Worth the Weight: Weight Management Tips for Expecting Moms

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By Darline Turner-Lee

I’ve been working with women for over 10 years and exclusively with pregnant women for the past 7 years. I love working with pregnant women, especially first time moms. Their excitement is so apparent it’s nearly palpable. It’s such an honor and a pleasure to be allowed to share their pregnancy journeys. Pregnancy is a highly teachable time and I always do my best to encourage a woman’s healthy habits while gently suggesting alternatives for not so healthy habits.

When it comes to weight management during pregnancy and weight loss thereafter there is admittedly a lot of information available. I always advise my clients to attempt nutrition and weight management in “chewable nuggets” (yes, the pun is intended!). Choosing to eat healthily and to engage in an active lifestyle will serve them well not only as they try to manage their weight during pregnancy, but also as they try to regain their figures post partum.

Prenatal Health and Nutrition

First and foremost, a pregnant woman is not eating for two. While it is true that a woman’s body is doing the most miraculous thing in creating a whole other being during pregnancy, according to The American Dietetic Association, a pregnant woman only needs approximately 300 additional calories a day to have a healthy baby. This is equal to:

2 cups (16 oz) of 1% milk or two oz of lean meat, chicken or fish.
A small sandwich of 2 slices of whole grain bread, 2 ounces of tuna or turkey with 1 teaspoon of reduced fat mayonnaise.
1 cup (8 oz) of vanilla non-fat yogurt mixed with ½ cup of fresh fruit and topped with 1 oz of crunchy cereal.
1 cup of skim or 1% low fat milk, 1 slice of whole wheat toast topped with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of raisins.

When it comes to nutrition during pregnancy, I think Kathryn Flynn, BEd, owner and founder of a website called Fertile Foods (www.fertilefoods.com) said it best:

Eat small frequent meals and snacks throughout the day to stabilize energy levels.
Eat a colorful, organic diet of predominantly of fruits and vegetables with whole grains and hormone free proteins.
Combine a lean protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy fat at every meal and snack. The complex carbohydrate, such as fruit or vegetables combined with lean protein (such as nuts, lean meats, beans or tofu) and healthy fat will give energy as well as provide bulk so that you feel full faster. These foods also require more energy for your body to break down so you have a continuous release of energy over a longer period of time, decreasing cravings and snacking.
Avoid simple white carbohydrates and sugars that have little nutritional value.
Indulge in decadent healthful treats from time to time to avoid feeling restricted, but don’t make them a staple.

If a woman is having an uncomplicated pregnancy and has her obstetrician or midwife’s consent, it is not only safe but highly recommended that she exercise throughout her pregnancy. Exercise combined with a healthy diet will help a woman to steadily gain weight during pregnancy without excessive weight gain. Each exercise session should be started with a 10-15 minute warm up and ended with 10-15 minutes of cool down and stretching to avoid injuries.

It is safe for pregnant women to engage in low impact, moderate intensity exercise such as walking, prenatal aerobics classes or swimming. Pregnant women should also strength train throughout their pregnancies to ensure preservation of lean muscle and to maintain muscle tone. Exercise sessions should last from 30-60 minutes 3-5 times a week.


Kathryn Flynn, BEd. Fertile Foods. www.fertilefoods.com

The American Dietetic Association. www.eatright.org

*”Nutrition Column An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond”

by Kristen S. Montgomery, PhD, RN. Journal of Perinatal Education. 2002 Summer; 11(3): 40–42.

Posted by hahmom   @   1 January 2010 0 comments

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