MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information
PREGNANCY & WEIGHT GAIN
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PREGNANCY & WEIGHT GAIN DESCRIPTION
Weight gain during pregnancy is made up of several elements. About half comes from the baby, placenta and the amniotic fluid; about one third comes from increased weight of the uterus, extra breast weight and increased blood and tissue, and the balance of the weight is stored fat (which is necessary for energy reserves during labor).
The weight gained in pregnancy varies from one individual to another and from one pregnancy to another in the same woman. The guidelines discussed here are averages and are only meant to be guidelines. The main concern is to eat a high-quality, balanced diet with adequate calories that will ensure good health for you and the baby. If you eat well and nutritiously, the weight gain should take care of itself.
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Prenatal Vitamins
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Pregnancy Diet
MoonDragon's Nutritional Guidelines for Pregnancy
At your first prenatal visit, your height and weight will be measured and the two compared to help determine if you are starting pregnancy at about the right weight for your height and gives a good starting point to work with for the remainder of the pregnancy. At each or most of the subsequent prenatal visits, you may be weighed again and any concerns you or your midwife may have about weight gain or lack of weight gain will be discussed. Midwives are usually more relaxed about weight gain issues than other health care providers as long as the pregnancy is healthy, the mother and the baby are doing well and her nutrition is optimal with plenty of good nourishment, calories, protein, vitamins and minerals, and salt to taste. Junk and processed foods (often containing empty calories, hidden high fat and salt, and poor nutrition) should be avoided or limited.
EATING RIGHT DURING PREGNANCY IS IMPORTANT
It is not always easy to eat well during pregnancy. With the hectic schedules many families have today it may seem very hard to take the time to eat right. But, it pays to remember that what you eat affects your baby's health for life.
WHAT MAKES UP A GOOD, NUTRITIOUS, BALANCED DAILY DIET DURING PREGNANCY
4 exchanges of milk (1 cup each): whole milk, low fat, skim, buttermilk. If using soy milk, 1.5 cups per serving. One serving of cheese is approximately 1.25 ounces.
2 calcium replacements for each serving of unfortified soy: almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds brazil nuts, broccoli, molasses, wheat germ*.
6 exchanges of fish, liver, chicken, lean beef, lamb or pork, any kind of cheese. Beans, grains, nuts and seeds and vegetables may also be included in this area, but do not count an item twice. (Average exchange is 1 ounce meat or hard cheese, 1/4 cup of tuna or soft cheese, 1 cup of milk, 1 egg, 1/2 cup beans or grains, 2 to 3 ounces of nuts, and about 5 ounces of most vegetables.)
2 exchanges of fresh, dark green, leafy vegetables: broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, romaine lettuce. (Average exchange is 1/2 to 1 cup.)
5 exchanges of whole grain bread, starchy vegetables and fruits. (An average exchange is 1 slice bread, 1/2 cup cereal, pasta or rice, and 1/2 piece of fruit.)
2 exchanges Vitamin C foods: orange, grapefruit, pepper, tomato, cantaloupe, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower (Average exchange is 1 fruit or 1/2 cup.)
5 exchanges fats and oils. (1 tablespoon butter, oil or mayonnaise.)
1 exchange Vitamin A food: carrots, peaches, sweet potato or yam, cantaloupe, apricots.
Drink to thirst.
Salt foods to taste.
Liver (4 ounces) once a week.
This diet can be adapted for vegetarians, by using complementary protein at one meal. Choose to eat 2 plant proteins at the same time, such as rice and beans, or to eat some animal protein along with plant protein, such as eggs, cheese or milk.*
*Adapted diet in The Brewer Medical Diet for Normal and High Risk Pregnancy, 1983
Adapted with permission from Metabolic Toxemia of Late Pregnancy, Thomas Brewer, MD, 1982
AVERAGE WEIGHT GAIN GUIDES
A general recommendation for weight gain in pregnancy is in the range of 25 to 35 pounds (it is not unusual for women to gain more than 35 pounds, as long as her diet is nutritious and she is getting what she needs). Underweight women may need to gain more. For overweight women, pregnancy is NOT the time to try to lose weight. However, a special pregnancy diet may be recommended to keep weight gain within certain limits. If a woman is expecting twins (multiple fetuses), her nutritional requirements are going to have to be increased to support more than one growing fetus. This means more calories, more protein and other nutrients.
Weight gain should be steady throughout the pregnancy. Occasionally in the first trimester some weight loss occurs if the woman is having morning sickness or nausea. This is natural, but it needs to be watched carefully and the midwife will usually recommend some helpful hints for relieving morning sickness symptoms.
A gain of 3 to 4 pounds the first trimester is usual.
A 1 pound gain about every week during the second trimester for a total of 12 to 14 pounds.
During the third trimester, a pound a week gain continues for the seventh and eighth month, and then just 1 to 2 pounds are gained during the ninth month for a total of 9 to 10 pounds. It is important during the last month of pregnancy to eat well, rest well and take care of yourself. This is the month that the baby is maturing and putting on his/her birth weight which includes the body fat it needs for energy storage for the birth and the first few days of life until the breastmilk comes in.
With each monthly prenatal visit, the expected weight gain is usually 3 to 4 pounds over the previous visit. If the weight gain is significantly under or over that amount, further evaluation may be necessary to assess nutrition and diet, or the presence of edema (swelling in the hands, feet, and legs).
If a woman is pregnant with more than one fetus, the weight gain will be higher, but not double or triple. The midwife or health care provider will discuss a recommended amount.
WEIGHT GAIN CONCERNS
Controlling weight gain is more difficult in late pregnancy, so it is important that the mother does not gain most of the total weight during the first months. If an excess amount of weight is gained during the first or second trimester, DO NOT DIET! Your nutritional intake needs to stay balanced to supply the daily needs for the fetus. Reassess your diet and make sure you are eating properly.
A lack of weight gain in pregnancy may be due to poor nutrition or an illness in the mother-to-be. It can contribute to intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), a term used to describe infants whose weights are much lower than expected for gestational age.
When an obese woman becomes pregnant, there is somewhat higher risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension than in the average weight mother (although many plus-sized women do not have these problems during pregnancy and have very healthy pregnancies with healthy babies). It may be more difficult to determine the size of the fetus or pick up fetal heart tones during prenatal visits because of the fat layers (it may take a bit more work on the part of the midwife or health care provider, but it is possible to do a decent assessment with practice and patience), and delivery is sometimes more complicated because the fetus may be larger than average (gestational diabetic problems may cause this... but many plus-size women give birth the average size babies as well as their slimmer sisters!). In a hospital setting, cesarean deliveries are much more common with obese women, although cesarean deliveries are also complicated more by the amount of fat in the abdomen area. Regardless, obese women should NOT diet during pregnancy! The midwife will work with these large mothers to help control weight gain with a good nutritious diet plan and attempt to keep it within recommended guidelines. Good nutrition with adequate moderate exercise is much more important than weight gain!
On the average, the larger the weight gain in pregnancy, the larger the baby. However, this is not always the case and a healthy woman can gain 45 or more pounds and still have a healthy 6 to 7 pound baby and a uncomplicated labor and birth.
NOTIFY YOUR MIDWIFE OR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER
If you or a family member is pregnant and wants additional information on weight gain and nutrition. If you are pregnant and your weight gain increases significantly or does not increase at all during a 2 week period.
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Twins
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Toxemia of Pregnancy (Preeclampsia/Eclampsia)
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Pregnancy Concerns
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Morning Sickness
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Morning Sickness - Homeopathic Therapy
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Gestational Diabetes Index
MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Diabetes
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Diabetes Description & Treatment
MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Bulimia
MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Anorexia
MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Obesity
MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Stress
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Appetite Concerns
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Allergies
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Pregnancy Information & Survival Tips
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Index
MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Pregnancy Index
MoonDragon's Pediatric Information Index
MoonDragon's Parenting Information Index
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index
AROMATHERAPY: ESSENTIAL OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Allspice Leaf Oil Angelica Oil Anise Oil Baobab Oil Basil Oil Bay Laurel Oil Bay Oil Benzoin Oil Bergamot Oil Black Pepper Oil Chamomile (German) Oil Cajuput Oil Calamus Oil Camphor (White) Oil Caraway Oil Cardamom Oil Carrot Seed Oil Catnip Oil Cedarwood Oil Chamomile Oil Cinnamon Oil Citronella Oil Clary-Sage Oil Clove Oil Coriander Oil Cypress Oil Dill Oil Eucalyptus Oil Fennel Oil Fir Needle Oil Frankincense Oil Geranium Oil German Chamomile Oil Ginger Oil Grapefruit Oil Helichrysum Oil Hyssop Oil Iris-Root Oil Jasmine Oil Juniper Oil Labdanum Oil Lavender Oil Lemon-Balm Oil Lemongrass Oil Lemon Oil Lime Oil Longleaf-Pine Oil Mandarin Oil Marjoram Oil Mimosa Oil Myrrh Oil Myrtle Oil Neroli Oil Niaouli Oil Nutmeg Oil Orange Oil Oregano Oil Palmarosa Oil Patchouli Oil Peppermint Oil Peru-Balsam Oil Petitgrain Oil Pine-Long Leaf Oil Pine-Needle Oil Pine-Swiss Oil Rosemary Oil Rose Oil Rosewood Oil Sage Oil Sandalwood Oil Savory Oil Spearmint Oil Spikenard Oil Swiss-Pine Oil Tangerine Oil Tea-Tree Oil Thyme Oil Vanilla Oil Verbena Oil Vetiver Oil Violet Oil White-Camphor Oil Yarrow Oil Ylang-Ylang Oil Aromatherapy
Healing Baths For Colds
Using Essential Oils
AROMATHERAPY: HERBAL & CARRIER OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
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NUTRITION BASICS ARTICLES
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