By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
Christina Applegate recently admitted to occasionally stuffing her face during her pregnancy (cupcakes and fried cheese!). "I crave food! I don't care what it is!" she said on "Lopez Tonight" back in August.
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According to new research, you might not want to follow her lead. One study found that pregnant women who gain too much weight while pregnant have bigger babies that are more likely to be overweight later in life.
And a separate study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who gain more weight than is recommended are at a 50 percent increased risk of developing gestational diabetes. So much for using those nine months as an excuse to pig out!
Registered dietician Mary Hartley, director of nutrition for Calorie Count, suggests following these rules:
1. Factor in your pre-preggers weight
You should gain the right amount of weight for your body type, according to Hartley. Use this as a guideline to determine your goals based on your pre-preggers weight:
Don't know your BMI? Calculate it here!
-Underweight (BMI less than 20): 28 to 40 pounds
-Normal weight (BMI 20-25): 25 to 35 pounds
-Overweight: (BMI 26 to 29): 15 to 25 pounds
-Obese (BMI greater than 29): 13 pound max (With one in five pregnant women being obese, an ongoing study is looking at whether they should be advised to gain no weight at all. Read about it here.)
2. Take into account how far along you are
If your pre-pregnancy weight was normal, you should only gain 3 to 5 pounds during the first trimester. If you were underweight, try to gain a bit more (5 to 6 pounds). If you are overweight, it's great to just maintain where you are. After that, you are ideally gaining no more than 2 pounds a week.
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3. Count calories
Talk to your doctor to find out what your ideal caloric intake was at the moment you became pregnant (this number will take into account height, age, weight and activity level). Add 300 to that number and you have your target pregnancy calorie count. For the average woman, it's generally around 2,300 total calories.
4. Eat these key foods
During the first trimester, it's especially important to have a diet rich in vitamins and minerals to help the fetus develop normally. Sure, you're allowed 300 extra calories, but they need to be quality calories, "The idea of eating for two meaning 'bring on the hot fudge sundae' is a big no-no," says Hartley. "You don't have room for that." Instead, fill the bonus calories with foods rich in calcium, protein and folic acid. Lentils, leafy greens, orange juice and healthy, fortified cereals are all great choices.
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How about alcohol?
Well, a new study out of the UK found that children of women who drank "lightly" (up to one to two drinks a week) throughout their pregnancy didn't do any worse on cognitive tests compared to kids whose mothers didn't drink at all. However, children of mothers who gulped more than one or two drinks a week had lower scores, and major health organizations still recommend abstaining from booze during pregnancy.
Anyone struggle with their weight during pregnancy? Any tips for maintaining a healthful diet that satisfies a body that's craving, well, everything?
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