This is THE advice I’ve most received, and I am only 26 weeks pregnant as of writing this article. I announced my pregnancy to my relatives in week 16 and to the world at week 24! The “Eat for TWO” has taken on many forms in the numerous congratulatory messages. Most common ones being “Give in to your cravings”, “Don’t stop yourself from eating”, and “You shouldn’t calorie count while pregnant”!
I understand that the advice is meant well and is coming from people who wish only the best for me and my child. Technically, as trimesters progress, the mom requires anywhere between 120 to 500 additional calories to support the bodily functions that come with pregnancy. Now these calorie requirements differ if mom has been underweight, normal-weight, or overweight (according to BMI) before conceiving. Under no circumstances, is it advisable for mom to eat for TWO!
While this is not required, I’m habituated to tracking what I eat and now it comes naturally to me. It is the easiest method I know of having a ballpark how much I am consuming. Why is this so important to me? According to my OB-GYN, I can put on 25-35 lbs of weight. Lower or higher than this range is not recommended for the fear of having an underweight baby or an overweight baby, the health effects of both which are detrimental to the mom and the child. It’s easier for me to track the calories and then monitor my weight to let it stay in the healthy range. Luckily for me, I’ve not gone crazy with cravings. I’ve been able to eat what I want for the most time and give in to the occasional bout of crazy with a Korean stew.
It’s not safe to lift weights
This one is a bit controversial. For what I choose to hear and do, is this:
Ask my ob-gyn about their recommendations
My doctor recommended that I continue my current strength training regime if I’d been doing it consistently when I was not pregnant. Nothing new should be tried.
Dropped weights and incorporated modifications because the fatigue and belly are both real
Included stability and mobility drills that work the core and pelvic area without adding much strain.
Switched to prenatal Yoga instead of the normal routine.
I have felt more empowered being able to continue my routine and giving myself some me-time. All the time the suggestions, advises, recommendations, tests, and everything else feels like people are just concerned about the baby! My workout is a part of self-care. Something I do for myself, and it makes me feel happy.
To conclude, rely on your intuitions. If something doesn’t feel right, stop doing it and call your provider. If lifting a certain weight in squats causes pain, drop the weight, or stop the squat, or find ways to modify it to make it a workout and not a painful ordeal. A workout is supposed to help you and not worsen your health. A diet is supposed to nourish your body and create wellness, not guilt or health issues. Eat what you feel like, but know what you’re having.