‘Eating for two’ during pregnancy? Know all the perks and quirks right here
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 11, 2023
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. As a woman’s body undergoes significant changes, she is bombarded with advice from every direction, leaving her bewildered. Amidst all the well-meaning suggestions, one concept that often crops up is “eating for two.” But is there any truth to this popular belief? Let’s explore the perks and quirks of this myth.
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Eating for Two: A Misconception
The notion of eating for two sounds adorable, and it’s natural to want to nourish your growing baby. However, it’s essential to separate fact from fiction. According to the National Academy of Sciences, expectant mothers only need an extra 100 calories per day during the first trimester and an additional 300 calories per day during the second and third trimesters. Overeating and indulging in unhealthy foods can lead to unnecessary weight gain, which can have adverse effects on both the mother and the baby.
The Perils of Overeating
Overeating during pregnancy can have consequences. Excessive weight gain can increase the risk of high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Additionally, it may result in the baby being born larger than average, increasing the likelihood of heart disease and obesity later in life. It’s crucial to maintain a healthy weight throughout pregnancy by opting for smaller, nutritious meals rather than indulging in large quantities of unhealthy foods.
Nourishing Yourself and Your Baby
While the concept of “eating for two” is a myth, it doesn’t mean that expectant mothers shouldn’t pay attention to their diet. A balanced and varied diet is essential to provide the necessary nutrients for both the mother and the baby. Dr. Surabhi Siddhartha, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, recommends including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and ample water in your daily meals.
To fulfill your iron requirements, incorporate beans, raisins, apricots, and lentils into your diet. Calcium-rich foods like yogurt, milk, and leafy greens are essential for healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin A, found in carrots, eggs, and sweet potatoes, promotes healthy skin, eyesight, and bone growth. Boost your dental health with vitamin C-rich foods such as blackcurrants and strawberries. Whole-grain cereals, bananas, peas, apples, and legumes are also beneficial.
Don’t forget to include folic acid in your diet, as it reduces the risk of neural tube defects in babies. If needed, your doctor may recommend a folic acid supplement. However, it’s crucial to avoid smoking, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, junk food, oily and spicy dishes, sugar-laden treats, and canned foods. Limit your intake of sodas, juices, and carbonated beverages, and steer clear of raw eggs, fish, and meat.
The Bottom Line
While the idea of eating for two may be endearing, it’s not rooted in scientific fact. Pregnant women should focus on maintaining a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs without excessive calories. By making informed choices, expectant mothers can ensure their own well-being and the healthy development of their babies. Remember, it’s not about eating for two; it’s about eating right.