Step away from the cookie. Don’t ask your husband to go to the supermarket and pick up those pickles. Say no to the greasy hamburger at 2am. Have pregnancy cravings hit you yet? Whether or not odd food cravings during pregnancy are a myth, keep in mind that having another person growing inside you is not a free pass to eat whatever you want. When faced with a buffet of food, don’t go pulling out the pregnancy card! Although it is normal to throw on some weight during your pregnancy (you do have another mouth to feed, for goodness sake!), you should be being more careful about what you put in your mouth (and how much of it) when you are pregnant–for a couple of different reasons. First off, all the food you eat is also the baby’s food, so you want it to be healthy and nutritious (not doughnut after doughnut). Weight gain beyond that which is healthy during pregnancy can also add stress to your already exhausted back (your spine is in charge of supporting your increasingly round tummy!), increasing your odds of sciatic nerve irritation. Since you do not want your pregnancy pounds to be the weight that broke the camel’s back, think about if inhaling that ice cream every night is really worth the risk of sciatica pain. Trust me on this one: put down the cookie, and don’t find out.
Sciatica and Food: Resist those Pregnancy Cravings!
Alright, before this scares you into thinking all you can eat during your pregnancy is carrots and celery (occasionally with some ranch dipping sauce, if you want to splurge a little), let’s set a few things straight. You do need to up your food intake when you are pregnant, no doubt about it. But you do not need to eat for two. So just be careful about what you eat and how many pounds you put on. Indulging in too many of those late-night food fantasies may cause you to tip the scale more than you intended.
What is Normal Weight Gain?
During your pregnancy, you want to keep checking in with your scale to make sure you are:
- gaining enough weight, and
- aren’t putting on too many pounds.
Let’s take a look at the recommended number of pounds pregnant women put on according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM):
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines
How much extra weight you should gain during pregnancy depends largely on your pre-conception weight:
Healthy Pre-Baby Weight: Gaining between 25 and 35 pounds during your pregnancy is normal. In the first trimester, it is healthy to put on 1 to 5 pounds. After that, 1 pound per week is the way to go, ensuring your baby’s grows at a healthy rate.
Underweight Pre-Baby: You will want to gain 28 to 40 pounds.
Overweight Pre-Baby: Gaining 15 to 25 pounds is ideal.
Obese Pre-Baby: 11 to 20 pounds is how much weight you want to gain.
The amount of weight you should put on changes a bit if you are expecting twins! Take a look:
Healthy Pre-Baby Weight: Gaining between 37 to 54 pounds during your pregnancy is normal.
Overweight Pre-Baby: Gaining 31 to 50 pounds is ideal.
Obese Pre-Baby: 25 to 42 pounds is how much weight you want to gain.
When planning your pregnancy meals, just don’t overthink it. Just as weight gain can take a toll on your pregnancy (hello, sciatica pain!), so can a low gain or weight loss. Fragile bones and sciatica don’t mix well either. So, it is all about just making the right choices. You can still indulge in food while being healthy. No need to go too crazy obsessing about food!