Although gaining weight during pregnancy is essential and natural, people should keep in mind that the weight gain should be limited to a healthy amount, according to experts.
Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietician, counsellor and public speaker specializing in nutrition, fitness and weight loss programs, said that gaining too much weight during pregnancy may have severe and long-term consequences for the mothers’ health.
Losing the extra fat after giving birth is extremely difficult for most women. Previous researchers have found that the way in which women lose weight after delivering is strongly influenced by how much they gained during pregnancy, according to Tallmadge.
The recommendation for women in their second and third trimesters is to gain weight at a rate of about one pound (0.45 kg) per week. They would have to consume about three hundred extra calories (on average) a day, Tallmadge said.
One way that women could get the extra calories would be by adding one serving of whole grain to their meal (which is about one hundred calories), and perhaps two more glasses of milk (approximately 100 calories each). An extra serving of fish or yogurt could also do the trick, Tallmadge explained.
However, women who are overweight or obese before the pregnancy should consume fewer extra calories and only gain less than one pound per week, experts recommend.
Eating nutritious food plays a key role, Tallmadge noted. The guidelines for pregnant women are not much different from any other health guidelines, except for the fact that pregnant women need a little more iron, calcium, and folic acid intake, compared with other adults. According to Tallmadge, those can be taken from prenatal vitamin supplements.
Dr. Jacinda Nicklas, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said that women should consume healthy fats like nuts or avocado, when they are trying to increase their calorie intake, and not resort to junk food.
As the pregnancy progresses, so do the weight-gain recommendations. Each trimester, the number of required calories had to increase, experts say. Some women find it harder to get enough calories as the pregnancy progresses, even though are able to gain a lot of weight in the first trimester.
Kathleen Rasmussen, a professor of maternal and child nutrition at Cornell University, stated that the developing foetus gains a lot of weight during the third trimester, which is why it is important for pregnant women to consume the recommended amount of calories.
According to Rasmussen, as the baby is growing, the space in the mother’s midsection becomes more and more limited. That makes it difficult for women to eat large meals as the pregnancy progresses. Rasmussen said that to combat that problem, women should eat several small meals each day, rather than fewer but considerably larger meals. Another thing they may do is consume healthy foods that are very high in calories, she added.
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