by Patricia Hughes
Weight gain is a major concern for many pregnant women. You want gain enough to grow a healthy baby, but not so much that it’s really difficult to lose after the baby is born. The recommended range for healthy weight gain in pregnancy is between twenty five and thirty five pounds. If you were overweight prior to the pregnancy, you may be advised to gain a bit less. If you were underweight before you became pregnant, you may be advised to gain a little more. Always make sure you consult with your health care professional to make sure any dietary changes are right for you. Here are some tips and ideas.
Following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise is the best way to maintain a healthy weight gain. If you think of pregnancy as a time to go crazy and eat anything and everything you crave, you will gain more weight. You are not really eating for two. The baby requires about three hundred calories per day above your normal dietary calories. This is about the amount of calories found in two glasses of milk.
Make healthy food choices for both meals and snacks. Include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, whole grains, dairy products and milk in your diet every day. When you are planning your menus, be sure to include foods from each of these food groups at every meal. Pay attention to calcium, protein and iron, which are very important for your baby. Take your prenatal vitamins as recommended by your health care provider.
Cut out the chips and soda for snacks. These are full of empty calories, sugar and fat. Choose healthy snacks, such as yogurt, carrot sticks, granola, fresh fruit or string cheese. Healthy foods will help you feel full and ensure your baby is getting the nutrients needed for healthy growth. If you work, pack a bag with healthy snacks to keep at your desk. This will keep you away from the vending machines in the afternoon. If you are at home, keep fresh vegetables peeled and ready to eat in the refrigerator for a quick snack.
Pay attention to what you have to drink each day. Soda, coffee and other caffeinated beverages are also full of sugar and empty calories. Avoid these beverages and choose milk, juice and water instead. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. This will keep you well hydrated without the added weight gain. If you don’t like plain water, try flavored water.
Regular exercise has many benefits for pregnant women. Exercise helps control weight gain and prepares your body for the work of labor. Try to exercise for at least thirty minutes a day, three to four days a week. Exercise is safe for most pregnant women. Talk to your doctor to be sure it’s safe for you to exercise before you begin any routine. Drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated before, during and after your workout.
Choose an activity that you enjoy. If you like what you are doing, you are more likely to exercise. Low impact forms of exercise are generally considered safe for pregnant women. Some good low impact exercise ideas include prenatal yoga, swimming and walking. When you begin to exercise, start off slow. You can increase your intensity and extend your time spent exercising gradually. Stop working out and call your doctor if you feel dizzy, faint, have a sudden headache or experience any leaking fluid from your vagina.
Don’t be so concerned about weight gain that you don’t get enough nutrition. Proper nutrition is essential for your growing baby. You should not attempt to diet or lose weight when you are pregnant. If you are concerned about the amount of weight you are gaining, talk to your doctor. He may be able to offer some suggestions or refer you to a nutritionist, if needed.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.
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