoon snack: Yogurt or bananas with peanut butter
Dinner: Salmon and a green, leafy salad, sauteed tofu with brown rice, or chicken breast with spinach and chickpeas
Tip #5. If approved by your doctor, do moderate exercise, often.
Throughout your pregnancy, it is very important, both for your health and the health of your unborn child, that you exercise. Some great exercises during pregnancy are walking, swimming, and biking. There are also some fabulous workout DVDs on the market, such as The Perfect Pregnancy workout (higher intensity) or Shiva Rea’s Prenatal Yoga workout (lower intensity, yet still effective).
Tip #6. Drink lots of water.
Not only does water help prevent against excessive swelling, it also does much to prevent against constipation, dehydration, and preterm labor.
If you happen to gain more weight than recommended during the beginning of your pregnancy, talk to your doctor. While, in most cases, it is not recommended that you intentionally attempt to lose weight during pregnancy, depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, your doctor may recommend a nutrition plan.
Last, but certainly not least, enjoy your pregnancy! It is truly a magical time that ends too soon!