Obesity and Pregnancy–Healthy Diet

Obesity and Pregnancy – Advises for a healthy Diet

Due to the risks that obesity presents for mother and baby it is highly recommended that women with this condition follow a healthy nutritional plan before, during and after pregnancy. The best to do is to ask the health care provider or nutritionist to provide a special plan to lose weight, which is specially designed for the needs of each woman. It is important to mention that there is no need to absolutely cut all calories because this could harm the mother's health and the baby's development.

Nutritional advises

In order to have a healthy pregnancy, women should take care of eating less amount of food in several meals (between 5-6 meals- 3 main meals and 2-3 small snacks) along the whole day. Between each meal there should be maximum 3-4 hours. For the snack time, it is recommended to eat small amounts of fruits (half of an apple, pear, orange, a kiwi) or vegetables (small carrot, jicama, celery) which will nurture the body and keep it fit for the day. The main meals should be done in an equilibrated way week by week. They must include a balanced amount of low fat meat, chicken (without skin) or fish, vegetables, fruits, milk products, eggs (2-3 per week) and a half cup of low fat carbohydrates (whole wheat bread, cereals, rice, pasta, oat). Besides, cooking must be done with few spices and no vegetable oil should be used while cooking (max. 1 tablespoon olive oil daily or 2 times a week). Instead, food must be eaten roast, steamed, grilled or griddled.

Drinking 2-3 litres water or natural fruit juice (without sugar) with 2 spoons of chia seeds will provide calcium and will help the tissues to grow and regenerate during pregnancy and lactancy. Spirulina seaweed is also a good choice to mix with water because it contains proteins, minerals and essential fatty acids, which regulate the circulatory imbalances, prevents anemia and reduces the appetite. Tea and coffe are not recommended because they absorb important nutrients and water from the body. Specially after eating proteins (e.g. meat), it is not recommended to drink tea because it absorbs the iron contained in the meat. Sugar is also harmful for the body so it is recommended to replace it with a natural, calory free sweetener.

Salt must be absolutely avoided because it retains liquids and the risk of causing preeclampsia (hypertension) in the last trimester of pregnancy is very high. In the same way, sugar must be also totally avoided in all its forms e.g. cakes, sweets, desserts, mermelade, etc. Further, fried (chicken, beef, fish, veggetables) and fatty food (fat and/or salty cheese, fried peanuts/nuts, junk food) is absolutely forbidden. In the same way, alcohol and tobacco are to be absolutely avoided.

Milk products are highly recommended to cover calcium needs. About 1000 mg. daily are needed. These can be found in a glass of low fat milk, a cup of low fat yogurt and a piece (the half of your hand palm) of low fat cheese.

Beef, lentils, spinach, chard and artichoke are highly recommended to be consumed 2-3 times a week because they contain iron, which is very important during pregnancy.

The weight must be controlled once a week in the morning after waking up. During the first trimester a weight gain of 1-2 kilos is normal. After pregnancy no more than 8-9 kilos should be gained.

Consult your healthcare provider regarding the intake of crucial supplements such as folic acid or other supplements such as calcium, iron, vitamin D, etc.