Can I diet during pregnancy?

Damla Arslan

In order for a healthy baby to be born, adequate and balanced nutrition of the mother during pregnancy is important to ensure fetal development. Pregnancy is one of the most important periods of nutrition in human life. Even with the public saying, “You are carrying a child so eat for two”, we understand how important it is to be fed during pregnancy. So, can someone a diet during pregnancy? What should be the weight gain during pregnancy? What should be the need for energy and nutrients during pregnancy? I have dealt with this topic for curious and expectant mothers this week. 🙂

Should I go on a Slimming Diet During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy consists of 3 periods. These periods are called trimesters. The first trimester covers the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. The second trimester covers 14 and 26 weeks of pregnancy. The third trimester is the 27th to 40th weeks of pregnancy. Studies show that the maximum weight gain is in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. So while you do not gain weight for the first 3 months, after 3 months you will notice that you have gained more weight. During the first trimester of pregnancy, it is safe for the mother and the baby to diet if energy and nutrients are met. It is even recommended that expectant mothers whose body weight is higher than their height should lose weight under the supervision of an expert so that the mother does not develop complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (high blood pressure). However, with the growing energy and nutrient requirements of the baby, mothers should not go on a slimming diet during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

How Much Should I Gain Weight During Pregnancy?

The necessary weight gain during pregnancy is related to the body mass index (BMI) of the expectant mother at the beginning of pregnancy. Body mass index is calculated as the ratio of body weight to the square of the height (meters). (BMI = kg / m²) Weight gain of underweight mothers with a BMI of less than 20 should not fall below 1 pounds per week during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. In this case, the average weight gain of the mother during pregnancy should be 39 pounds. On the other hand, overweight mothers with a BMI above 26 should have a weekly weight gain of 0,5 pounds. In other words, the weight gain of overweight mothers during pregnancy should be 15 pounds on average. Excessive slimness or overweight may adversely affect the health of the infant and the mother while posing a risk for pregnancy and childbirth. From this point of view, it is ideal for normal weight mothers whose BMI is between 20-26 to gain 22-26 pounds during pregnancy. As a result of this weight gain, a baby weighing 7 pounds can be born. Pregnant woman who has a normal weight is expected to gain 1 pound per month in the first 3 months and 3-5 pounds per month as of the 4th month.

How Much Should Energy Intake Be During Pregnancy?

Due to the pregnant woman’s own level of vital and physical activity, the energy required for reproductive growth, reproduction of placenta and tissues required during pregnancy, increased active tissues, increased cardiovascular and respiratory occupation, it is required to take enough energy to meet the level of basal metabolism and increased energy consumption. The increase in mean basal metabolic rate was calculated as 5% in the first trimester, 10% in the second trimester and 25% in the third trimester. Meeting the nutrients required by this increase is essential for the normal development of the fetus as well as for the mother’s own health.

How much energy and nutrients do I need during pregnancy?

The growth and development of the fetus during pregnancy occurs through the placenta to the fetus when the mother receives daily nutrients. The fetus supplies the necessary energy and nutrients from the mother’s stores. Especially after the 20th week of pregnancy, the needs of the baby increase with the development. Therefore, after this period, 300 kcal daily should be given in addition to the pregrant woman. In the second trimester, the mother begins to accumulate fat and approximately 8 pounds of fat forms. This store is a natural event to meet the increasing energy requirement during the lactation period and to preserve the metabolism. In pregnant women, 15% of daily energy should be obtained from proteins, 25-30% from fats and 60-65% from complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are high quality carbohydrates with high fiber content, so you should avoid consumption of table sugar and similar foods called glucide, and instead of these nutrients, which are empty energy sources, you should provide whole wheat products, pasta, rice, bulgur, legumes, fruits and vegetables. You should not limit carbohydrate intake because the baby’s brain development is directly related to glycogen stores and neurotransmitter synthesis (substances in the nerve cell) and the main source of these stores is carbohydrates.

Dear mothers and expectant mothers, my advice to you is that you should not reduce your meal for the fear of gaining weight until the birth. As long as you have enough and balanced nutrition, you can give birth to healthy babies and you can lose your weight in a very short time after birth with a healthy and balanced nutrition. You should also remember that by obsessing with weight and underfeeding you actually prevent your baby from developing. Everything is in your hands, the important thing is to protect yourself and your baby’s health during the pregnancy and adopt it as your primary goal.

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