Q: Good day mums. Please help a first time mum to be. I have always been a plus sized lady even before I got married and now pregnant. I had a chat this afternoon with which I told her I weigh 110kg at 7 months and she really scared me by saying I will have complications like HBP and co during delivery. I sincerely have been so down since she left. Please mamas I need words of encouragement and tips to help manage my weight though I have had a smooth pregnancy so far and am averagely tall. THANK YOU
A: Hello dear, thanks for writing in and congratulations on your pregnancy. There’s no need to be scared. You just need to arm yourself with information and follow through.
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).
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 cup of cereal with a banana and a cuppa tea…..it’s all gone! 😀 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 increases 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 in a 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.
After having your baby, breast feeding comes in, if you’re exercising and eating right, breastfeeding can help lose weight…as much as 300 calories per day. Does tying a wrapper tightly round your waist help flatten tummy? Honestly, I’ve heard people who swear by that technique. So, what I’ll say is, if it works for you, why not? Just don’t tie so tight as to stop blood flow 😀
How soon to start exercise after having a baby? Well, it depends on how active you were before and during pregnancy. If you were very active, you can start some light stretches as soon as you feel able. However, generally, we advise 6 – 8 weeks after birth to allow for a post-natal check to have been done. Again, start small and allow your body to get into the groove.
Other mums….she asked you too! How do you get back into shape after having your baby? Help out a FTM!
Have a good night y’all 😀