Pregnancy is the time to indulge - rest as much as possible, read your favourite books, enjoy your most favourite TV shows and most importantly eat whatever you want. But it is also a time most women often wonder how to control weight during pregnancy. Once past the difficult first trimester, most women tend to enjoy food and some might even go a bit overboard; after all, you are eating for two is the reason most often given. However, this could not be more wrong. While you are pregnant, you must eat to gain only a healthy amount of weight as unnecessary weight gain comes with a host of complications - gestational diabetes and high BP amongst others.
How to control weight during pregnancy?
#1. Find out how much weight you should gain
Every woman is advised to gain weight in a different weight-range depending on her pre-pregnancy weight. The current guidelines call for a total weight gain of 11-16 kgs for women whose existing weight is in the normal BMI of 18-24 and 6-12 kgs weight gain for overweight women. The weight gain range is different for underweight and obese women and your doctor will be able to advise you on the amount of weight it is ok for you to gain after assessing your current health conditions.
Also read: 10 Useful Tips To Prevent Indigestion During Pregnancy
#2. Eat small meals
Many pregnant women suffer from morning sickness (nausea), especially in the first trimester of their pregnancy. This makes it difficult for them to eat large meals in one go. It is therefore advised to eat smaller, nutritionally rich meals at frequent intervals. This will not only provide the growing baby with the required nutrition but also maintain your sugar levels through the day making you less hungry and less likely to overindulge.
#3. Snack healthy
You feel more hungry more frequently while pregnant and hunger can make one reach for the nearest available snack. Stock up on healthy snacks in advance - fresh fruit, granola or trail mix, dried fruit and nuts, whole grain crackers or yogurt. Remember to eat good quality, nationally rich food as what you eat has an impact on your baby’s health too.
#4. Use added fats in moderation
Contrary to popular belief in India, pregnant women do not need extra helpings of ghee or butter to nourish the growing baby. Ghee, butter, oils, salad dressings, cream cheese, sauces, and gravies easily add hundreds of extra calories to your meals. To save calories, choose healthy fats and in moderation.
Also read: How much weight gain is normal during pregnancy?
#5. Eat fibre-rich foods
A high-fibre diet is going to be your best friend if you want to control weight during pregnancy. A high fibre diet helps you feel fuller for a longer time and therefore keeps hunger at bay. For women who experience constipation during pregnancy, a high fibre diet can help to resolve this problem. Ensure your diet is high in fibre-rich foods including vegetables and fruits, oats, lentils (dals), and whole grains.
#6. Watch the salt
Since a variety of store-bought snacks use salt as a preservative, many people unknowingly eat more than the recommended daily allowance of salt. This can cause the body to retain fluid weight and in turn, lead to high blood pressure. Therefore, eat salt in moderation. Also, choose salt which is fortified with iodine, a mineral that contributes to your baby’s brain development. Replacing your regular table salt with an iodized variety can support your intake of iodine.
Also read: 5 Benefits Of turmeric Milk During Pregnancy
#7. Stay hydrated
One of the easiest ways to control weight during pregnancy is to drink a lot of water. When you do not drink enough water, your body might mistake thirst as hunger causing you to eat unnecessarily but not be satiated. The Institute of Medicine advises pregnant women to drink 10 8-ounce glasses of water (about 2.5 litres) or other beverages each day and drinking more if you are active. Experts also suggest monitoring urine color: If it's dark yellow or cloudy, your body needs more fluids. Ideally, urine should be pale yellow or clear – a sign of proper hydration.
#8. Pregnancy exercises
Unless otherwise advised by your doctor, stay active during your pregnancy. You could practice pregnancy yoga under the guidance of a trained yoga practitioner, swimming or low impact aerobics. If you do not enjoy any of these, walking is the best exercise. Staying active while pregnant not only regulates weight but also minimises pregnancy-related aches and pains.
Aim to start your pregnancy at a healthy weight and stay within the permissible weight range through the course of your pregnancy. This will not only be healthier for your baby but will also make it easier for you to lose the post-pregnancy weight. Once your baby is born, breastfeeding is a great weight to lose weight as it can help burn up to 500 calories a day. By following these simple tips, you can also control weight during pregnancy.
Also read: How Do Low Levels Of Vitamin D Affect Pregnancy?
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