DIET is the fancy crazy word among women. “Pregorexia” is used to describe pregnant women who are obsessed about weight gain. Some women fear the extra weight gain of pregnancy and decide to eat sparingly to avoid putting on body fat. Restricting your food intake is potentially hazardous to you and your developing baby.
You should never try to lose weight while pregnant unless your Obstetrician gives you a signal to be watchful of your weight gain. However, even in such cases, weight gain is restricted and not zeroed!!!
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Pregnancy increases the need for many nutrients; this doesn’t definitely mean that you have to ‘eat for two’. It is the quality of what you eat that is important, and not necessarily the quantity. It’s not difficult to meet nutritional needs if you choose a variety of foods from the five basic Food Groups.
You may need extra calories to meet your added needs of your growing baby. This varies depending on the weight of the baby, your pattern of weight gain, your weight prior to conception, presence of comorbidities such as Gestational diabetes, Gestational Hypertension, Anaemia etc., and activity level. Your recommended weight gain depends on your Pre-Pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI):
Given below is the structure of weight gain in pregnancy, defined based on Body Mass Index:
Recommended weight gain
|Underweight||12.5 to 18 Kg|
|Normal Weight||11.5 to 16 Kg|
|Overweight||7 to 11.5 Kg|
|Obese||5 to 9 Kg|
- It’s common in pregnancy to lose weight as the result of morning sickness.
- Overweight women have an extra reserve, hence, it’s not detrimental to maintain or even lose a little weight in the beginning, on account of Nausea or Vomiting which are most commonly encountered. What’s not okay is losing weight because you’re intentionally cutting calories
- Exercising and eating healthy food can help you manipulate risk of pregnancy concerns like gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and the like.
Try to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet and steer clear of foods that are high in fat and sugar. Read nutrition labels before buying processed foods. It’s easy to maintain moderation in intake of milk and milk products or bar too much sugar in your diet, to promote a control on unnecessary weight gain.
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A good approach is to go for meals containing carbohydrates that your body has to work harder to break down. Go for:
- wholemeal bread
- vegetables – raw, cooked, seasonal
- fruits, such as apples, pears, bananas and berries
- If you are hungry, stop and grab a healthy snack
- A hand full of assorted nuts, Peanuts, plain popcorn
- Soups, salads, Puffed rice, flattened rice, opt for millets – Ragi, Jawar, Bajra
- Avoid foods with added sugars and solid fats. The usual culprits include soft drinks, desserts, sugar-free items and fried foods, dairy products made from whole milk, and fatty cuts of meat.
- This means – opt for judicious use of fat and sugar, overall.
- Also avoid caffeine, alcohol, raw seafood, and potential sources of bacteria
- Eat frequent, small meals –intake of multiple small meals throughout the day instead of three enormous ones.
For a healthy mom and baby, try and accommodate
- Fluids (soups, dal water, buttermilk, barley water, fresh juices, etc.) – 8 servings
- Proteins (milk, yoghurt, dals, egg white, sprouts, nuts, non-veg, etc.) – 3 servings
- Calcium (milk, curd, paneer) – 3 servings
- Whole grains & Legumes (dals, sprouts) – 2 to 3 servings
- Vegetables – 2.5 servings
- Fruits – 2.5 servings
- Vitamin C (amla / Indian gooseberry, citrus fruits) – 1 serving
To enjoy a hassle-free pregnancy, rest is crucial. Entertaining happy thoughts and good sleep patterns at night are also central to a healthy pregnancy.
The importance of listening to good music every day has been proven to be beneficial for the baby in utero.
Enjoy your pregnancy. It is an enthralling experience after all!
Must Read: The Ultimate Diet during pregnancyContributed by – Ms Bhuvaneshwari. Nutritionist, Cloudnine Chennai.