It’s an age-old saying that is largely based in fiction, not fact. While you may be carrying an extra person, you are not eating for them as well. With the holidays coming up it is important to bear this in mind and practice healthy eating habits. Research has shown that overindulging can lead to gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and harmful weight gain. Gaining weight is part of pregnancy, and is also encouraged, but when it is gained rapidly, and in excess, with disregard to nutrition it can be dangerous to your body and how it is able to function.
The majority of pregnant people will experience some sort of nausea during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester. You may have an aversion to food and decrease in appetite because of it but typically the nausea subsides after the first trimester. Digestive discomfort can also be triggered if too much is in the stomach to digest comfortably, with the baby taking up some of the real estate that would usually belong to your digestive organs. Using smaller plates is a good way to maintain portion control; where there is less space to place food the likelihood of you eating beyond what is comfortable for your body decreases. Eating smaller meals throughout the day is another useful way to avoid extreme hunger that can lead to overeating while also helping with digestion and avoiding the nausea that can be triggered with eating larger meals.
Less sugar, more nutrition is the motto. Fruits are a good snack and some can double as additional hydration but you even have to watch your fruit consumption as fruit has natural sugars (same with carbs). An occasional treat is not a sin but there shouldn’t be a constant barrage of meals that are devoid of nutrients and vitamins. You have to replenish what the body is taking from you to sustain the baby, if you have nothing left in the tank for yourself you will start to feel the difference and this can lead into dangerous territory. This is important throughout the whole pregnancy and helps to set good habits for yourself into the postpartum period, where nutrition is just as important for healing and breast/chest feeding, if that’s what you choose to do. It is a cruel test of will with cravings of sugar and hamburgers (trust me I know – pizza and bacon were my cravings) but if you can be creative with your cravings and find healthier substitutes this will pay off in the long run.
If you’re doing the grocery shopping don’t buy the tempting foods; if it’s not in the house, you can’t be tempted. This may also mean changes in your eating habits as well, to support and encourage your pregnant partner during a time that may be difficult to overcome. It will also help you curb the effects of gaining “sympathy weight”, where the non-pregnant person experiences weight gain, but mostly it’s to help keep your partner happy and healthy.
If in doubt, speak to your doctor, a dietician or a nutritionist. Remember, this is not about weight, it’s about the food choices you’re making during your pregnancy. Bermuda has one of the highest rates of diabetes per capita based on our diet; the sugary drinks, carb overloading, minimal emphasis on vegetables (corn is not a vegetable, sorry) and mainly sedentary lifestyles. Start with small changes so it doesn’t feel so drastic and joyless and keep your beautiful baby and body in mind for motivation. Take care of yourself this upcoming holiday season and take charge of your food choices.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of the magazine or editing team. Please consult with your doctor before making any choices.
Reva Minors is owner and operator of Loquat Roots: Doula Services & Holistic Therapy. She is mother to two energetic children, doula, tea maker, home birth facilitator, author and entrepreneur. Visit her website www.loquatroots.com or her social media accounts @loquat.roots for more information about her and her businesses.