A positive pregnancy test is often considered a big-ticket to serious snacking and oversized portions. After all, your baby needs it, you reason. And it’s true. Well, partly anyway.
A pregnancy demands that you consume about 350 to 500 additional calories per day, depending on your trimester. That’s about one extra vegetable sandwich and a mug of milk. Or two idlis and sambar. Or an omelette with two slices of toast.
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You get the idea. And yet, many expecting mothers take the extra calorie quota that has been bestowed upon them to mean that they can eat just about anything, and lots of it. The bad news is this isn’t really the best approach. Your diet during pregnancy should be packed with wholesome, nutritious goodness to support the physical and hormonal changes that your body experiences. That means you should eat more micronutrients and macronutrients to promote your baby’s growth and development.
A simple way to ensure that your nutritional needs are being met is to include at least three different food groups in every meal. You see, every food group nourishes you and your baby in a unique way. Fruits and vegetables, for instance, are an excellent source of antioxidants, fibre and vitamins. Grains are packed with energy. Meats, legumes and nuts are full of iron, protein and folate, whereas dairy products are rich in calcium and vitamin D. Each food group is a marvellous powerhouse of essential nutrients, and your body needs a little of each to keep your baby healthy inside your womb. Apart from enriching your diet through food, you should consult your doctor about the prenatal vitamin course you should be taking. Why do you ask? Because it’s unlikely that your body will derive all the nutrients that it needs through food, and that’s where prenatal vitamins come in.
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You may discover a happy little phenomenon known as pregnancy cravings when you are expecting a baby. Pregnancy cravings may drive you to crave a specific type of food, repeatedly. Nobody really has an answer as to why this happens during pregnancy, but the truth is, it does. Pregnancy cravings are real. Sometimes these cravings may be for processed and junk foods, and it’s alright to give in sometimes. But try to hold off as much as possible. There’s no substitute for healthy food and at the end of the day, junk is junk, whether you’re pregnant or not.
It’s normal to wonder whether you’ll ever regain your pre-pregnancy weight once you deliver your little baby. But you will, in due time. On average, you may gain between eleven and fifteen kilos while you’re pregnant, but this really depends on your pre-pregnancy size, build and medical history. Larger women tend not to gain as much weight while they’re pregnant, whereas smaller women have a tendency to put on much more.
Your body is most beautiful when you’re pregnant, and the number on the scale has little to do with it. Instead of worrying about the weight you’ve gained, focus on your dietary intake and pick a form of exercise that feels right for you. Remember to avoid extreme and contact sports like football, basketball and rock climbing. Instead, try swimming or walking, and drink plenty of water once you’re done to rehydrate your body. You can get to rock climbing once the baby arrives; there’s plenty of time for adventure.
When you meet your baby for the first time, you’ll see that all the care you took was worth it. A little care goes a long way. See for yourself, one healthy bite at a time.