Now I don’t know about you, but food if very important to me and I take all food-related discussions very seriously. So what are the rules regarding which foods we can and can’t eat and we’re pregnant? How much can we eat? Surely being pregnant means a free-for all reign on the fridge?? Unfortunately not. The term ‘eating-for two’ should be ignored as the general advice states we should only consume an additional 350 calories during pregnancy as part of a well-balanced and nutritional diet (unless otherwise stated by your physician). Obesity is associated with lots of problems in pregnancy and labour and as recently seen in the news this is on the rise. Basically we need to eat healthily and eat well, without overeating. That’s great. Easy to stick to.
Now I wish I could say I was a saint during my pregnancy but unfortunately…I was not. I suffered with a lot of nausea in the first twelve weeks and tried everything to help the constant and relentless ‘all day’ (not just morning) sickness. I soon discovered that the only thing that helped was eating. I felt worse when I hadn’t eaten for a few hours and felt better when I was eating. So I ate. Like all the time. I remember finishing work for the day and panicking that the 40 minute drive home would bring on a vomiting episode (being sick at the traffic lights while sitting in your car…awful) so I would buy a sandwich to eat before the drive and then usually another snack as soon as got home. As soon as I woke uo in the morning I had to eat something, anything before the sickness kicked in. This continued for the first five months before I felt my eating habits returning to normal and although the nausea subsided the extra pounds did not and I gained around three stone by the end of my pregnancy. I felt huge. And uncomfortable. Would I have rather starved myself and suffer the nausea? Of course not, now I’m not advocating extreme weight gain but I think just being sensible and eating healthily with an occasional indulgence is the way forward. Although I was eating a lot of extra food, I was mainly sticking to fruit and crackers as oppose to going crazy on the burgers and fast-food (although yes a couple of pizzas were involved). My baby weighed 8lb 11 so I know now that this was responsible for some of the extra weight! Being pregnant does not mean you are ‘eating for two’ as in double the portion size, but it’s important to watch what you are eating and this must be balanced with a high fruit and veg intake, as well as a balance of dairy and wholegrain products. Then comes the horrible bit, there are loads of foods to avoid! Now for me this hurt more than avoiding the booze! The list is long and includes all of the unpasturised cheeses like Brie and blue cheese (smelly I know but a personal favourite) as well as uncooked meats like chorizo, sushi (that one was really hard to avoid) and soft-boiled, runny eggs. All of this is for a good reason which is to avoid the risk of food poisoning and some bacteria which is found in the cheese but it still felt like the worst diet ever. But then you give birth to your beautiful baby and you can treat yourself like I did with all of the items that were avoided in pregnancy but were all added to my ‘post-pregnancy menu’, all enjoyed after the birth…before you start thinking about that baby weight ;s So eat well, listen to your body and eat a lot of the right foods, with an occasional treat. There is no point in trying to diet during your pregnancy (and this is totally unhealthy too), weight gain is inevitable, as long as you are eating the right foods all will be well!
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