Monitoring Weight Gain During Pregnancy
You’ve heard the jokes about pregnant women “eating for two,” and now that you’re the one who’s pregnant, you may be wondering just how many calories you should be consuming to sustain a healthy level of nutrition for both you and your little one. While it may be tempting to overindulge (after all, you’re going to be packing on the pounds anyway) there are some healthy guidelines you should be aware of regarding how much you should consume during your pregnancy.
- According to Baby Talk (2009:7), generally speaking, most women only need to take in approximately 100-300 extra calories per day to provide the nutrients she needs for her own energy levels as well as her baby’s growth. This means only one extra snack or light meal per day will suffice. If that doesn’t sound like much fun to you, just remind yourself of all of the time, energy, and stress you’ll be saving yourself trying to lose a ton of post-pregnancy weight!
- Everyone is different. Although there are guidelines (such as the ones here) to help you determine what and how much you should be eating while pregnant, your doctor is your best resource for advice in this matter. If you are underweight, for instance, your doctor may recommend a high-calorie diet, whereas if you are overweight, you may only need a minimal amount of extra calories per day for your baby.
- Not all calories are alike. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you get to munch on Twinkies constantly—or any other nutrient-starved junk food item for that matter. The extra calories you consume should be rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals that will aid in your baby’s growth and development. Try snacking on fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, or low-fat dairy products, for instance.
- You should never diet during pregnancy. Even if you’re gaining more weight than you anticipated, trying to lose weight while pregnant is not a good idea and could affect your baby’s health. Instead of going on a diet, focus on eating small meals and snacks throughout the day that are rich in whole grains, lean protein, and monounsaturated fats.
- Most healthy women gain between 25 and 35 pounds over the duration of their pregnancies. Depending on your genes, your metabolism, and your baby, you may gain slightly more or less than this average. Your OB-Gyn can help you monitor your individual weight gain throughout your pregnancy.