A growing baby bump is the most wonderful thing a woman can experience. This happiness gets double when you know that your baby is getting the necessary nutrients. But, the food that a pregnant woman eats, many a times, can have a direct impact on the amount of weight gained across three trimesters of pregnancy. To manage a sudden increase in weight over a short period, here are some simple & practical ways:
Quench the thirst by drinking plain water, buttermilk, fresh fruit juices (sugarless) instead of soft drinks or sugary beverages. Nothing beats water for its ability to hydrate the body. It is vital for thousands of chemical processes in our cells to enable us to function, including regulating temperature and flushing out the kidneys to rid the body of toxins.
Avoid sweets, substantives of sugar, such as artificial sweeteners and desserts made with these artificial sugars. Regular or excess intake of these artificial sugars may increase the incidence of chronic comorbidities like GDM, fatty liver, excess/unnecessary weight gain, etc.
Hold back on the intake of Cheese, Mayonnaise & fatty spreads. Replace it with mustard sauce, Lettuce leaves or flavored hung curd. If you happen to be a lover of Cheese, choose the low-fat variant!
Switch from whole fat milk to normal fat milk or skim milk since there will be no significant changes in the nutrient profile excepting Fat and Protein content. Always choose other low fat protein variants to suffice on the protein intake- Soya chunks or flour, Tempeh, Sprouts, etc.
Limit or even avoid the meat portions, especially extensively cooked red meat dishes. It is better to choose skinless or lean meat and cook by grilling, baking, steaming with minimal grease and spices.
Choose steaming, grilling, baking over shallow or deep frying. Fat is necessary for the absorption of fat soluble Vitamins, as shock absorbers and for brain development of the growing baby. But not in excess. Cooking methods have a significant impact on the quality of food consumed.
Have a healthy appetizer. Opt for salads of fruit or vegetable origin rather than a bulky starter. Healthy appetizers keep up the energy levels, handle stress better and maintain immunity.
Trim the simple Carbohydrate intake, that is, keep a good count on the intake of whites like Sugar, Rice, Rava or Semolina, Bread, Refined flour products. Complex Carbohydrate like Ragi, Oats, Jowar or Maize, Broken and Whole Wheat, Brown and Red Rice are wiser options, well known for their nutritional value, satiety value and hence their ability to regulate portion sizes of major meals.
Focus on small, frequent meals. Suffice the nutrient requirement with inclusion of healthy snacks from a wide range of foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, sprouts, sprouted legumes, Yoghurt etc., to avoid overeating at meal times. Eating small, frequent meals can also help decrease heartburn; avoid overconsumption by way of binge eating, speed up metabolism, and helps to get more of the nutrient body needs.
Maintain your weight by eating appropriately. Discipline in mealtimes, portion sizes, healthy sleep, regular exercise as walking or pregnancy yoga are other associated factors that help in maintaining a desirable weight gain spread across three trimesters of pregnancy.
COMMON HABITS (CORRECTIVE BY NATURE) THAT ARE LIKELY TO CAUSE UNHEALTHY WEIGHT GAIN:
Mentioned below are a few habits that can be corrected by will power and discretion. These are attempts to avert incidence of any co-morbid conditions / mild threat to a normal pregnancy with good maternal and fetal outcome.
Not making time for physical activity.
Mindless eating (in front of television/stress eating/boredom/hangouts)
Skipping main meal of the day, “breakfast” for various reasons.
Indulging in irregular meal patterns
Sleeping late into the night
Eating too much of energy-giving foods – excess Carbohydrate, by default, gets converted to fat!
The majority of moms mindlessly consume calories without even realizing it’s after effects. The trick is balancing your diet and protecting your baby's health. So, have a conversation about weight gain and healthy eating with your doctor at every prenatal visit to stay on track and follow a healthy lifestyle.