We’ve all heard the expression “Eating for Two.” And if you don’t know a thing about pregnancy – which I didn’t, before I started working for an OB/GYN – you might think, “Oh, well, that means I eat double what I normally do. Go wild with the snacks and fast food.” It only makes sense, right? You have a new life inside you depending on you for his/her nutrient supply.
Eating for two does not mean that you can just eat anything that you want. In fact, you have to be careful about what you eat during pregnancy. There are foods to avoid, and you should try to eat a balanced diet to ensure that your developing baby receives all the vitamins and nutrients that he/she requires to develop healthy and strong.
During pregnancy, you only need to supplement your regular diet with 300 extra calories (if you’re carrying one baby). This is easily achieved. You just need to add a glass of milk here, possibly a peanut butter and jelly sandwich there, and slices of fruit as a snack. The exact amount of calories that you need to add depends on your weight before pregnancy. Your doctor or healthcare provider will be able to tell you more specifics about your general case.
The Food Pyramid is a good guide to follow when it comes to helping you find a healthy and balanced diet.
To have a healthy and happy pregnancy with few bumps along the way, you should only gain the recommended weight gain for your size. If you gain too much, or too little, this can be detrimental to your baby. In other words, it’s not a good idea. Try to stay in the recommended weight gain limit if it’s at all possible.
If you gain too little during pregnancy, this puts you at risk for having a small baby (one that weights less than 5.5 pounds) and having a premature baby. If you gain too much weight, you face the risk of preterm labor and delivery, a large baby, and a possible cesarean section (c-section). Plus, if you put on too much pregnancy weight, you may end up with gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops out of nowhere during pregnancy, which goes away after your baby is born), high blood pressure, and (gasp) unattractive varicose veins. You may also develop pregnancy stretch marks.
A perk of gaining just the right amount of weight – you will lose your pregnancy fat much faster. You will go back to your pre-pregnancy size faster than women who gain too much weight.
Recommended Pregnancy Weight Gain For Your Body Size
For the best outcome, if you started your pregnancy at an average size, you should aim to gain 25 to 35 pounds over the course of 40 weeks. This means that you should expect to gain between 1 and 4.5 pounds in your first trimester (the first 13 weeks), and you’ll gain at least one pound every week the rest of your pregnancy week by week.
Women who were underweight when they first got pregnant should gain between 28 and 40 pounds during pregnancy. This means, they should aim to gain between 1 and 4.5 pounds in the first trimester, and more than one pound with each week that passes from the second trimester onward.
Now, if you were overweight when you first became pregnant, you should aim to gain only 15 to 25 pounds over the 40 weeks of pregnancy. This means, you should gain between 1 and 4.5 pounds in the first 13 weeks, and only gain one-half pound the rest of your pregnancy week by week.
* Please do not attempt to diet or lose weight during pregnancy. This will definitely hurt your baby!
The pregnancy weight gain is slightly different if you are carrying twins or multiples. Average-sized women carrying twins should aim to gain between 37 and 54 pounds.