Being pregnant means gaining weight in the right way! While you will have your share of cravings (barring the first trimester) and you will gain weight, the pregnancy will feel healthier if the weight gain is gradual and going towards the baby’s growth. An extra 300 healthy calories a day is what the average pregnant woman needs. This will add the right amount of weight needed to support the growth and development of the baby. Do not go on a weight management program to lose weight during pregnancy as weight loss is not supposed to happen at this period in your life.
Speak to your doctor about your weight gain. As a rule of thumb, if you were on the heavier side of the scale, you would be advised to put on less weight during the next nine months. Doctors recommend gaining between 11 – 16 kg over the course of the nine months. This, however, also depends on the pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). If your pre-pregnancy weight is low, you should gain about 12 – 18 kg, and if your pre-pregnancy weight is high, you may need to gain only about 6 – 11 kg.
In your first trimester, the weight gain will be slow. You would gain less than 2 kg in the first couple of months due to nausea, vomiting and inability to eat during the surge in the pregnancy hormones. From thereon until you are due, you should gain about 1.4 – 1.8 kg a month. In the third trimester, the weight gain may be rapid as your baby is having the biggest growth spurt you start creating breastfeeding stores.
In case you are expecting twins, you would need to double your intake. Your doctor may also recommend a dietary supplement, which will help bridge any nutritional gaps and ensure optimum weight gain.
Post pregnancy, don’t start working out immediately! Your body needs to rest, heal and regain the strength to restart a normal routine. While initiating walking can be done within the same week, take at least a month’s break before you start medium intensity exercises so that your body has the time to adjust to the new mom, you! While there is a tendency to lose weight during lactation, it is important to ensure that you eat a well-balanced diet to make sure you provide adequate nutrients in the milk to your baby. Drink a lot of fluids to ensure adequate milk flow.
Try following these simple guidelines to gain and maintain a healthy weight during and after the pregnancy:
- Don’t skip breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast will give you a good start, and keep your energy levels up and going.
- Have six smaller meals instead of three large ones. This firstly, ensures the stomach isn’t empty, therefore reduces nausea during the early stages of pregnancy, and secondly, minimizes the discomfort of having a full stomach during the later stages of pregnancy.
- Avoid foods that cause gas like beans, some gassy vegetables like cabbage, Brussel sprouts very highly fibrous foods like oats and fizzy drinks like sodas.
- Cut down on fried, fatty and spicy foods as it can cause heart burn.
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of fluids a day that include water, fresh juices, soups, gravies, dairy products etc.
- Include a dietary supplement as recommended by your doctor. A dietary supplement helps bridge any nutritional gaps and ensures optimum weight gain.
- Lead an active lifestyle. Ask your doctor to recommend low impact exercises.