Pregnancy is the time period in which a woman carries a fetus inside her womb. The time duration in which pregnancy normally lasts is calculated as 10 lunar months or 9 calendar months and 7 days or 280 days or 40 weeks which should be calculated from the first day of last menstrual period.
How to Avoid Excess Weight Gain in Pregnancy
The normal weight gain of a healthy pregnant woman during a single fetus pregnancy is 12 kg or 24 lb. which is distributed as 2 kg in the first trimester and 5 kg in each second and third trimester.
A. Reproductive it. gain:
B. Maternal wt. gain
• Fetus: 3.3 kg a. Increase in blood volume: 1.3 kg
• Placenta: 0.6 kg b. Increase in extracellular fluid: 1.2 kg
• Liquor: 0.8 kg
• Uterus: 0.9 kg
• Breasts: 0.4 kg
• Accumulation of fat mainly and protein: 3.5 kg
Gaining excess weight during the pregnancy period have many harsh effects on the health of mother and fetus. when a mother is obese, she may have uncomfortable feeling and may become dyspneic on exertion. She may develop medical complications like hypertension and also gestational diabetes and there is also a difficulty in diagnosing the presentation of fetus and hearing of Fetal Heart Sound. Increased risk of fetal malformation such as neural tube defect and fetal macrosomia are other harsh effects of obesity in pregnancy. So, maintaining a reasonable or acceptable weight is very important in pregnancy.
Maternal weight gain and nutrition goes hand by hand and they determine the newborn’s weight . so yes, the pregnant lady needs to eat more but it doesn’t means she should eat for two. She only needs to add extra few hundred calories per day.
Some ladies might be already obese before getting pregnant and some might gain excess weight soon after pregnancy, but whatever it is, the pregnant lady should not loose weight or go on a diet.
Many woman may raise questions like , how to reduce the weight in pregnancy? Doesn’t it affects my baby? Does going on diet is acceptable in pregnancy? Most of the pregnant ladies have such queries as no one likes to be fat in today’s world. Everyone likes to be young, slim , fit and attractive. During pregnancy , being slim is not possible but we can control our excess weight gain.
Following tips may be aided to reduce excess weight gain during her pregnancy period without affecting the baby’s health.
a. Managing the cravings:
During a normal pregnancy period most of the womens have cravings and hunger due to which they have urge to eat unnecessary things and gain weight. They must satisfy their urges but should get sufficient protein and fat that she and the baby needs. The cravings should be satisfied with nutritious food. The women should primarily focus on avoiding junk food and snacks such as chips, candy, cookies and icecreams. The best way to avoid those junk food and snacks are not keeping those foods in the home. The lady should also avoid excess cravings of fried oily foods , chocolates and icecreams etc. Unhealthy food cravings may increase the weight of lady and affect the health. The suitable way to avoid unhealthy cravings is replacing with fruits and other hygienic diets.
b. Avoiding excess carbohydrate and starch:
Carbohydrate is very essential for a pregnant lady especially if the lady is battling morning sickness ie. nausea, vomiting. The lady should be advised for the intake of complex carbohydrate such as brown rice, pasta which will provide the lady and the baby with more nutrients and will help her to feel full and longer . Eating bread cracker and cereals made with whole grain is also best for pregnant woman. It help her not to give in to unhealthy cravings in later day also. Added sugar and artificial sweeteners are crucial factors for excess weight gain and they must be avoided. Natural sweetener is better than those added and artificial ones. Those food and drinks which are rich in excess sugar are not good choices of a pregnant lady.
c. Starting a simple exercise:
The most easy thing a pregnant mother can do is walk. Walking 20-30 minutes a day is beneficial for the pregnant lady . It is beneficial for not only managing excess weight gain but also in reducing aches and pain at the end of pregnancy and during labour. Moderate exercise is recommended as they helps to burn out extra calories . Swimming is also generally safe and effective exercise upto second trimester. Performing simple exercises also helps to feel rejuvenated and healthier.The main key to healthily manage weight is eating the right healthy food and staying active and fit.
d. Eat less but often:
The main theme is pregnant lady should eat in each two hourly at day time. The lady donot need many calories when she is pregnant. She just need extra 300 calories per day to fulfill her and baby’s daily requirements. Choosing a healthy snacks is beneficial while eating. High fiber diet and fruits should be included. They are useful in reducing constipation also. Eating healthy snacks moderately and often is necessary for reducing excess weight during pregnancy.
e. Choosing low fat diet:
Pregnant lady must choose the lower fat method of cooking such as boiling, grilling, baking etc. They are healthier methods for staying fit and reducing fat.The lady must choose reduced fat diary products. Using skimmed milk may help to reduce excess fat and calories and help in managing weight gain. Fat includes cooking oils, margarine, butter, gravy, sausages, mayonnaise etc. the pregnant woman should not eat excess fried foods in oil or butter as they will increase the calorie and fat of the meal. Eating light, low fat food is necessary for a pregnant mother for maintaining a reasonable weight gain in pregnancy.
Writer: Mamata Lamichane