Pregnancy - is this the free pass to food every woman has dreamed of? Is ‘eating for two’ outdated or does this aphorism bear some truth?
Let’s find out.
Research has shown that a nutritious diet filled with wholefoods and healthy scrumptious recipes bares the best outcome for both baby and mother. Research also suggests that restricting calorie intake during pregnancy is not recommended. Should the mother present as overweight or obese, she will be placed under the care of the practitioner during the gestational period. During this time, her calorie intake will be watched more closely.
Extensive research has been done on whether what the mother eats during her pregnancy affects the long term outcome of the health of the baby. Research shows that in fact the mother’s diet does affect the long term health of the baby. This is through a process called epigenetic change where the baby’s DNA is altered in the womb. If the mother’s diet is poor in pregnancy, the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes later on in the child’s life, is increased.
On average, the amount of weight that the mother will put on, which includes not only the foetus, but also the placenta, the fluid around the baby, the increase in fluid circulating around the body, and the fat should be between 8 and 14 kilograms.
Whilst a calorie-controlled diet is not recommended, a nutritionally dense diet is recommended. The advice of extensive research and studies is to be health conscious and to stay active. Pregnancy yoga, gentle swimming and stretching are the recommended forms of exercise during pregnancy.
In conclusion, a free food pass is regrettably not handed out during pregnancy. Eating for two is also not an option as this might increase the risk of health issues further on in the child’s life. It is recommended, however, to increase nutritionally dense and wholefoods and to decrease processed food. Staying active during pregnancy is also recommended.