It is important to gain some weight during pregnancy. After all, you have a growing baby to support. However, many women gain far more weight than they actually need. Whether you are giving in to every craving or taking the opportunity to stop working out, it is easy for pregnancy weight to spiral out of control. This can set the stage for pregnancy-related health problems such as diabetes and hypertension, and it can be tough to lose the extra weight after the baby is born. Follow these tips to control your pregnancy weight and avoid gaining too much.
1. Start Healthy
Fertility acupuncture is a holistic treatment regimen that involves not only helping you to get pregnant, but also preparing your body for pregnancy. Even if you do not need fertility treatment, a preconception appointment with your acupuncturist can put you on the road to a healthy pregnancy with appropriate weight gain. Nutritional and lifestyle guidance, prenatal vitamins, and other protocols might be prescribed, depending on your individual needs. A checkup with your Western doctor is also recommended.
2. Know Your Target Weight
Pregnancy experts typically advise women to gain approximately 30 pounds during pregnancy, but this general advice does not apply to everyone. Women who begin pregnancy underweight need to gain more—up to 40 pounds total in some cases, while those who are obese may need to limit their weight gain to around 20 pounds total. Your target weight is based on your BMI (body mass index).
3. Feed Yourself and a Baby, Not Two Adults
Popular wisdom says that pregnant women are eating for two, but it is easy to take this idea too far. It is true that your baby requires calories to grow and develop, but current guidelines set the extra caloric requirement at around 345 calories per day—a far cry from the 2,000 or more calories implied by the “eating for two” line. A small extra daily meal is all that the baby requires.
4. Stay Hydrated
Pregnancy is a lot for your body to get used to, and it is easy to get dehydrated from the physical stress. You can actually experience extreme thirst as hunger, leading to overeating. Drink at least eight full glasses (64 ounces) of water every day, and add an extra glass for every hour of physical activity. Another popular rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half, and drink that many ounces of water each day. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water.
5. Keep (or Start!) Moving
Except for contact sports, women with healthy pregnancies can generally keep up their normal fitness routines. You might need to modify things a bit as you gain pregnancy weight and your center of gravity changes, but you should not need to give up your activities. Of course, it is important to keep an open dialogue with your doctor, as those with high-risk pregnancies or who develop worrisome symptoms might be given different instructions.
If you do not currently exercise, pregnancy is a great time to start, unless your doctor advises you not to. Walking is one of the best ways to manage your weight, as well as the aches and pains of later pregnancy. Start out walking for 10 minutes per day, and add another 10 minutes each month in the first trimester. Unless you have a very high-risk pregnancy, you should be able to maintain a 30 minute daily walk until you deliver.
6. Mix Healthy Foods with Cravings
Pregnancy cravings can be very strong, and there is no reason to deny them completely. However, you can turn your cravings into opportunities by mixing healthier foods with whatever you are craving. Sprinkle granola over your ice cream, or add some low-fat cheese to your salsa. This is a great way to balance your pregnancy diet when you have nausea and trouble eating regular, healthy meals.
7. Eat Often
Pregnant or not, humans tend to overeat when they start the meal very hungry. Prevent this tendency by grazing throughout the day. Focus on lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits, and try to put something small into your stomach every three hours. This will curb hunger, minimize cravings, and help you maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.
Weight gain during pregnancy is healthy and natural, but it can easily spiral out of control. Know your target weight and ideal daily caloric intake, mix healthy foods into your craving indulgences, drink lots of water, and eat often, and you will be on the road to a healthy pregnancy.
Located in Pacific Palisades, with satellite clinics in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, Thumos Health Center offers patients exceptional personalized care. If you are ready to take the first steps toward a more integrative approach to your health care, we invite you to phone 310-927-2792 to schedule an appointment at any of our Los Angeles locations. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.