WEIGHT GAIN AND PREGNANCY
One of the first things you might be concerned about when you first discover that you are pregnant (after of course, how to break the news to your family), is "How should I take care of myself"? You may wonder what a pregnant woman should be eating.
Many women in our society have a concern about weight gain and weight loss, regardless of pregnancy concerns. This may be the very first time in our lives when we don't have to worry about gaining weight! However, the myth says "You're eating for two now, so eat twice as much!" Alas...if that were true!
There is one solid fact you do need to consider during pregnancy; you MUST gain weight. Even women who are obese at the time a pregnancy is discovered need to gain a minimum of around 11 pounds. If you are underweight, you may need to gain more than the generally recommended amount. 25-30 pounds of total pregnancy weight gain is recommended for a healthy woman with a singleton pregnancy. Women who are pregnant with multiples may need to gain more, although there isn't really one definite recommendation.
It wouldn't seem hard to gain 25-30 pounds, would it? Our natural inclinations is to just go out and eat a lot more! Lets break it down by trimester, to get a better idea of how to gain in a healthy way.
THE FIRST TRIMESTER
• During the first trimester, an average healthy woman would generally be expected to gain about 4 pounds. Obviously, this is not "baby" weight, since the baby in question is about as big as a lima bean! Most of it will be water weight at this point.
THE SECOND TRIMESTER
• During the second trimester, an average weight gain of about a pound a week is expected. If you are underweight to begin with, try to increase that figure by about 25%. Similarly, if you are overweight, decrease it by the same amount.
THE THIRD TRIMESTER
• At this point, you'll continue to gain about a pound a week. At the very end of the pregnancy, it's very common to notice a cessation of weight gain, and perhaps even a slight weight loss in the very last week or two.
• If you notice that you are putting on weight at a faster pace than described, take a look at your diet, and be sure it includes plenty of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, dairy, healthy fats, and less highly processed and fast foods. If your practitioner notices a particularly rapid gain during a week or two, he/she may be concerned that you are retaining fluids. As this can sometimes signal a serious health concern, your health care practioner may decide to look further at your blood pressure and sometimes lab values, to be sure you are continuing to have a healthy pregnancy.
To sum it all up--there is no need to really stress and worry about complicated eating programs during pregnancy. An extra 300 calories is what you should aim for. This is about the size of an extra sandwich a day...and I DON'T mean a Subway Footlong!
Lets just keep it simple, and remember this jingle:
An extra 300 a day is the healthy way!
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