It can be hard to tell what’s normal when there are so many pregnancy weight myths around. We bring you the facts. By Georgina Guedes
For many women, keeping the kilos off during pregnancy is a priority. For others, pregnancy is a welcome excuse to relax about calories and inches. Whatever category you fall into, pregnancy weight myths abound.
5 common pregnancy weight myths busted
“I am eating for two.”
While most pregnant women have an increased appetite, they still need to watch what they eat. Overeating while pregnant can cause excessive weight gain, which increases the risk of high blood pressure or diabetes, which isn’t healthy for you or your baby. As a general rule, women don’t need any extra calories in the first trimester, an extra 340 calories per day in the second trimester and an increase of 450 calories per day in the third.
“I need what I crave.”
Some medical practitioners believed that a woman’s pregnancy cravings were linked to what nutrients the baby was in need of. However, as modern diets generally provide just about everything that you need to grow a baby and stay healthy yourself, this notion has been largely disregarded.
It’s also telling that the most common cravings are for sweet things, like ice-cream and chocolate, which have little or no nutritional value for the mother or the developing baby.
“I’ve hardly gained any weight at all – I must be having a boy.”
There’s an old wives’ tale that says if your only weight gain is your bump itself, you’re carrying a boy, while if you expand everywhere else, from your bum to your thighs to even your nose, chances are you’re having a girl. In fact, because boy babies have a slightly higher metabolic rate than girl babies, their needs can be more and they may cause women to gain weight.
However, the margin of difference is very slight, and it’s more likely that the way that you gain weight during your pregnancy has to do with genetic factors, how many pregnancies you’ve had, and how much you’ve been eating.
“It will all melt off when I breastfeed.”
Breast may be best, but not necessarily for weight loss. Many mothers believe that the extra weight they are carrying will be converted into milk for their babies, but this is not always the case. Just like when you’re pregnant, when you’re producing milk to feed your growing baby, your body will demand extra calories – and it’s a bad idea to try to restrict the amount you eat as a breastfeeding mother when you need all your reserves.
Again, the way that your body responds to breastfeeding probably has a lot to do with genetics, what you eat and how much you are able to exercise – and the mothers who bounce back the easiest are those who were in good shape before they fell pregnant.
“I have to quit my workout routine because I’m pregnant.”
Many women have heard that they will need to give up their high-octane exercise routines because they are pregnant. In fact, as long as there are no complications and you get the go-ahead from your doctor, you can probably continue to exercise at the same pace as you did prior to your pregnancy. And if you weren’t fit when you fell pregnant, there’s no reason that you can’t start a moderate routine during your pregnancy – like walking, swimming or a beginner’s preggie yoga class.
Exercise has enormous benefits for you and your growing baby, so don’t lose out on them because of a myth.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.