Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can lead to a range of health conditions. For instance, excessive weight gain aggravate backache and increase risk of hemorrhoids. It is also related to gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, large baby, birth defects, premature labour and preeclampsia. It is misunderstood that ‘eating for two’ means eating double portion or being free to indulge in treats – the converse is true, a healthy diet and lifestyle is important for both the baby and mother.
Let’s explore 10 ways to avoid excessive pregnancy weight!
1. Eat only a little more, but more frequently
The number of extra calories is only about 200-400 calories, varying by trimester and by the mother’s pre-pregnancy weight. That extra calories is much less when converted to food items, possibly an additional glass of milk, fruits and a high fibre snack will make up 300 calories. How can you avoid the hunger pangs and overeating at meal times? The TIP is to eat more frequently but in smaller portions!
2. Plan before you eat
Giving your baby a healthy start in life begins with a mom who takes care of her diet and adopt a healthy lifestyle. It takes planning to choose nutritious foods, to have healthy snacks and water on the go and to dine out at restaurants that serve healthy meals. The more time you put into planning, the more likely you will be conscious of what and how much you eat.
3. Eat out wisely
Eating out tend to be less healthy, especially if the convenient options are fast foods or foods that are mainly simple carbohydrates. Serving size tends to be larger and much more harder to control what goes into the meal. Avoid fried foods, sauces or (high salt content) gravies but opt for light dressing or steamed foods. Sometimes you may feel like meeting up with friends or dining out more often before the baby is born, but be wise about your choice of food and drinks.
4. Cook healthily
It’s much more likely to be eating healthy if you’re cooking at home. The method of cooking is important – choose steam, broil and grill over fried. Opt for healthier oil like olive oil and be sure to include fish in your diet. Omega 3 is studied to help with the brain and eye development of the fetus. Choose lean cuts of meat and also include foods high in iron such as spinach and loin or round cuts of beef and pork. Make sure that milk, cheese and juice are pasteurized and that meat are properly cooked. Plan what you need to buy for the week’s meals and eat before heading out for grocery shopping!
5. Don’t neglect breakfast
After a whole night without eating, your baby will need energy at the start of the day. Don’t neglect breakfast which tends to mislead you and cause overeating during lunch! At times, you may even feel light-headed later in the day. Thus, prepare healthy breakfast like oatmeal or have an avocado with greek yoghurt for that extra calcium, nutrients and fiber intake!
6. Snack healthily
Being pregnant may lead you to feel hungry more often due to your growing baby requiring more nourishment. Have healthy snacks prepared to avoid reaching for sugar-laded cookies. Fruit, whole-grain crackers, nuts are a great choice and easy to pack along. Opt for high fibre foods that help you feel fuller for a longer time, relieve constipation and help to eliminate fats and lower cholesterol.
7. Drink water
During pregnancy, the fluid needs are higher to increase blood volume, amniotic fluid and support the growth of the fetus. Enough fluids also relieve constipation, a common problem during pregnancy. The fluid intake should not be in the form of sugary drinks, soda, bubble tea but instead, water is good. Thirst is also sometimes mistaken for hunger, so drink water first before deciding if you need a snack!
While intensive exercise or contact sports will have to be excluded, exercises such as walking, yoga and swimming are beneficial as it helps strengthen muscles and improve sleep. Exercise also burns calories, improves mood and relieves constipation and backache during pregnancy. Exercise also relieves stress, making it less likely that you will seek comfort in foods.
9. Get enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep (7 to 9 hours) is more likely to cause you to eat more and be too tired to exercise. The lack of sleep can also rob your skin of its natural glow and health and may even cause distressed. If sleep is interrupted at night during pregnancy, try to nap during the day or go to bed earlier.
10. Stay away from bad company
Weight gain is contagious – in the sense that if you are with company that dismisses the notion of healthy diet, you may feel pressured to eat more than you ought to and over-indulge in treats. Nothing is more important than your health and your baby’s health –
if you truly find it hard to eat healthily with these friends or feel
pressured to eat more, stay away from them temporarily.
Your pregnancy weight is also monitored at every doctor’s consultation – don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to work with you on a healthy pregnancy weight in all three trimesters.