Secrets to healthy weight gain during pregnancy

How much weight gain is considered to be healthy during pregnancy? How do you know if you are on track? Adding the right number of pounds can feel like a strategy game. There is the risk of putting on too much weight while trying to nourish your body and satisfy those hunger cravings. It is just as easy to gain too little, dealing with morning sickness and all the pressure to monitor your weight correctly during pregnancy. The secret to healthy weight gain is to balance nutrition and exercise, catering your diet and activity levels to your individual needs.

Customize your target

First, determine your needs. Talk to your doctor about how much weight gain is right for you depending on your body type and fitness level. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends increasing your weight by 28 to 40 pounds if you were underweight at the beginning of pregnancy. At a normal starting weight, 25 to 35 pounds is appropriate, while women who start out being overweight should try to add only 15 to 25 pounds during the course of the pregnancy. Most of the increase in weight should take place in the second and third trimester, at the rate of about one to two pounds a week.

Nourishing

Make everything that you put into your body count; with high nutritional needs for baby and mother, there is not a lot of room for junk food or high-calorie meals . Eat plenty of low-fat dairy products and green leafy vegetables for calcium and magnesium. Healthy protein sources like salmon, nuts, and legumes are packed with important nutrients like vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron. Fill your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables for nutrient-dense, low-calorie meals. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth are great food choices for the B vitamins, amino acids, and fiber. A green salad topped with boiled eggs, yogurt with berries and walnuts, and salmon and peppers served over brown rice are all healthy meal options during pregnancy. Eating a nourishing diet will help with healthy weight gain, but it will also keep your energy levels up so you can stay active throughout your pregnancy.

Toning

Exercise is the other piece of the healthy pregnancy weight puzzle. With regular physical activity you can enjoy plenty of nutritious foods to nourish you and your baby while also staying within your target range. Talk to your doctor about what exercise program is right for you. If you are new to working out, it may be important to start with mild activities. Pregnant women who were already very fit can usually continue a lot of the same activities that were enjoyed pre-pregnancy. Simple walking and swimming are excellent prenatal exercises. To spend time with other pregnant women and to learn safe exercises to do at home, try joining a prenatal yoga or Pilates class.

What is perfect for one woman may not be ideal for another. Determine what is right for you with your doctor and then enjoy a nutritious diet and regular exercise. That is the secret to healthy pregnancy weight gain.

Photo: Flickr