Tips For Not Gaining Too Much Weight During Pregnancy
Every woman who has ever carried a child has, at one point or another, used the excuse “I’m eating for two” in order to justify to themselves or others about the amount of extra calories that they are consuming. Having said that, giving in to that excuse will lead to a downward spiral of overeating, over indulging and ultimately excess weight gain which will be hard to shift once the baby has arrived. You’re not eating for two, the baby is a fraction of the size of you and doesn’t need entire meals like you would.
It’s inevitable that you will gain weight during pregnancy, both due to the baby growing inside you and some excess weight, but there are rough guidelines in place that suggest that the average woman should gain somewhere between 25lbs and 35lbs. Typically that’s 2lbs to 4lbs during the first trimester, followed up with roughly 1lb per week for the remainder of the pregnancy. However, overweight women will look to gain less and underweight women will look to gain more, just as women having twins (or more) will need to consider gaining between 37lbs and 54lbs.
The last thing you want to do is overindulge, gain too much excess weight and struggle to lose it once the baby is born. The best way to prevent this is by managing the weight throughout your pregnancy, and we’ve got a few tips on how just to do this:
Eat little and often
You actually don’t need to eat that much more to satisfy and nourish your growing baby; it’s roughly an extra 340 extra calories per day in the second trimester and 450 extra calories per day in the your third trimester – which isn’t really a lot of food at all.
Make meals that are high in lean proteins, and don’t forget to get plenty of fruit and vegetables into you. You’ll feel fuller for longer, whilst getting all of the nutrition that you both need. If you’re feeling increasingly hungry look to have a small snack every few hours.
Drink plenty of water
Everyone, regardless of whether they’re pregnant or not, should be aiming to drink up to 3 litres of water per day as the norm. Unfortunately, many women experience constipation during pregnancy where the body is trying to get every last bit of nutrition from the food being digested, and the digestive system slows down to do so. Water helps to keep the digestive system moving and reduces the chance of bloating.
Give in to your cravings, in moderation
You aren’t going to be able to ignore all of your cravings, and no one expects you to, but it’s worth bearing in mind that if you’re having naughty cravings that will add to your weight gain and be harder to shift after labour. If you’re constantly craving naughty treats, why not eat something healthy right before your naughty treat, making it less likely that you’re going to overindulge. Similarly, you can look to make your own food items, and just switch out the high fat items for low fat items; fruit crisps instead of crisps, sweet potato wedges instead of fries and so on.
Have the occasional overindulgence
If you’re trying to watch your weight gain, it’s a good idea to allow yourself a cheat night, or even a cheat day every now and then where you can eat what you want without feeling bad about it. Allowing yourself a specified cheat time will not only give you something to look forward to, but will also keep you on track.
If you regularly exercised before falling pregnant, keep at it – you can do more damage by becoming a couch potato when your body isn’t used to it. That being said, we’re not suggesting you continue running marathons or undertaking triathlons, but going for a nice run or brisk jog will get your blood pumping and prevent fat from wanting to stick around.
If you’re weren’t particularly active before falling pregnant, think about walking to shops instead of driving, or walking to your friends & family members’ homes instead of them coming to you.
Keeping active isn’t just great for managing your weight, it’s also recommended for reducing aches and pains that come with pregnancy.
Get a good night’s sleep
It may be hard to sleep through the night when the baby is pushing on your bladder and the bathrooms is constantly calling your name, but not getting a good night’s sleep will leave you feeling sluggish, will slow down your metabolism and leave you wanting to do nothing but eat. It doesn’t have to be during the night either, nap throughout the day if you have the time and space to do so.
At the end of the day, you’re going to gain weight – you get no say on the matter because there’s a tiny human growing inside of you that’s depending on you. And if you do gain more weight than you were hoping to, and struggle to get rid of it after the baby is born, don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re not Kim Kardashian with a nanny on hand to look after the baby so you can sleep, and a personal trainer on hand to kill you in the gym to ensure you get your pre-baby body back. It’s OK to have a little tummy and stretchmarks, they’re signs that you’ve endured pregnancy after all.
Header image courtesy of Montse PB