Pregnancy maybe is the most amazing thing but also the scariest ever happen to you, especially if it’s your first time. You are worried about many things including your nutrition and what it is doing to your baby. You can notice that your appetite is heightened, and unfortunately, most of us end up giving in to the cravings, and munch on unhealthy foods which results in gaining too much weight. If you want to deliver a healthy baby, watching your diet is a must. Nonetheless, dieting while you are waiting for a child does not involve using the celebrity-endorsed diets because such diets are designed for weight loss and are not safe for pregnant women. If you are overweight, however, there are some safe ways of how to lose weight while pregnant. For instance, you can eat healthier foods or start an exercise program.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important when you are expecting a child. Ensure to take a balanced diet as this will help to reduce pregnancy discomforts such as nausea and constipation. Also, proper nutrition aids in preventing infections such as bacterial infection. Furthermore, eating healthy foods has an added advantage for people with an overweight body. You get a healthier body while at the same time losing weight while pregnant. A healthy mother equals a healthy baby.
How to monitor your pregnancy weight gain
Your body will feel and look different when pregnant, but just how much weight should you gain during gestation? Is there even a limit? You feel like you are keeping on gaining weight daily. You even feel like you swallowed a whale. Don’t be anxious about that, we all feel like that when pregnant at one point or another, if not all the time. A friend of mine even admitted that she used to waddle, like a penguin. We do that too. It’s normal for you to be slower than usual. The recommended average pregnancy weight gain is 25-30 pounds for an average weight woman. However, if you are underweight, it is okay, if you add up to 40 pounds. Go ahead and eat that extra serving you are salivating for. However, you need to keep track of your weight gain during pregnancy month by month with a weight tracker app such as the BabyBump Pregnancy Pro. This will help you try to stay within the right limits to avoid gaining too much.
What to eat when you are pregnant
You need to take only 300 extra calories daily while carrying a child. Don’t use the phrase ‘eating for two’ to excuse your overeating. For you to maintain a healthy diet, you need to source your vitamins and minerals from different food groups to get the required nutrients for both you and your baby. The main foods for you to eat when pregnant include;
Folate-rich foods must be included in your pregnancy nutrition plan. Folate aids in the development of the nervous system of your baby preventing neural tube defects. Foods that contain folic acid include; green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, as well as berries. Pregnant mothers should take up to 600mgs of folate daily especially in the first two trimesters.
Protein is essential during childbearing. It helps in building the various organs of your baby. Also, protein will keep you feeling fuller for longer reducing your appetite. Some sources of protein include lean meat, eggs, and fish.
Calcium is an essential mineral for all pregnant mothers. It is useful for bone development in both the mother and the child. It also aids in the development of the baby’s teeth. You can get calcium from foods such as yogurt, salmon, cheese as well as milk. Some leafy vegetables such as kales and spinach also contain calcium. The recommended daily rate for pregnant mother is 1300mgs.
Pregnant women require at least 27mgs of iron daily. It is needed to increase the manufacture of blood to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen to the baby. Lack of iron during gestation may result in anemia. Some of the iron-rich foods for pregnancy include; eggs, vegetables, fish, whole grains, beans as well as red meat.
Carbohydrates are another essential food group to add to your pregnancy meal plan. They regulate the growth of the fetus as well as glucose levels in the body. The best sources of carbohydrates are whole grains.
- Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are needed for you to have a healthy pregnancy. Some sources of these fatty acids include fish such as salmon and mackerel. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital in the development of your child’s nervous system. Pregnant women can consume 8-12 ounces of cooked fish or any other seafood weekly.
What to avoid when pregnant
Most of us women tend to develop bad eating habits during pregnancy. Knowing what not to eat when pregnant is just as crucial as knowing what to eat. Some of the foods that many healthcare providers put restrictions on for pregnant women include;
Your baby is a fragile being; thus fish known to contain high levels of mercury should be avoided. Mercury can pass through the placenta and harm your baby’s developing organs including the brain and the nervous system. Such fish include; shark and tuna. However, low mercury fish is safe for pregnant women and can be consumed twice a week.
- Too much sugar
You are craving those cookies, I know. You feel like you can make them your primary meal even. Limit your consumption of foods that contain excess sugar as this could not only lead to gestational diabetes but also sugar is a significant cause of weight gain in pregnancy,
- Raw foods
A mother can pass on a toxoplasma infection to their baby. Foods such as rare or raw meat and raw seafood such as sushi are to be avoided. Raw or undercooked eggs put you at high risk of food poisoning as they may contain salmonella.
- Organ meat
Organ meat is an excellent source of vitamin A and copper. However, when you take too much of it, you risk getting Vitamin A toxicity. High copper levels in the body can be harmful to your unborn baby and can cause liver toxicity as well as other congenital disabilities. Do not eat organ meat more than once a week.
- Processed junk foods
Junk foods are among the most significant foods to avoid while pregnant because they are low in nutrients but high in calories and fats. Anticipating women who consume excess junk foods tend to have rapid weight gain. You can try some healthy snacks for pregnant women to avoid gaining too much weight such as fresh fruits. Use a pregnancy calorie calculator to know how many calories you should eat per day for each trimester.
Drinking alcoholic beverages while pregnant increases the risks of miscarriages and stillbirth. It also affects the brain development of your baby.
I know you love coffee, but it also has to go. Healthcare providers recommend that you avoid caffeine during gestation as it is a stimulant which increases your heart rate as well as your blood pressure. It also increases the urination frequency which could lead to dehydration due to reduced fluid levels in your body. When you find yourself craving coffee, drink water.
Understanding what to eat and what not to eat is vital for all pregnant women. Consider coming up with a balanced diet chart to be sure not to forget any essential nutrients. This chart will help you to avoid overeating hence prevent you from gaining too much weight. You can use the above tips on the foods you should eat and not eat to create a pregnancy diet plan. There are many apps on the market today to guide you in generating a program. For instance, you can use the app, Foods to Avoid When Pregnant. Pregnancy should be a joyful time. Enjoy this time by generating an informed pregnancy diet plan and following it will become routine you won’t even notice the time passing.