Child bearing imposes both physical and mental strain on the body and mind. To be able to counter this, it is important that the mother has a healthy diet during pregnancy. Health and well-being of both mother and baby in the womb depends on the mother having a wholesome nourishing diet.
What’s a healthy weight gain during pregnancy? How do you avoid being overweight or underweight as you go through the pregnancy week by week? Usually a pregnant woman should eat about 300 more calories a day over her normal consumption. Following a healthy pregnancy diet chart and keeping track of weight gain will prevent going overweight or underweight.
Within your first trimester of pregnancy you should gain about 1 to 2 kilos and continue to gain about half a kilo for every week thereafter. However, your overall weight gain during pregnancy depends on your body structure and health prior to being pregnant. Women with average weight can expect to gain about 10-11 kilos; anything lower or higher can cause you to be underweight or overweight during pregnancy.
Weight Gain: Prevent Being Overweight or Underweight
Successful pregnancy requires a diet that
- Maintains maternal nutritional needs and the development of a healthy fetus
- Provides continuous adjustments in maternal body composition and metabolism
- Provides good maternal nutrition, which is vital for health and reproductive performance of women and the health, survival and development of their baby.
The dietary advice is as follows:
- Eat a variety of different foods from all food groups (cereals, pulses/non-veg, milk, fruits and vegetables, oils & nuts, sugar).
- Cereals: choose from whole wheat, wheat bread, multi grain bread, ragi, bajra and jowar
- Pulses: include a variety from green gram, horse gram, soya beans, black eyed beans
- Fruits: eat 2-3 whole seasonal fruits daily
- Vegetables: one cup with lunch and dinner. Restrict root and tubers
- Green leafy vegetables: thrice a week
- Milk and milk products: preferably skim milk. 400 ml a day
- Oil: choose from sunflower or safflower oil. 3-4 tsps a day
- Fluid intake should be at least 2-3 litres per day.
- Raw salad with at least one meal a day
Non vegetarian foods:
- Chicken (no skin), fish (not fried) or eggs white
- Have small, frequent meals 5-6 times per day.
- Maintain at least 1 ½ -2 hour gap between dinner and bedtime.
- For morning sickness keep crackers, plain sweet biscuits/ rusk or toast handy.
- Have at least one portion of dried fruit 25gms (almonds, walnuts, figs-2, raisins) each daily. Follow it up with citrus fruits so the absorption of iron is better.
Foods to Avoid during Pregnancy
- Coconut in excess
- Sweets, toffees
- Deep fried foods like bajji, bonda etc
- Soft drinks, alcohol, ice cream, honey, jaggery etc
- Salty foods like pickle, processed foods, salty snacks
- Maida based foods like naan, kulcha, roomali roti
- Fats like vanaspati, butter, cheese, ghee, re-used oils
- Limit the intake of Caffeine containing foods to less than 300mg/day (i.e. 2 cup of coffee or 3 cup of tea)
- Salt intake 5gm /day and if patient has pregnancy induced hypertension, then restrict the intake to less than ½ teaspoon/day.
Where Does the Pregnancy Weight Gain Go?
As your body goes through changes for fetal development and prepares for childbirth, weight gain is normal in your uterus, breasts and other tissues. Your body is not only building the birthing sac for your baby, but also preparing for breastfeeding. So where do these extra kilos go? To start with, from the first trimester of pregnancy you will notice a growth in your breasts as they prepare for milk ducts. The weight gain of breast tissue ranges about 1 kilo. Your body will also store fat for nutrition of the baby, which is another 2 to 4 kilos. The average weight of a new-born is about 3 and half kilos. Your uterus, amniotic fluid, and placenta will weigh about 3 to 5 kilos all together. Weight gain during pregnancy is also caused because of nutrient and blood supply to the fetus.
Follow diet charts for a healthy pregnancy weight gain that is nutritious for you and your baby. Avoid adding daily calories through junk or comfort foods as this could be harmful for your weight gain, health and baby’s growth.