Good morning y’all. I hope you all slept well.
Today, we will discuss weight gain in pregnancy. I’m sure everyone has heard the ‘eating for two’ fable :D. It is indeed, an old wives’ tale because if you were eating for two, the assumption would probably be that you should double your calorie requirement for a day….so for a woman that probably means you can get away with taking in as much as 4000 calories per day!!! That’s a recipe for disaster.
Pregnancy is associated with increased cravings and of course growth of the baby, but you do not need significantly more calories to cope with this state. The recommended weight gain for pregnancy is 8 – 16 kg in all (with an average of 12kg).
Let’s break it down for you.
During your first trimester, you actually do not need more calories than when you were not pregnant. You can continue with the activities you used to do before including exercise. However, exercise should be toned down from vigorous to moderate. Moderate exercise is any physical activity that you perform that but you’re still able to carry on a conversation without running out of breath…that’s as simple an explanation as it goes :D. It includes walking, swimming, dancing, pregnancy exercises (these are taught in some antenatal classes), stretching and relaxation exercises. Remember that you must never start on any exrcise regimen without discussing with your doctor who knows your specific medical history.
Please note that you should never to exercise to the point of exhaustion, not to over-heat yourself and not to carry on any jumping etc…partly because you are prone to injuries of the ligaments (like sprains)and because, it’s just not safe at the time. I always used to know I was pregnant whenever I sprained my ankle…it happened in 2 out of 3 pregnancies! It may not be an exact science, but it worked for me :D. Just kidding…don’t try this at home 😉
During your second trimester, your calorie needs start to increase. The recommended increase in calorie intake is about 300 calories per day. Does this sound like much? It actually is not! A popular brand of wheat biscuits (serving size of 4) is 240 calories. That’s wheat biscuit ;). So, imagine the quantum of calories in the other junk foods we crave for during this time! Take the time to read labels of food packs and check what a serving size is. If there are two serving portions in a tub of ice cream and you finish the whole tub, you’ve clearly eaten double the calories that is written on the tub!
In the final trimester, the calorie requirement increase some more to about 400 calories per day. Note that for multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets etc), the calorie needs are extra 400 calories in second trimester and extra 500-600 calories in the third trimester.
So, what to eat? The same things you did before you hot pregnant…assuming you were eating right :D. More fruits and veggies, complex carbohydrates (they are rich in fibre and keep you feeling full for a longer period of time) like beans, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice etc. Load up on proteins too (fish, chicken etc), calcium tich foods like yoghurt, skimmed milk…you don’t want to experience those muscle cramps of pregnancy. They can be excruciating! I know…I’ve had them J
Eat 5 small meals a day: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner. This should keep the hunger pangs at bay and deal with the cravings. You probably will still crave stuff: Iyalamala’s food, ice cream with all the toppings, a ‘ginormous’ burger etc and guess what? You can give in once ina blue moon, just don’t make it a habit! If you take in more calories than you need, you run the risk of having a big baby with all the complications associated with that during pregnancy and delivery and of course, it’s harder to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight after the baby. A study has also shown that babies fed junk food while the womb develop a taste for that and of course, become junk food addicts later. You don’t want to do that to your baby, I ‘m sure.
Have a great and productive week, y’all.