MAINTAINING A HEALTHY WEIGHT DURING PREGNANCY AND AFTER BIRTH

Healthy weight during pregnancy

The dream of most women during pregnancy is to be able to maintain her weight and to regain the shape she had before getting pregnant. But this does not happen for most women.

It’s very important that we know what is healthy and what is not during pregnancy.

Have you heard the saying “during pregnancy you need to eat for two” Do we really understand this? Does it mean you have to double your food or you increase the amount?

This statement is true, but during pregnancy what it really means is for you to increase the quality of your food. The nutritional content of your food should be improved to meet the demands of the growing fetus.

The amount of calories you need during pregnancy are as follows

1,800 calories per day in the 1st trimester
2,200 calories per day in the 2nd trimester
2,400 calories per day in the 3rd trimester

Just increasing the amount of food you eat without necessarily increasing its nutritional value will only end up giving you extra weight which you may not need after birth. Pay key attention to the nutritional component of every meal you eat during pregnancy. Ask your self, which nutrient will I get if I eat this meal.?Will it add value to me or just add calories I may end up not needing after birth?

It’s important to know how much weight is healthy during pregnancy. Here is a guide

If your weight range before becoming pregnant  was (BMI 18.5-24.9), ideally you should gain between 11.5 kg to16 kg by the end of your pregnancy. 1 to 1.5 kg in the first three months then 1.5 to 2 kg each month until you give birth. If you are above the healthy weight range, you should gain less.

The weight gain is mostly as a result of the baby. There is an increase in blood volume, breast tissue and the uterus. Hormones also play a key role in the weight gain during pregnancy

Always report if you realize you are gaining excess weight or your wait gain has reduced.

Your meal should contain a variety of food from all the six food groups, especially proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fats and oil. They should be in adequate quantities.

Do not forget that you are what you eat and the outcome of your pregnancy will be a reflection of your nutritional status during pregnancy as well as other important factors.

Make sure whatever you eat is nutritious.

Babies weight adds up to your weight gain during pregnancy

Some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy include:

  • As I said earlier increase the nutritional value of your meal and not necessarily the amount
  • Take healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables. Nuts etc.
  • In between your meals breakfast, lunch and supper when you feel hungry instead of going for a whole meal again. Take more fruits and vegetables. Nuts and some protein foods make you full as well as Feel satisfied but will not give you that extra calorie you do not need. Fruits and vegetables have lots of nutrients to nourish your baby as well.
  • Exercise is a great way to maintain healthy weight during pregnancy. It keeps you fit and healthy. You can walk or perform activities that will keep you active.
  • Rest in-between your activities.
  • Take enough water so you stay hydrated and healthy
  • Instead of taking lots of processed foods and fast foods eat foods that are whole and unprocessed
  • Juice or drinks made from fresh fruits are healthier options for expectant mums
  • Mums who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes should take their medication to keep insulin levels under control.
  • You can also book an appointment with a nutritionist to help you plan your meals.
  • Take your prescribed haematinics. This can help make up for the nutrients that may not be available in your food.
Fruits helps maintain a healthy weight

POSTNATAL TIPS

Passive exercises, walks etc

Exclusive breastfeeding

If you had a caesarian section make sure your doctor has confirmed you are fit and wound completely healed before doing any vigorous exercise.

Take more fruits and vegetables. water etc

After you have delivered continue to eat nutritious meals, lots of water etc

If you had extra calories you need to speak to a nutritionist to help plan your diet. It’s key.

Reduce carbohydrates, fats and oil. Food should be nutritious.

It is also worth noting that after delivery once the pregnancy hormones start falling. You will loose lots of the fluid your body retained during pregnancy. Make sure you are fit before starting any weight loss regime. Ask your doctor or midwife if it’s OK for you to start any.

Kindly share your thoughts. What worked for you during pregnancy?

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