Gone are the days when it was thought that a pregnant woman could do nothing but rest all day (except if she’s been advised to do so by her doctor) and eat as much as she wants to because now that she’s pregnant, she’s two persons in one.
Now, it is a well known fact that pregnancy is not the time for indulgence; a pregnant woman, as long as she’s healthy, has every reason to be physically active and eat healthy foods, but not too much.
There have been concerns that a lot of women are gaining too much weight during pregnancy with serious implications. Several studies have associated excessive weight gain in pregnancy to a number of health problems including gestational diabetes, premature labor, difficult labor and preeclampsia. It also makes weight loss after pregnancy a whole lot difficult and increases the risk of diabetes and obesity in the child.
It is true that you might be tempted to eat more when you are pregnant but knowing that eating too much can make you gain more weight than you should, which would inevitably increase your risk of these health problems, should be enough motivation for you to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.
But in a bid to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight, you must be careful so you don’t end up weighing too low for pregnancy. In other words, there are two extremes that must be avoided during pregnancy and in fact before pregnancy – weighing too little and weighing too much.
In the same way gaining too much weight during pregnancy can cause serious complications, not gaining enough weight during pregnancy can also cause serious problems. The aim is therefore is to achieve a balance – not too little and not too much. How then are you supposed to achieve this?
- Eat small, frequent meals. This way you would avoid getting too hungry and overeating
- Drink plenty water. Besides making you feel full so you don’t get to eat too much, it also helps prevent constipation which is a common problem in pregnancy
- Cut down on simple carbohydrates like white rice, pasta and white bread and eat more of complex carbohydrates like brown rice (ofada rice), whole wheat bread, potatoes and yam
- Cut down on fatty and fried foods as well as sugary foods
- Get moving. Make walking an everyday routine