Once pregnant, many women worry about how much is the right amount of weight to gain. A lot of questions go through their heads — how much should I eat, and, for that matter, what should I eat? Do I eat for two? Is it OK to eat anything I want, because my stomach is going to get bigger anyway? Where does all the weight that I am gaining go?
Firstly, no, you do not have to eat for two. Pregnant women actually need an extra 200 to 300 calories per day. For an average weight woman, she would then be expected to gain approximately 25 to 30 pounds throughout the course of her pregnancy. The only additional nutrients that most women need are folic acid and iron, which can be obtained through diet or in the form of a vitamin.
For women who are plagued with hyperemesis — otherwise known as morning sickness — it will not even be possible for them to gain any weight in the beginning of pregnancy. They may even be losing weight. If you suffer from morning sickness, you should discuss with your doctor how to control that situation. There are many good options out there.
Once that first trimester passes, you regain your appetite, and now you may feel like you cannot control how much you eat. There is a tendency to eat more carbohydrate-rich foods, as opposed to proteins, because the smell of protein is not appealing to many. However, a diet with some sort of balance of proteins, carbs and fats will help ensure a healthier pregnancy outcome.
You should discuss a diet plan with your doctor. Many plans have to be individualized to suit each woman’s needs.
So, once you deliver your baby, where does all the weight actually go? Well, you may be surprised to learn that shortly after delivery, you don’t immediately lose all the weight you put on. At delivery, you lose about 14 to 16 pounds.
Here’s the breakdown: eight pounds for the baby, another two to three pounds for the placenta, and another two to three for the amniotic fluid. The rest of the weight is the increased breast tissue, blood supply and fat stores. Therefore, the more you eat, the more the fat stores increase, and the harder it will be to return to your pre-pregnancy weight.
Above all, enjoy your pregnancy, but be sure to discuss your diet with your doctor. Proper nutrition will help assure a good pregnancy outcome for mom and baby.