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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) ON WEIGHT AND PREGNANCY
How much weight gain is normal during pregnancy?
- According to your body mass index (BMI):
- BMI for less than normal weight (18.5): gain 13-18 kg.
- BMI for normal weight (25 – 29.9): gain 7-11 kg.
- BMI for obesity (more than 30): gain 5.9 kg.
Weight is generally divided as follows:
- Fetus 3.5 kg
- Amniotic Fluid (fluid around fetus) 0.9 kg
- Placenta 0.7 kg
- Uterus 0.9 kg
- Blood amount increase 1.1 kg
- Other fluid increase 1.5 kg
- Breast growth 1.1 kg
- Food storage (fat, protein) 3.1 kg
Which month/trimester is highest in weight gain? The last trimester of pregnancy is difficult to control and weight gain is at its highest.
Which eating habits cause weight gain after birth? The most important factors for gaining or maintaining weight after birth are some traditional habits like eating halva, drinking full-fat milk and yogurt in high quantities, honey, dates, and traditional fatty dishes that are assumed to be good for the mother and baby’s health to increase lactation. The vast majority of these habits are wrong because all mothers needs is healthy plant based fats, calcium from low-fat dairy products, and vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables to have a healthy and balanced diet that will induce lactation without compromising the mother’s weight or the baby’s nutrition.
What are the most important vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy?
Folic acid: is a component of vitamin B and is very important to protect against birth defects in the brain and spinal cord commonly known as neural tube defects.
Calcium: very important mineral for the baby’s growth of bones and teeth. If a pregnant woman does consume a sufficient amount of calcium, the body will start using the mothers stored calcium to meet the needs of the fetus.
Pregnant women age 19 and over need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.
Pregnant teens ages 14-18 years old, need 1300 milligrams daily
- – Iron: Pregnant women need 27 milligrams daily. That is twice the amount needed for regular non-pregnant women. For better iron absorption, you should eat foods high in vitamin C combination with high iron foods. I.e: orange juice with whole grain iron fortified cereals.
- – Protein: Pregnant women need higher amounts of protein in their diet. Protein is integral to building a baby’s organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain.
What are the foods that pregnant and breastfeeding women should focus on?
All foods that are high in vitamins and minerals previously mentioned, such as:
- Dairy products, especially low-fat yogurt or skimmed milk which contains higher amounts of calcium and protein than normal milk.
- Green leafy vegetables (high in folic acid)
- Fruit and Vegetables (especially in the second and third trimester of pregnancy)
- Whole grains
- Fish (I.e.: salmon) not including high mercury fish such as sword fish, shark, and mackerel.
How do I prevent fluid retention?
- Drink plenty of water to reduce fluid retention.
- Stay away from caffeinated foods.
- Avoid eating foods that contain a high concentration of potassium, such as bananas.
- Limit the amount of sodium (salt) to cook with your food.
What about sports?
Exercising daily for half an hour or an hour during pregnancy does harm you or your child, and perhaps even help to prevent complications, such as pre-eclampsia and other problems. Sports also help to maintain a healthy weight and better sleep.
The best kinds of sports: brisk walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, as well as any activity that you’re doing in your everyday life, such as climbing stairs, cleaning, and walking. You should avoid any high impact or high contact sports that may cause injury, such as horseback riding, scuba diving, boxing …etc.
Can I follow a nutritious weight loss program during pregnancy or after? Certainly, you can follow a healthy nutritious program –according to your BMI- that is integrated with the physical and hormonal changes that occurs during pregnancy without affecting the health of the fetus.
Can I cook with fat when I’m pregnant? Yes, because the body needs fat for cellular growth and repair. However, it’s important to focus on plant based fat sources in your cooking such as oils, seeds, and nuts.
Does prior weight gain or obesity affect the health of your pregnancy?
Yes, weight gain or obesity affect the health of the pregnancy since raise the possibility of complications such gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, premature birth, Caesarean section, or the birth of an overweight or obese baby.
Is it normal to have an increased appetite during pregnancy? Yes. Many women have an increased appetite during pregnancy, and on the opposite end, some women have a reduced appetite. It’s not a problem or concern as long as you are eating foods according to a healthy and balanced diet.
What about the idea of “eating for two”?
This is a common cultural myth that is filled with mistakes. Your body becomes more efficient during pregnancy, and thus absorbs more nutrients. Although pregnancy increases the body’s caloric needs (300 calories per day increase during pregnancy) you can easily add 300 calories with fresh pieces of avocado, fruits, a handful of low-sodium nuts and not increase in your habit to overeat all foods in general regardless of their nutritious benefits because you’re “eating for two”. When you’re hungry, you can have whole grain brown toast with some low fat cheese, a salad with a olive oil vinaigrette, a few tablespoons of quinoa, and many other healthy choices.
I feel tired all the time with a severely reduced appetite. I’m worried about the baby’s health, what’s the solution? Do not worry. Nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy is very common and is usually a temporary condition. Try to get plenty of fresh air, drink fluids between meals and not with them, eating several small meals a day, and sit for at least 30 minutes after eating.
When nausea reduces, try to compensate for your child by eating high-value nutritious meals containing protein, healthy carbohydrates such as rice, a chicken salad, and/or yogurt with fruit. To reduce nausea, try eating a piece of toast, crackers, or biscotti (shaboora).
I’m gaining weight so fast, what do I do?
- Eat three small meals and three snacks a day at 2 or 3 hour intervals.
- Limit sugars and sweets and foods high in fat (butter, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressings)
- Choose lean protein and low-fat or skimmed dairy products.
- Eliminate oil with cooking spray for frying or try replacing any fried foods with baked alternatives.
- Walk half an hour a day at least.
- Make sure to drink 2 – 3 liters of water daily.
What are the causes of hair loss while breastfeeding?
And how can I control it with food?
Post birth hair loss is normal due to hormonal changes that occur in the mother’s body.
- Focus on fruits and green leafy vegetables and vegetable fats, nuts and whole grains, which help you feel full longer.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free protein sources.
- Eat six small meals and commit to specific meal times.
- Avoid fast foods and eating outside the home.
- Choose a healthy nutritious program and avoid fad diets that make you drop weight quickly and gain it back just as quick.
- Physical activity in your daily routine restores blood circulation and thus strengthens your hair follicles.
- Continue to consume vitamins prescribed by your Doctor.
Why do some pregnant women experience improved hair health and growth?
Because pregnant women are usually more in tune with their health, more careful with taking all necessary vitamins, and are under doctors supervision. In addition, pregnant women are also aware of their diet and they usually make an effort to have the whole nutritious foods for the baby’s health. On the other hand, some women may experience hair loss after giving birth due to normal hormonal changes and/or with a focus on rapid weight loss after an unhealthy diet fad that may contribute to hair loss.