One of the most common worries and complaints women have when they expect a baby is excessive pregnancy weight gain. It seems like it’s always one of two extremes.
Either women are so worried about weight gain that they deny themselves the luxury of adding a single pound, even though they are carrying a baby; or they wholeheartedly adhere to the old wives’ tale about eating for two–and gain way too much weight over the course of nine months.
Is it just to be expected that you will gain a lot of weight during pregnancy? Or, with proper nutrition, can you keep your weight gain to a reasonable expectation? A pregnancy nutritionist always believes there is middle ground here, and that proper diet can do a lot to foil obesity during pregnancy.
How Much Is Too Much?
Let’s begin by talking about how much is too much. Most experts agree that you should gain no more than 20 to 30 pounds over the course of your pregnancy. Most of that weight is added in the second trimester, when your baby grows at an amazing rate.
Any weight gain below this amount could mean you aren’t getting adequate nutrition. Any gain above 30 pounds will make it quite difficult for you to return to your pre-pregnancy figure without a lot of work.
Sugar and Pregnancy
If you want to control your weight gain during pregnancy, avoiding sugar can help. Sugar is the number one cause of obesity during pregnancy.
Sugar can also be traced to gestational diabetes as well as the problem of carrying a baby that is simply too large for natural childbirth.
If you have a sweet tooth, don’t opt for artificial sweeteners–they’re full of troubling chemicals that can cause a range of side effects.
Instead, try all-natural substitutes like raw honey, stevia, xylitol, and agave syrup to satisfy your cravings.
Water Retention—A Common Problem
Water retention is another common pregnancy complaint that can cause you to add weight. True, it’s “water weight,” but edema can cause problems nonetheless. Most importantly, it can keep you from getting the exercise and movement you need to stay healthy.
Combat water retention by avoiding foods that contain sodium. You should also increase your water intake. You should drink at least half your body weight in pounds, in ounces of water every day as a minimum to keep fluids from accumulating in your tissues. (If you weigh 150 lbs, for example, drink 75 ounces of water every day.)
Finally, you should also stay active, as regular exercise will help keep your blood circulating and thus will keep water retention in check.
Getting the Willpower to Exercise
It can be difficult to keep your willpower to exercise during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester when you are at your heaviest and most fatigued. However, regular exercise is really crucial to avoiding excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
If you have trouble staying motivated, consider working out with a buddy who will keep you company. Or try switching up your routine to a form of exercise that’s more enjoyable. Many women find that swimming is especially nice during the third trimester, as you feel weightless when you are in the water.
Finally, it’s important to find other ways to reward yourself during pregnancy than relying on food. Instead, try to find ways to pamper yourself that feel good and are good for you.
You might opt for a pregnancy massage, or drop in on a prenatal yoga class. Schedule a mani-pedi and lunch with friends before the big day. When you have a special event coming up, go ahead and splurge in a maternity outfit that makes you feel fantastic.
By pampering yourself in other ways, you can help curb the tendency to eat too much and keep your pregnancy weight gain in check.