Heard the term “eating for two”? Well banish that thought from your mind. There is no such thing as eating for two.
For some women, pregnancy is a time to indulge on all those treats that they couldn’t touch when they weren’t pregnant. As they stuff the second chocolate or handful of chips into their mouths, they think “What the hell, I’ll lose the weight once the baby is born.” Think again.
Research has shown that a woman who is overweight or obese, is more likely to have problems during her pregnancy. The incidents of high blood pressure and gestational diabetes are likely to increase in a woman who is overweight, than a woman who isn’t. There are also reportedly links to prolonged labour in such women.
While weight gain is a concern, pregnancy is definitely not the time to diet. It’s not the time to become neurotic about the extra kilogram or two that you’ve put on. It’s also not the time to stop eating, to avoid putting on extra weight. Proper weight gain and nutrition is crucial to you and your growing baby.
So what should you do if you’re overweight and you’re about to fall pregnant, or you are pregnant? The most important thing is to speak to your doctor about your concerns. Do not embark on a new eating or exercise regime without speaking to your Gynae first.
You can however start doing sensible things, like cutting down on the amount of refined sugar that you eat. Eliminate things like pies, chips, chocolates and sweets from your diet and start adding in healthy foods like grains, leafy vegetables, fruit and water. The healthier option isn’t very exciting, but it is manageable. If you follow a sensible diet, you will be able to indulge in your favourite treat every now and then.
There are also a number of weight loss groups, like Weigh-Less, who have specific programmes for pregnant women. These programmes help pregnant mom’s put on the right amount of weight, while eating sensibly.
So what is the right weight gain? Well, there really isn’t a fixed figure, because each woman is different. There are however some guidelines that you can follow to make sure you’re on the right track.
If you are at your ideal weight when you fall pregnant, you should expect put on between 11 - 16kgs during your pregnancy.
If you are underweight, you need to gain some weight, to give birth to a healthy baby. In such a situation, you should expect to put on between 12 – 18kgs. Your doctor will however monitor your weight closely to ensure that you’re gaining the right amount and will advise you how much you should put on.
If you are overweight when you fall pregnant, you’ll only need to put on between 6 – 11kgs. Your doctor will also probably monitor your weight closely, to make sure that you’re putting on the right amount.
Remember that these are only guidelines. Your doctor will tell you whether you’re on the right track.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations of your weight gain. You’re supposed to put on weight and you’re supposed to have a great big tummy. And also, don’t expect to leave the hospital wearing your old pair of jeans! It’ll take a few months for your body to return to its old shape, depending on the amount of weight you’ve put on during your pregnancy.