Now that you are preparing for the arrival of the little one, remember that you have to eat healthily for yourself and baby. Many women often let their guard down and eat freely thinking that pregnancy is the best time to indulge in food. Should you really eat for two? How much more should you eat and what is a healthy weight gain during pregnancy?
No Need to Eat for Two
Contrary to the belief that you should eat for two during pregnancy, you only need an extra 200-300 calories per day starting from your third trimester. A pregnant woman can gain an average of 12 kg (8-16 kg) to account for the baby’s weight and other tissues and fluids accompanying pregnancy.
Just 200-300 Extra Calories Per Day
Each of these healthy choices has about 200 calories:
- A small bowl of muesli with skimmed milk, and an apple.
- A slice of wholegrain bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter.
- A low-fat yoghurt with six almonds.
- A multigrain toast with baked beans
- A slice of wholemeal bread and a hard boiled egg
Where Does the Weight Gain Go?
An average weight gain of 12 – 15 kg is optimal if you have a normal BMI. Most of the weight gain is from the amniotic fluid which is about 4-5kg, and the baby weight which is around 2-3kg. Ladies should watch their weight gain during pregnancy to avoid health complications.
Complications On Excessive Weight Gain
Putting on too much weight during pregnancy will make it harder for you to lose them after delivery. Excessive weight gain before conception and during pregnancy will also lead to complications such as:
- premature birth (baby is born at 37 weeks or earlier)
- gestational diabetes
- Preeclampsia or high blood pressure
- baby is born large
Guidelines on Pregnancy Weight Gain
BMI: (weight in kg)/ (height x height in meter)
Weight Management Tips for Pregnancy:
- Try to eat small, frequent meals spread throughout the day; breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner.
- Increase your fluid intake especially water and avoid sweetened beverages.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, which increases the feeling of fullness yet are relatively low in calories with no fat.
- Cut down on fried and sweet foods.
- Avoid junk and fast foods as they are high-calorie foods with no nutritional benefits for you or your baby.
- Choose complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates. E.g. wholegrain/wholemeal bread, sweet potato, brown rice, legumes and beans.
- Consume good quality proteins beneficial for building cells and tissues, like meats (all kinds), eggs, dairy products and legumes.
- Increase your intake of high-calcium foods like milk and dairy products. These are not only rich in calcium but are high in proteins.
- Try not to give in to increased appetite especially if your food intake has increased remarkably as this will put you at a higher risk of pregnancy complications.