Dieting While Pregnant
Plus-size pregnancies do bring with them their own set of challenges and risks, and plus-size pregnant women could be forgiven for thinking that the best way to reduce these risks is to try to lose weight. Most doctors, however, do not recommend dieting to lose weight during pregnancy, no matter what size you were before the pregnancy began. Instead, it is safer to try and monitor your weight gain during the pregnancy and prevent it from getting too high. Generally, women are told to aim for a gain of 25 to 30 pounds during pregnancy. For women who were very overweight before they conceived, this might be limited to 15 pounds. In order to achieve this, doctors will normally recommend a healthy, balanced diet, which will provide you and your baby with all the nutrients you need, combined with some light, safe exercise to build your strength and help prepare you for labor.
Remember that each plus size pregnancy is an individual case, and to get the right advice for you, you must consult your health care provider. Do not make any radical changes to your eating or exercising regime without the approval of your doctor.
What Not To Do
Do not, under any circumstances go on a quick-fix diet such as Atkins (which cuts out all carbohydrates) or any extreme diet which requires you to avoid entire food groups. You need all the food groups for a healthy pregnancy. Likewise, do not be tempted by diet pills bought over the counter or online. Many doctors question the safety of such diet pills even for women who are not pregnant. They often contain very high levels things like caffeine, which could be damaging to your pregnancy.
A Balanced Diet
If you were overweight before your pregnancy, the chances are that your diet was probably not as balanced as it could have been even before you became pregnant. This means that making your diet healthier may constitute a radical change, and you should speak your doctor before you do it. Don't put this off! It's essential - make an appointment to see your doctor today. He or she is likely to tell you that you need around 2500 calories per day (this would be 2100 for a woman who is not pregnant) and you should be getting them from the following sources:
Fruit and vegetables - you need to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
Starchy foods - bread, potatoes, pasta, rice.
Protein - lean meats, chicken, fish, beans, eggs, pulses(note: lean meats! Not burgers or fast food).
Fiber - wholegrain bread, pasta, rice, pulses, fruit and vegetables.
Dairy - milk-based foods: yogurt, hard cheeses, feta, cottage cheese, creams (make sure the products are pasteurized).
Folic acid - in addition to folic acid supplements, green vegetables, brown rice, bread and cereals are also sources of folic acid.
Iron - read meat, pulses, bread and green vegetables.
Foods To Avoid
Just as you need to make sure you get all the right foods while you are pregnant, there are certain foods you should avoid. Ask your doctor for a definitive list of what these are. Some of the foods on that list will include; soft cheese (which is not pasteurized), pate, and raw or partially cooked eggs. Among fish, you should avoid shark, swordfish and marlin and limit your consumption of tuna fish to no more than four medium-sized tins per week. This is because all these fish contain high levels of mercury which can hamper your baby's development in the womb. Pregnant women should also avoid any raw fish like sushi.