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Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines Explained

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How can I control my cravings?

Avoid using your pregnancy as a reason to overeat or to choose low-nutrient, high-fat foods over more nutritious fare.

Giving in too often to pregnancy cravings for high-fat, calorie-laden foods, such as bacon double cheeseburgers and brownie sundaes, can lead to unnecessary weight gain.

And it may program your child to prefer unhealthier food choices. A 2007 study in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that women who regularly feast on so-called junk food during pregnancy may have children with a propensity for becoming overweight later in life because they prefer the taste of foods rich in sugar, fat, and calories.

A salt-laden diet won't pack on fat, but may cause you to retain fluid, which will show up on the scale as extra weight. Excess fluid may cause discomfort and aggravate high blood pressure.

To control cravings for any food, prevent yourself from getting too hungry. Eat meals and snacks on a regular basis during the day and be sure to combine a source of protein, such as hard-cooked eggs and low-fat yogurt, with complex carbohydrates, including whole-grain breads and cereals. That's not to say your diet must be treat-free. Even the healthiest pregnancy eating plan can include moderate portions of the foods you crave, but not every day.

Why is it important to have a healthy weight before I get pregnant?

According to the IOM, the ideal situation is conceiving at a healthy weight, and gaining the right number of pounds for the subsequent nine months. Starting pregnancy at a healthy weight provides a baby with better odds of developing normally and minimizes complications, including high blood pressure and cesarean delivery, in mom.

Once you're pregnant, the horse is out of the barn, as far as your body weight goes. However, it's never too early to plan for the next pregnancy. There's no need to rush, but make an effort to return to your prepregnancy weight, or a healthy weight, within a year of delivering your baby. 

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Reviewed on July 20, 2014
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