You’re pregnant. Now you can eat for two, right? Think again. Just because you are carrying a little miracle doesn’t mean you can eat and miraculously not add extra weight. It’s important to remember that while pregnancy is a time of increased calorie requirements, too much weight gain can put you and your baby at risk.
During pregnancy your body becomes more efficient at absorbing and using the nutrients you consume, making it unnecessary to eat for two. The thought of eating for two may be tempting, but it’s certainly not what the doctor ordered for a healthy pregnancy.
Normal weight gain during pregnancy for someone with a healthy body mass index (BMI) is 25-35 pounds. If you’re overweight the recommended weight gain is less, 15-25 pounds. If you’re obese, the recommended weight gain is only 11-20 pounds. You can check your BMI at www.nhlbisupport.com/BMI.
Instead of doubling up your servings at meal time, focus on the types of foods you’re eating. Meet your daily needs of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and vitamins during pregnancy by eating a variety of foods. Look for different colors, type and textures within a certain food category (like vegetables). Choose foods that are close to their natural state, always select fresh fruits and vegetables over frozen or canned, and pick whole-grain bread or brown rice over white. Pregnancy should never be viewed as an excuse to eat all the junk food you want; look for healthy alternatives to curb your cravings.
Sugary drinks, fried and other foods with extra fats, sugars and preservatives should be limited during pregnancy. However, some food should be completely avoided during pregnancy. Pregnant women shouldn’t eat large sea fish or undercooked meat. While fish is a healthy important part of your diet, it’s recommended you specifically avoid swordfish, tilefish, shark, and excessive amounts of tuna fish (more than one can a week). These foods may contain bacteria or toxins that can be harmful to you and your baby.
What you eat and how much you eat is crucial to your baby’s development and your health during pregnancy. When you have those thoughts creep in your head as you reach for that second serving, or a friend chuckles and points out you’re eating for two, remember you’re eating for a baby, not another adult.