09 September 2008

All women in the world must have a dream of having a happy and healthy pregnancy. Stopping smoking, eating a healthy diet, ditching booze and taking regular exercise will all help to ensure you and your baby remain in tip-top form. And don’t forget to monitor your weight during pregnancy.

According to the Association for the Study of Obesity, up to 80% of women blame their weight problem on pregnancy. This means there’s never a more important time in life to eat healthily and control the amount of weight you gain, especially if you are already overweight or obese. This definitely not the time to diet or worry about losing weight!

How much weight you should gain during pregnancy? There are no official recommendations. In general, a weight gain of 12.5kg is considered normal, although a healthy range is thought to be around 11-16kg.

Here’s an approximate breakdown of where all the extra weight goes :

Baby3-3.5 kg
Placenta0.5-1 kg
Amniotic Fluid1 kg
Uterus1 kg
Increased Breast Tissue1 kg
Increased Blood1.5 kg
Increased Fluids1 kg
Mother's Fat Stores3.5 kg

Large amounts of weight are gained during pregnancy, it’s due to an increase in the mother’s fat stores. Many women find so difficult to lose when they’ve had their baby and around half the body fat gained during pregnancy is stored around the stomach, where it carries the greatest health risk.

Most experts agree the more weight that’s gained during pregnancy, the greater the amount of weight that will stay with the mother afterwards. Indeed, research shows that women who gain more than 16kg during their pregnancy are likely to be 4-9kg heavier one year after giving birth than they were before they got pregnant.

In America, it’s recommended that women with a pre-pregnancy BMI of 26 to 29 aim to gain around 7-11.5kg, while women with a BMI of more than 29, aim for 6kg. Women who are extremely obese should aim to keep their weight steady throughout their pregnancy, although they should be closely monitored by their GP, midwife, practice nurse or a dietitian.

Avoiding putting on excessive amounts of weight has many benefits during pregnancy :
  • Lower the chances of pre-eclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Backache
  • Leg pains
  • Varicose veins
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme tiredness and even stretchmarks!
12 Top Tips Manage Your Weight During Pregnancy
  1. Use your pregnancy as a time to evaluate your overall eating habits and lifestyle and move towards healthier choices.
  2. Give up dieting but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to eat for two. You only need an extra 200 calories each day and that’s only in the last three months of your pregnancy! It’s equivalent to two slices of toast with low-fat spread, a banana and a pot of natural yogurt or a bowl of wholegrain cereal with semi-skimmed milk.
  3. Now’s not the time to start strenuous exercise. Swimming and walking are both great options.
  4. Take folic acid supplements for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy and eat more foods rich in this vitamin such as broccoli, spinach, sprouts, pulses, breakfast cereals, wholemeal bread and oranges.
  5. Avoid shark, marlin and swordfish and limiting tuna. Have no more than two weekly portions of oily fish like salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel as they may contain chemicals such as dioxins. Also avoid raw shellfish coz sometimes it contain bacteria and viruses that could cause food poisoning.
  6. Have plenty of iron rich foods to prevent deficient in iron. These include lean red meat, pulses, fortified breakfast cereals, vegetables and dried fruit.
  7. Avoid taking vitamin A supplements and eating liver or liver products.
  8. Take a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day.
  9. Avoid foods that may contain high levels of listeria, a germ that can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn baby. These include soft mould-ripened cheese, such as Camembert, Brie, chevre and blue-veined cheese. You should also avoid all types of pâté as it may contain listeria. (Cheddar, Parmesan, feta, ricotta, mascarpone, cream cheese, mozzarella, cottage cheese and processed cheese are all fine, as are live or bio yogurts, probiotic drinks, fromage frais, crème fraiche and soured cream.)
  10. Always cook eggs until the white and yolk are solidand eat meat that has been well cooked to prevent food poisoning.
  11. Alcohol free diet!
  12. No more than 300mg caffeine per day! Cut down on caffeine as high intakes can result in low birth weight or miscarriage. It’s the equivalent of three mugs of instant coffee, three cups of brewed coffee or six cups of tea. Also Limit caffeine containing cola and energy drinks like Red Bull, Kratingdaeng.

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