Eating for two. What does that really mean?

Woooooohooooooo! I'm pregnant and I can eat as much as I want whenever I want. Yes, I will have a second round of mashed potatoes and please pass the chocolate cake. Okay, wait. No I'm not pregnant but when I was (pregnancy number one and some of number two) this was what I did. I figured that I could eat any and everything. I'm not here to tell you what to do however I am here to shed some light on what eating for two really means.

Eating twice as much can be tempting. However eating more during pregnancy can increase your chances of gaining unnecessary weight which means it may be harder to loose the extra weight after you deliver and you can be put at risk for complications, such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes, which affect your baby. Believe it or not, if you're at a healthy weight, you don't need any extra calories during your first trimester of pregnancy. During your second trimester a little over 300 extra calories a day is sufficient and during your third trimester a little over 400 extra calories a day will be more than enough. If you are under or over weight at the beginning of your pregnancy you may need less or more.

Also if you are carrying more than one baby you will need extra calories. Your health care provider will be able to determine what an appropriate weight gain goal is for you. I was 98 pounds at the beginning of my first pregnancy, 102 pounds at the beginning of my second, and 112 at the beginning of my third. With all three of my pregnancies I gained no more than 35 pounds. It doesn't take much to get those extra calories. Eating fruits, veggies, beans, low fat dairy products and lean meats is a good way to go. Try to avoid empty calorie foods such as snack foods. Now I'm not telling you to cut out the snacks altogether. I realize that it may be difficult to do but try to limit them and eat as less of those foods as possible. There are many options out there to replace snack foods that are way more healthy and taste just as good.

On the other hand we sometimes fear gaining too much weight during pregnancy and end up consuming too few calories. Try not to deprive yourself of what you need. By doing so you deprive your baby as well. There are dietitians in place that can help you come up with a diet plan if you feel you need one but please never go without, ask for help if you need it.

I know many of us tend to eat when we are tired and stressed. This can lead to making some not so good food choices. Yes those lovely candies and cookies. Those things that give us a quick energy boost but usually in the end do us more harm than good. Pay attention to how you are feeling emotionally and make sure to get plenty of rest. Another thing you can do is try to eat three small meals a day and "snacks" in between. That means not skipping breakfast. In the beginning of many pregnancies there is nausea and vomiting for many. I suffered from this however I still would eat every two hours and drink in water. Well......... let me go back. I would skip breakfast and didn't want to drink anything at first. So I did take a trip or two to the hospital and let's just say that being dehydrated during pregnancy is for the birds, those IV's are not fun AT ALL!Mint, ginger and citrus are big helpers for nausea.

Eating for two means that you have to be twice as careful about what you do and consume. Taking care of yourself is also taking care of your baby. Figure out what works for you and then go with it. Take it one day at a time and enjoy the journey.

Tiffany Underwood

Certified Pregnancy Health Coach

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