Weight gain is a reality of pregnancy… Or is it? Many pregnant women struggle to meet pregnancy weight gain milestones–often leading to anxiety, and unhealthy eating habits. We asked Kristi Angevine, OBGyn, to weigh in on some healthy weight gain tips, and we’re sharing 5 Tips to Ensure Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain.
Your suggested weight gain will be based on your health and BMI at conception as determined by your doctor, and this calculation is often a simple estimation. Your body shape, and the number on the scale throughout you pregnancy will be largely based on your body type, diet, and activity level both before and during pregnancy– so talk to your doctor about the most accurate weight-gain timeline specifically for you.
2) Tummy Talk
If you’re experiencing extreme nausea, excessive vomiting, or ongoing sickness into the second trimester, you’re one of many mamas who experience morning sickness (or all-day sickness for many of us!) If this nausea is interfering with your appetite, weight, or energy, you could be suffering from Hypermesis Gravidium– a pregnancy related illness caused by hormonal fluctuation. There are several ways to ease HG, including diet change, keeping hydrated, grazing so you are never ‘over full’ or hungry, light exercise or meditation, and using natural nausea reducers, such as ginger. In severe cases, medication can be prescribed by a physician if necessary.
Nausea, of any severity, can cause reduced weight gain– and even weight loss– in the first trimester, but rest assured as long as you are eating healthy, taking vitamins, and staying hydrated, the baby will get enough nutrients to develop normally!
3) Understanding ‘Diet’
When we talk about diet, we associate it with deprivation, ‘rabbit food’, and trying to lose weight, which causes a lot of confusion– especially for pregnant women, since they are being weighed every month (or more often!). Traditionally, ‘diet’ simply refers to what is being consumed by an individual, and everyone should use this more organic definition. When moms understand that their diet can have a strong impact on their pregnancy, and better understand how food fuels the body, they can have a healthier pregnancy.
With that being said, Dr. Angevine has collaborated with us to develop these additional guidelines for pregnant women struggling to gain the recommended amount of weight.
4) Fats & Carbs
A ‘diet’ that demands fats and carbs? Yes Please! But to be more specific, we’re talking healthy fats and adding additional carbohydrates that are also more closely naturally derived from plants.
Some Excellent Food to Try:
- Real Organic Nut Butters
- Walnuts, Pumpkin/Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Pistachios
- Steel Cut Oats
- Flax Seed
- Greek Yogurt
- Olive (no heat) or Coconut (low heat) Oil
- Real Butter (forget the processed stuff, opt for organic, natural types)
Additional carbs in your diet as a pregnant or nursing mama are essential to maintaining energy and health. While we typically think of limiting these items in our diet, fats and carbohydrates provide heart healthy properties and essential nutrients that will help you stay strong, and help fuel you and your baby, both during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding.
Lots of moms are concerned about eating too much, but the bigger concern is eating too much of the wrong things! So go ahead, finish off that delicious avocado or quinoa salad… Just skip on that second serving of ice cream!
5) Flex a Little
Working out to help gain weight– it has a TON of benefits. You’ll feel more energized, you’ll be in great shape during pregnancy and have more endurance (this will help during labor!), many pregnant moms who exercise find their body bounces back better after delivery, and surprisingly, weighted exercises will help you gain healthy weight– Muscle! It is safe to perform almost all weight lifting and weight bearing exercises you did before pregnancy, as long as you’re using proper body mechanics & listening to your body. If you weren’t previously doing weight-training, talk to your doctor about your personal limitations, and seek out a specialized prenatal exercise program like Knocked-Up Fitness and Wellness Prenatal DVDs. Remember, exercising to build muscle and gain energy can help your pregnancy progress healthfully, but never exercise yourself to exhaustion!
Finally, since we’re talking about weight– remember that pregnancy is a time to gain weight healthfully, it’s all for your beautiful baby (or babies!!). If you’re concerned you are gaining too little, or too much, be sure to talk to your doctor to review what is a healthy weight range for your pregnancy!