New Weight Gain Recommendations for Moms-to-Be
I thought long and hard about what my first post should be about and I think keeping up with the current news seemed appropriate. In the spirit of all things birth, here are the newest recommendations on weight gain in pregnancy.
Here is a link to an article discussing the new recommendations.
But I kind of have a problem with this. Instead of asking moms “how much weight have you gained?” maybe we should be asking “what are you eating?” instead. So often moms are told to eat healthy and balanced. We are supposed to do that anyway but especially when we are pregnant. But what does healthy and balanced mean anyway? What does a pregnant women really need? How much nutrition counseling are we getting at our prenatal appointments? Are we even talking about nutrition at prenatals or are we just stepping on the scale month after month and getting a little slap on the hand when we go above the ‘limit’? And by the way, contrary to popular belief, you cannot build a baby from the extra stores of fat on your hips.
In the U.S. we have so much access to so much processed food and fast food. We have so much junk food available to us 24/7 and well, anyone who has been pregnant knows that cravings are hard to resist. The thing is though, that when we are pregnant we need so much more than what tater tots (guilty here!) and candy bars can provide. We need more than sugary cereal for breakfast and a soda at lunch to settle our queasy stomachs. I think that it would much more productive if during prenatal visits ample time were spent on nutrition counseling rather than focusing on the scale. It’s already been proven that diet can control gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and PIH. How about preventing it? Yep, that too.
Dr. Tom Brewer is one of the leading experts on pregnancy and nutrition. The Brewer’s Diet focuses on protein, the building block of pregnancy and salt which is necessary and should not be restricted. Dr. Brewer spent 50 years dedicating his life to helping women be healthier in pregnancy, feel better in pregnancy and to have healthier babies. His research demonstrates that good nutrition can help prevent still birth, premature birth, pre-eclampsia, anemia, placental abruption, infection and miscarriage His research showed that by eating properly that many of the common problems of pregnancy can be avoided and he did this without ever worrying about weight gain. He stressed that the amount of weight you gain is not an indicator of the nutritive value of your diet.
Protein is vital to a baby’s growth. During pregnancy, protein and amino acids are needed for the placenta. Your baby’s physical growth depends greatly on protein. New tissues and organs grow by laying down and combining millions of proteins. The Brewer Diet suggests that 80-100 grams of protein a day are necessary for an expecting mom.
Concerning salt intake he says
“Salt restriction during pregnancy limits the normal expansion of the blood volume, with disastrous consequences. Depending on the degree of sodium restriction and the subsequent blood volume limitation the placenta may:
* grow slowly, or not at all,
* develop areas of dead tissue (infarcts) that cannot function,
* be unable to accomplish the transfer of nutrients to the baby,
* even begin to separate from the wall of the uterus, causing hemorrhage and cutting off the baby’s oxygen supply.”
Here is a printable copy of the diet.
Below is what the printable copy has on it:
If You Are Pregnant
Have you ever tried to watch your nutrition with the diets in popular pregnancy books? It’s downright frustrating! Dr. Brewer’s diet is simple, yet powerful. No double-counting certain foods in different categories, or complicated calculations of grams and calories. Just print this sheet and check it off daily. PLEASE print it as many times as you need to! Make copies!! Pass it on to your friends! Spread the word!!! (Sorry, this form is not interactive, the boxes are just for looks.)
Every day of the week, you and your baby should have:
Milk Servings (8 grams each) = 32 grams
Eggs (6 grams each) = 12 grams
With just 2 eggs and 4 glasses of milk you’ve already laid
a “protein foundation” for today’s excellent nutrition!
You’re halfway there! Subtotal = 44 grams
Meat/Protein (avg. 25 grams each) = 50 grams
Green Leafy Veggies (under 1 gram each) = 2 grams
Other Veggies (under 1 gram each) = 1 gram
Whole Grain Bread (2 grams each) = 6 grams
Citrus Fruit or Juice (~1 gram each) = 1 gram
Other Fruit (under 1 gram each) = 1 gram
Butter (1 gram each) = 3 grams
Protein Grand Total (if all boxes checked) = 109 grams
And don’t forget the following foods weekly:
Whole grain cereal (oatmeal, wheatena, etc.)
Yellow or orange fruits and veggies
Liver (if you like it)
A whole potato, any style.
If you were overweight before pregnancy, or have been diagnosed with diabetes (or simply don’t like potatoes ;-)), skip the potato and choose instead from the following list: large green pepper, grapefruit, lemon, lime, papaya, tomato (one piece of fruit, or one large glass of juice).
Congratulations! You’ve given your baby the best possible start in life by eating right TODAY! Simply do this every day during pregnancy, one day at a time, and you’re doing everything you can to ensure that you and your baby won’t suffer from toxemiaAs-defined-by-the-1997-Merriam-Webster-M…, low birth weight, IUGR, and a host of other nutrition-related ills. Way to go!!
So, while yes, we probably shouldn’t be gaining 75lbs in pregnancy, I think rather than setting weight restrictions on women it would be much more helpful and productive if dietary suggestions were being published instead. Everyone should do their own research and homework. I mean, who I am I to throw a diet that I believe in on my blog and expect everyone to follow it? We have to take responsibility for ourselves and our bodies and our babies so go read about it!