Eating for Two: Sustaining a Healthy Pregnancy
Hopefully, you will gain weight during pregnancy. The recommended weight gain during pregnancy is 25-35 lbs. However, if you are underweight at the beginning of pregnancy, your health care provider may want you to gain more. If you are overweight prior to pregnancy, you may need to gain less.
The preferred scenario is that you gain about 4 to 6 pounds the first trimester, 11 to 15 pounds the second trimester, and about 11 to 15 pounds the third trimester.
The increased weight is distributed as follows:
- Baby—6.5 to 9 pounds
- Placenta—1.5 pounds
- Amniotic fluid—2 pounds
- Enlarged uterus—2.5 pounds
- Enlarged breasts—3 pounds
- Increased blood volume—3 to 4 pounds
- Increased fluid—2 to 3 pounds
- Fat stores and increased muscle—4 to 10 pounds
- Total—24.5 to 35 pounds
The goal in pregnancy is to gain enough weight to sustain a healthy pregnancy without overdoing it. The key is to watch portion sizes as well as space out meals throughout the day.
The definition of a meal is the portion of food taken at one time to satisfy the appetite. Bring your hands together with palms open. The size of a small meal is what you can hold in both palms of your hands.
So, try to eat six small meals a day to help keep your energy level up, and keep nutrients available to your unborn baby throughout the day. As pregnancy progresses, eating small meals will also improve your comfort level since the growing uterus tends to put pressure on the diaphragm and stomach in the latter months of pregnancy predisposing you to acid reflux and heartburn.
The following food pyramid outlines the important foods you need to include in your diet throughout pregnancy:
MOTHERWELL© Pregnancy Food Pyramid