I gained exactly thirty pounds during my pregnancy, eight of which were put on during the last three weeks (the baby was overdue). My appetite was huge from the second month onwards, and I didn’t hold back on bread and boxed cereal. Most of the urges to eat occurred in the middle of the night. It wasn’t unusual for my husband to find me snacking on hummous and crackers at 4:30 am while watching cheesy reality shows. Thankfully I didn’t succumb to the temptation of chocolate croissants, cookies, or other sweets, despite the steady stream of bad advice from my friends, and most surprisingly, my colleagues (nutritionists and other health care practitioners) who insisted that “this is the time to eat whatever you want”. I was eating for two, after all. It really bothered me that my trusted pals were so insistent. “You’ll lose it afterwards. You know how to,” they said. Having worked with obese women who gained their weight while pregnant and couldn’t lose it afterwards, it was truly disturbing that my own colleagues were so casually providing this negligent advice.
When you’re pregnant, it’s pretty hard to guess what your body will look like after the baby is born. I decided it was better to be safe than sorry, so while I enjoyed the occasional pecan tart or other treat, bread and cereal were temptation enough for me (and not entirely guilt-free either). Keep in mind that weight gained during the first trimester is “mommy weight” (rather than baby weight) that will probably stay with you afterwards.
Please, pregnant women everywhere, I implore you, do NOT use your pregnancy as an opportunity to eat at will. In fact, this is the most important time of your entire life to eat as optimally as you can. There is a new life growing inside of you, a life that requires not just calories, but vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fats. And you need nutrients too, especially fiber to prevent the constipation that so many pregnant women suffer from.
Pregnant women don’t need encouragement to eat. Eating is easy. Eating healthy, on the other hand, can be tough when you’re dealing with cravings.
As for those eager to dish out bad advice, you aren’t the ones who will have to deal with the post-pregnancy repercussions (not to mention the risk of gestational diabetes), so please stop!
It should go without saying, but dieting is certainly not recommended during pregnancy.