I’m Eating For Two

The following is a student blog post by Devorah Kasmin

I’m Eating For Two

“I’m eating for two”; a myth many women swear by these days. While pregnancy can tempt us to eat twice as much, your body actually becomes more efficient during pregnancy! Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can lead to severe side effects such as gestational diabetes and premature labor. The Institute of Medicine suggests no additional calories in the first trimester, 340 additional calories per day in the second trimester, and 450 additional calories per day in the third trimester. That may sound like a lot of additional calories but half of a New York Super Fudge Chunk pint of ice cream is 600 calories alone! I get it, there really is nothing like a pint of ice cream to enjoy with your feet kicked up at the end of a long day. With a balanced diet during pregnancy, small treats can be guilt-free. It must be understood, however, that nutrition can affect physiologic function all the way down to the cellular level!

I'm Eating for Two!

Randomized trials have have demonstrated that “women who changed their dietary pattern to eat as recommended by the Healthy Eating Pyramid had fewer preterm births or gestational diabetes” (Varney, p. 116). There is increasing evidence stating that a mother’s diet during pregnancy can have lifelong effects such as predispositions for some chronic diseases. In addition, contraction of foodborne illnesses can not only cause you discomfort but harm your baby. Infections such as toxoplasmosis, Listeria monocytogenes and brucellosis are caused by consuming contaminated and raw or undercooked foods. Pregnant women should AVOID consuming raw milk products, soft cheeses, smoked seafood, delicatessen meat, raw fish, undercooked eggs and raw vegetable sprouts.

This all may seem like a lot of information, and the question many people have is where do I even start? You may be surprised to find that making small changes in your diet can have monumental outcomes for you and your baby. Here are some simple steps towards a healthier pregnancy and baby: 1. choose healthy fats such as avocado, almonds or olive oil, 2. choose slowly digested carbohydrates such as brown rice or barley, 3. choose proteins sources from plant sources as much as possible such as beans, lentils and almond butter, 4. eat LOTS of fruits and veggies and 5. water is best!

Varney, H., King, T. L., Brucker, M. C., Fahey, J., Kriebs, J. M., & Gegor, C. L. (2015). Varneys midwifery. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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