The recommended weight gain depends on the Body Mass Index (BMI) before pregnancy. BMI is a calculation based upon height and weight. If you don’t know your BMI, there are many websites that have a calculator to do it for you.
The recommended weight gain during pregnancy is as follows:
|BMI||Weight Gain in Pounds|
|< 20||25 – 40|
|20 – 26||25 – 35|
|26 – 29||15 – 25|
|> 29||11 – 20|
Pregnant women should to eat 3 nutritious meals per day and an evening snack for a total calorie intake of 2100-2400. This is about 300 added calories. Intake of elemental iron should be 30 mg/day and folic acid should be 0.4mg/day. These supplements are often present in prenatal vitamins.
Guidelines regarding daily diet are:
- 75-80 grams of protein (3-4 servings)
- 325 grams of carbohydrates (6-11 servings)
- 73-83 grams of fat (4 servings)
- 2 vitamin C rich servings
- Eat lean meat and avoid fried foods
- Avoid empty calories like soda, chips, and desserts
- Drink 8 or more glasses of water
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are many. Exercise helps reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling. It may help prevent and/or treat gestational diabetes. Vigorous activity also increases energy and improves mood. A safe exercise (even for beginners) is walking, swimming, aerobics and cycling. Avoid downhill skiing, contact sports and scuba diving.
Whichever exercise you choose, guidelines are:
- Heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute.
- Exercise 30 minutes at least 3 times per week.
- Avoid deep flexion and extension.
- Stay hydrated and don’t exercise in extremely hot weather.
- Hormone changes during pregnancy can cause joints to be lax, so wear shoes that support the ankle and arch.