Let’s face it, there are a ton of different things to worry about when you’re pregnant, and one of them-while it might seem like it should be the least of your worries- is gaining excess weight. Yes, it is inevitable that you will gain some weight while pregnant, this is healthy! However, healthy dieting during pregnancy is a good way to prevent unnecessary weight gain that will be difficult to take off after you bring baby home. Also, in fact, maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy can greatly help lower the risk of pre-eclampsia, diabetes, and premature birth. Read on to learn some of the do’s and don’ts of dieting while pregnant to ensure healthy weight management for yourself and your developing baby.
- Do incorporate a variety. Just as with any other healthy diet, when you’re pregnant and dieting you should incorporate food varieties from all of the food groups. It is recommended to include 6-11 servings of breads and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy products, and three servings of protein sources (meat, poultry, fish, eggs or nuts) each day. We know how hard it can be to fight those cravings, but remember to consume fats and sweets as seldom as possible.
- Don’t limit caloric intake as you might in many diets. Doctors and nutritionist agree that you should be consuming about 300 more calories per day than you did before you became pregnant.
- Do include lots of calcium rich foods. Calcium is very important when it comes to proper development of your baby. During pregnancy you should aim for 3 or more glasses of milk per day. To help maintain your weight, you can choose low-fat or nonfat milk or fortified soymilk. Another way to sneak calcium into your diet is to cook rice or oatmeal in skim milk instead of water. You can also eat cereals that are fortified with calcium. Aim for 1,000mg of calcium a day.
- Don’t try any of the latest fad diets while pregnant. Many of the hottest diets involve cutting out food groups, limiting caloric intake or require that you eat a lot of fish, none of which are healthy when you have a little one growing and developing. Save these for after you have your baby and need to work off those added pounds.
- Do allow yourself to gain weight! Doctors agree that pregnant women should gain somewhere between 25 to 30 pounds while pregnant, unless overweight before becoming pregnant. They also agree that women should never gain less than 11 to 20 pounds while pregnant as this can cause some very harmful neurological effects to your developing baby.
It is always best to consult with your doctor regarding any diet/nutrition plan while pregnant. Your baby will get what they need from your body and built-up sources, so it’s important you are nourishing yourself with necessary nutrients and vitamins to keep you and baby healthy, happy, and strong!