Perhaps the number one complaint of women trying to watch their weight during pregnancy is that they are hungry all the time. True, pregnancy does result in an increased metabolic demand on the body, which can cause you to be hungry. Many women also experience a number of cravings during pregnancy, which can make healthy eating challenging.
The first thing to remember is that the idea that you should eat for two is wrong. You only need an additional 300 calories per day, and generally you don’t need these calories until you are well on your way to the second and third trimesters.
So what can you do to help manage your weight and stick to a healthy diet?
Remember that during pregnancy it is vital that you do not cut back on your caloric intake. This has the potential to rob your baby of essential nutrients that are necessary for his/her growth and development. Here are some tips to help you stick to a healthy diet throughout your pregnancy:
Avoid skipping meals. If you have a habit of skipping breakfast, you’ll find that you are not only more fatigued but ravenous during your pregnancy, which will result in overeating. Be sure that you eat each meal every day.
Try eating several mini meals throughout the ay. This will not only help you feel fuller longer, it will help minimize the nausea often experienced during the first trimester.
Satisfy your cravings with nutritious snacks. Have a variety of healthy things to snack on readily available so you avoid overindulging in foods that are too decadent. If you are craving something sweet, consider having some mini chocolates near by or opt for a cup of hot chocolate. Both are far better for you than an entire candy bar or piece of cake.
Exercise during your pregnancy. The act of exercising in and of itself will be plenty to motivate you to stick to a healthy diet. You’ll feel better about yourself and find that you have more energy throughout the day.
Avoid high calorie beverages. Soda pop (which isn’t good for you anyway, particularly during pregnancy), juices and other flavored drinks often contain a good 100-300 calories per serving. Stick to water or flavored water during your pregnancy.
Drink lots of water. You may think you are hungry when in fact you are actually thirsty at many points during your pregnancy. In fact, the brains hunger and thirst centers often get mixed up, so people often feel hungry when they are in fact dehydrated. The better hydrated you are, the les likely you are to overeat.
Beverley Brooke, author of “Ensure A Healthy Pregnancy For You And Your Baby And Lose Weight After Pregnancy”
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD