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Pregnancy: When to Start Eating for Two

By HERWriter
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Pregnancy related image Photo: Getty Images

One of the first signs of being pregnant is the nausea and tiredness as well as weird eating habits and cravings. Many of my clients have confessed to an insatiable sweet tooth, while others have struggled to keep anything down first thing in the morning. Pregnancy changes your body with hormonal changes rapidly happening, causing you to feel a variety of different physical and emotional triggers. Weight gain during pregnancy is normal and inevitable in fact the American Pregnancy Association says, “The extra weight you gain during pregnancy provides nourishment to your developing baby and is also stored for breastfeeding your baby after delivery.”

The recommendation for a healthy weight gain during this time is to consume about 300 extra calories a day. The amount of weight you gain recommended by the American Pregnancy Association depends on your pregnancy starting weight.

They recommend:

25-30 pounds if you were a healthy weight before pregnancy
28-40 pounds if you were underweight before pregnancy
15-25 pounds if you were overweight before pregnancy
11-20 pounds if you were obese before pregnancy

The normal weight gain per trimester from the association is such, that “an average weight woman can expect a 1-4.5 pound weight gain during the first trimester, approximately a 1-2 pound weight gain per week during the second trimester and a 1-2 pound per week weight gain in the third trimester.”

For the most part you want to make sure your calories are all quality calories and you’re getting enough vitamins and nutrients. You should pay particular attention to your protein intake, make sure you’re taking a prenatal vitamin as well any additional supplements your doctor recommends for your specific needs. As a certified prenatal exercise trainer, I know that exercise is key in helping to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight. Listen to your doctor on her recommendations for your activity level.

You also want to be careful not to gain too much weight during pregnancy and limit your junk food intake or foods that have no nutritional value. You do not want to use this time to eat everything in sight. The American Pregnancy Association says that many problems can arise if you put on too much weight, such as backaches, leg pain and varicose veins, as well as other more severe conditions.

According to Dr. Gerald F. Joseph, Jr., ACOG Immediate Past President, “Excess weight gain during pregnancy increases the risk of conditions such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and gestational diabetes, especially in women who are overweight or obese at the start of pregnancy. It can also raise the risk of cesarean delivery.”

Online References:

“Eating for Two When Over/Under Weight – AmericanPregnancy.org.” American Pregnancy Association. Web. 11 Aug. 2011.

“Weight Gain During Pregnancy – Pause.acog.org.” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Web. 11 Aug. 2011.

Reviewed August 12, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith

Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training. Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.

Add a Comment1 Comments

Healthy eating is critical before, during and after pregnancy. This article is great because it provides women with the essential basics for proper nutrition during pregnancy. Women need to prepare their bodies prior to pregnancy by taking high quality supplements, eating organic fruits, vegetables and proteins, and exercising regularly. Doing so also during and after pregnancy enhances the overall wellbeing of the mother and child. The title of this article also uses the phrase "eating for two" which some women use as an opportunity to overeat. However, the article clearly defines the range of calories that should be consumed and pounds gained during pregnancy.

August 14, 2011 - 7:29pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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