Following a healthy pregnancy eating plan is a good idea when pregnant to ensure you and your baby are getting the right nutrients you both need. How do you make changes to your usual eating plan to ensure you get the foods you need and increase your daily calories and requirements as needed?
Ali Pickles, Midwife, shares some information here:
As we know it is normal to have healthy weight gain during pregnancy to benefit your baby’s development. On average women gain a couple of kilos a month however some months you may not increase at all and others you may put on four kilos. This is ok. If you put on a few more don’t punish yourself, it’s normal and once you’ve had your baby you can work out if you need to adjust your eating plan again to suit your changing body.
So how do you safely increase calories in your daily eating plan during pregnancy?
In the first trimester most women only need to increase roughly 200 calories a day to maintain a healthy meal plan in pregnancy. Adding this increase with fruit, vegetables, meat, legumes, dairy or whole grains, 200 calories could be as easy as one tub of yoghurt.
During the second and third trimesters the baby has done all its important genetic growth and is now focusing on fattening and cell growth. Women should increase their daily calories to approximately 300 calories a day. This could equate to a glass of milk and some cheese and crackers.
If you were severely unwell in the beginning of your pregnancy and lost a lot of weight you could be lacking in important nutrients that your body requires. Do not be alarmed thinking you have harmed your baby. Your body is very clever and has stolen all your nutrients to feed the baby. Your body gets the leftovers. This can contribute to the tiredness and lethargy you are feeling. If you fit into this group then you may need to increase your calorie intake to 400-500 calories per day. Calcium is important in pregnancy and vitamin D to absorb the calcium so eating foods rich in this is very beneficial.
If you fit into the overweight or obese category before pregnancy it is important you speak to your doctor before severely restricting your calorie intake. Generally women in this weight category do not blow their calorie intake, they instead sometimes choose the wrong foods. Looking at your dietary intake and assessing you meals could make a big difference to your weight gain in pregnancy. Over eating is very common and easy to do in pregnancy.
Everyone has heard of the cravings associated with pregnancy. Sugary treats, junk food, salty chips, and weird items such as pickles and ice cream. Cravings can often be satisfied by choosing healthy food option. For example:
- If you have a sugary craving eat a sweet apple or a banana.
- Having a small amount of dark chocolate can help a craving as well as give you essential antioxidants.
- If you have a carb craving and want pasta swap white breads and pastas for wholemeal varieties.
- Eating unsalted nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds can help curve a salty craving.
- A small handful of pretzels can also assist salt cravings.
- Cravings for desserts after dinner can be combatted with dipping fresh fruit into yoghurt.
- See more about cravings here as often what you’re craving may mean you are low in certain nutrients and actually need to eat something quite different to what you thought!
Following a healthy pregnancy eating plan shouldn’t be a stressful thing but rather a chance to listen to your body and look for healthy options to get the nutrients you and your baby need.
Ali Pickles, Midwife
Disclaimer: Always speak to your doctor before changing your diet,taking any supplements or undertaking any exercise program in pregnancy. The information on this site is for reference only and is not medical advice and should not be treated as such, and is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice..
Our plans promote a health weight gain in pregnancy to benefit the mother & baby and you can read more on this here
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