-Woah – are you expecting twins? is not the kind of thing you want to hear when you and your doctor are certain you are only expecting a singleton. It’s enough to make any pregnant woman consider two things; one, would a judge really hold you accountable for strangling this rude twit and two, does your weight gain really seem abnormal in proportion to your pregnancy?
Nothing can quite prepare you for the disconcerting weight gain that occurs during pregnancy. It’s one thing to acquire a beautiful belly and some newfound cleavage, it’s quite another to look in the mirror and be greeted with a reflection resembling Jabba the Hutt. Pregnancy is a minefield of potential weight gain, and the weight of the baby you are carrying is only the tip of the iceberg. The extra water retention leads to bloating, the midnight munchie feasts lead to love handles and extra weight that seems to settle anywhere and everywhere, much to the dismay of expectant mums who had only pictured the beautiful belly part of the weight gain.
If you are pregnant and gaining weight faster than the recommended guidelines, you might be panicking. Nobody wants to struggle with excess weight, especially when pregnant or dealing with a newborn. So how much weight can you safely gain? How safe is weight loss during pregnancy? Let’s look at some of the answers.
Weight gain during pregnancy: what’s normal?
Hopefully, your doctor has discussed your own unique situation with you and recommended personalised weight gain guidelines that take into account your own needs. Every woman is different and there is no gold standard in weight gain that will apply to everyone. Generally, medical experts recommend anywhere between 8 – 14 kg for a normal pregnancy. The weight gain isn’t only the actual weight of the baby; with significant weight gained through the amniotic fluid, the placenta and the general increase in blood and of course your new and weighty cleavage.
Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can be dangerous and lead to complications such as gestational diabetes, which is avoidable for many women.
Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy
The average pregnant woman needs around 300 extra calories a day, roughly the equivalent of a small avocado or a few slices of bread. But, because you are pregnant, it isn’t quite as simple as that. If cravings haven’t already added hundreds of extra calories to your day (those peanut butter/ice cream cravings are murder to any diet!). The real trick is finding nutrient rich foods that meet your extra nutritional needs without packing on the weight. In addition to prenatal vitamins, you’ll need, your body needs a range of extra vitamins and minerals as well as added protein in your diet as well.
Tips to control weight gain during pregnancy
- Try cutting down your portion sizes a little bit, if you are subtle enough you won’t even notice the difference. You could also try eating several smaller meals evenly spaced out during the day. Not only will this keep your blood sugar more stable (and potentially eliminate morning sickness) but also your body will have an easier time digesting everything.
- The best thing you can do to gain control of weight is to cut out refined carbohydrates and opt for wholegrain carbohydrates instead.
- Try some sneaky substitutions: Instead of reaching for that big bag of Lays, why not eat some popcorn instead? Alternatively, skip the chocolate cake and head for the banana bread instead? There are all kinds of foods you can substitute that will satisfy your hunger without merely adding hollow calories.
- Don’t aim to cut out whole food groups or deny yourself treats, you are growing a human being and that requires a little bit extra.
Don’t beat yourself up too much about a few extra kilograms over the standard weight gain guidelines, every pregnancy is unique and your doctor will have a better insight into what is normal for you.
– Kahea Rusch