Weight gain is a natural part of pregnancy and an important aspect of your growing baby’s health. Although you’re “eating for two” during pregnancy, it’s important to avoid the temptation to eat twice as much. Rather than focusing on quantity, try to enhance the quality of your food choices.

The amount of weight you gain during pregnancy impacts your baby’s health and your well-being during and after pregnancy. Gaining too little weight during pregnancy increases a baby’s risk of; pre-term birth, low birth weight and difficulty initiating breastfeeding. Whilst gaining too much weight during pregnancy increases the risk of Macrosomia (birth weight of more than 4,500 g**), difficulty losing weight after pregnancy, gestational diabetes or hypertension.

Eating quality foods and consuming the correct number of calories benefits your unborn baby’s health and yours during each stage of pregnancy.

In the 1st trimester, healthcare professionals suggest continuing your daily intake of pre-pregnancy calories, which is between 2000 to 2200 calories for most women during childbearing years. While your unborn baby’s calorie needs are small during the 1st trimester, their needs for nutrients are high. This is the time to start making every bite count.

In the 2nd trimester, healthcare professionals recommend an additional 340 calories a day. That’s the equivalent of 1 cup of fat-free skim milk and one slice of whole-grain bread with 1-1/2 tablespoons of peanut butter.

During the 3rd trimester, healthcare professionals recommend a further 450 calories a day. That’s the equivalent of 1 cup of low-fat vanilla yoghurt, 1/2 cup of mixed fruit, and 1/3 cup of low-fat muesli.

The right amount of pregnancy weight gain varies for each woman and is based on how much you weigh before becoming pregnant. Ask your healthcare professional to help you determine the right amount of maternity weight gain for you.

Registered Dietician Abby Courtenay, from Nutritional Solutions suggests that you need to focus on health eating behaviors during your pregnancy, such as:

· Quality over quantity. Choose whole, minimally processed foods to get the most vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients out of your meals. Good choices include: Vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, wholegrain and high fibre starches and plant fats
· Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Eating slowly will allow your body to register when you have had enough
· Eat small frequent meals. This will help manage your hunger (and also pregnancy discomforts like heartburn) and subsequent overeating. It also provides you with more opportunities to include nutrient rich foods in your diet

We know as a mother you want the very best for your baby. This desire to want the best for your baby is born the moment you begin to plan for your pregnancy. With a healthy approach, you can ensure responsible eating for two while achieving a pregnancy weight that’s best for you. If you need individualized assistance with your diet, contact a registered dietitian who has a special interest in maternal health.

You need the strongest foundation that nutrition can provide to support your precious baby on the journey from womb to the world. Similac® Mom is a low-fat milk-based maternal supplement containing 24 essential vitamins and minerals, protein, DHA and a prebiotic (FOS). Similac® Mom is scientifically formulated to support the increased nutritional needs of pregnant and breastfeeding moms. It can be used as a snack or made into a delicious smoothie for a meal on the go!

Similac® Mom is available at all major pharmacy groups and selected retail outlets nationwide, including online shopping platforms.

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