I had a conversation with Mike yesterday which went something along the lines of:
me: ‘thankfully I only put on 4lbs on holiday and since I have to put on weight anyway, that’s fine’
Mike: ‘You don’t have to put on weight it’s just that women tend to as a result of being pregnant’
Let me clear this up for you ladies…yes we do have to put on weight because our babies need us to… If you don’t put on enough weight, it can have an adverse effect on you and shorty! Follow the top 2 links in resources below for a good explanation as to why you should put on weight (oh and while you’re at it, why it’s bad to put on too much – it’s a bleeding minefield!!)
- If you were underweight before conception, you should aim to put on between 28 and 40 lbs
- If your weight was within the healthy weight bracket, you should aim to put on between 25 and 35lbs
- If you were overweight before conception, you should aim to put on between 15 and 25lbs
- If you were obese, you should aim to put on between 11 and 20 lbs (although, have a read of this study reported in the New York Times, which suggested that obese ladies should aim for zero weight gain during pregnancy)
Following on from this I decided to check on my progress (especially given my recent holiday – 10 days of eating and lying down) using babycenter’s nifty weigh gain tracker. Using this you can see both how much you should put on in the end and also check on your current weight gain to make sure you’re on track. Thankfully I am, although I’m very close to the upper limits of what I should be putting on at this stage!
So, what now…? How do you make sure you gain weight but not too much?
Looking elsewhere, there’s lots of conflicting evidence. I mentioned yesterday that exercise is meant to help prevent you from putting on too much weight; however, having read a few articles about exercise during pregnancy (including this one about better birth weights for babies), it seems that the main benefit of exercise is for junior by giving them the best possible start, and exercise doesn’t actually impact upon the weight of the mother-to-be.
Now I’m fine with that, I’m enjoying exercising and now I know how good it is for my baby, I’ll keep it up. BUT that still leave us with the question of how to put on weight but not too much (or in some people’s cases, not mine, too little) if exercise isn’t going to have a big impact on weight gain. Based on my experience so far, here are my 3 special steps for success…
- Know what to eat – As a starter you need to know what to eat, please see my Love, Hate, Avoid food posts, and my post on how to gain weight SLOWLY. If you read the precisionnutrition.com post about what to eat during pregnancy, this gives a good starting point also.
- Don’t obsess over calories – what I’m learning is that rather than obsessing over calories (I do try to keep a track but it doesn’t always work – often I have no idea of the calorie content, and in any case I’ve no idea how many I was eating before I got pregnant), I’m going to concentrate on eating the right things – i.e. foods that are rich in all the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy, and eliminating the ones that are likely to make me fat (so long ice cream and chocolate!).
- Concentrate on eating the right foods (and cut out the bad ones) – To get me started on the straight and narrow, I love this post about the 10 best foods for pregnancy (I was so enthralled that when Mike called me the other day to say he was 5 minutes away, I managed to completely forget we’d had the conversation and I left him waiting outside my office for ages!) and going forward I’m going to finally write up my notes on the essential vitamins and minerals for pregnancy, which currently looks like a scribbling mess…
From this I hope to have a diet that is full of goodness. As long as I’m eating when I’m hungry and not eating food with zero nutritional benefit, I think my body will work the rest out!
Precisionnutrician.com – What to eat during pregnancy
Babycenter – Weight gain: what to expect
New York Times – Zero weight gain during pregnancy
Babycenter – Weight gain estimator
New York Times – Better birth weight for babies
Babycenter – 10 best foods for pregnancy