When I was pregnant, I craved sub sandwiches. I remember the guy behind the counter asking me if I wanted ice cream on it. Obviously, he didn’t understand the wrath of a near-term pregnant woman and her love for food. I suppose there are worse things to long for than veggie-covered sandwiches and many women play the pregnancy card to eat everything they love—and often twice as much of it. But what you may not know is that twice as much food will make twice as much you, with virtually no call to suck down those double scoop sundaes or box of cookies—baby or no baby.
During the first twelve weeks of your pregnancy (also called your first trimester) your baby is TINY. I mean like the size of a pea, or a peanut. He or she doesn’t need you to eat a whole bag of potato chips just for them. You can continue to eat the same number of calories you have been taking in before your pregnancy provided that you haven’t been on a starvation diet. During those first weeks, nausea and the development of a strong dislike for certain food is common. Many women lose weight during this time from morning sickness but don’t worry. What you do take in is really enough to supply your body and your baby is well protected. If you are underweight you should try to take in more calories each day and if you are overweight your doctor will talk with you about your diet.
This isn’t the time to start a strict eating plan but more of a time to eat well, and eat healthy.
The foods you take in will provide your baby with the necessary nutrients and vitamins to develop normally. So make a concentrated effort to indulge on fruits, veggies, low fat dairy and lean meats and shy away from the things you know you shouldn’t have as much of—like high fat and sugar items. Certainly these things are fine in moderation so watch how much you have and keep the portions small.
As your pregnancy progresses, about 500 extra calories a day will be plenty to keep you on track. That’s equivalent to a half of a peanut butter sandwich a day compared to what you ate before you were expecting.
Taking care to eat well and not overindulge can make a big difference in your delivery. Staying active helps keep pushing muscles toned—meaning your labor could be shorter and easier than those who pack on 50, 60, 70 pounds or more. 30 pounds is usually standard, but your doctor may recommend that you gain a bit more or less depending on your starting point. Less weight gain is also good for you after delivery as it leaves you with less to work off (or never get off, if you are like most of us out there).
Not sure where to start? Dr. Hessel is here to help. As a chosen provider for women in the Forrest Hills, New York area, she’s here to help you through the weight-gain woes. Make an appointment today.