I had a hard cold reality check during this pregnancy: Being pregnant is not a license to eat all you want because you are now "eating for two".
In reality, a pregnant woman only needs about 100-300 extra calories a day to give the growing baby all the nutrients it needs.
We don't need to double up on portions or eat ice cream all day in the name of our child's growth!
In fact, if pregnant women were to double up on anything it would be healthy whole foods- good protein sources, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of water.
How much weight gain is too much?
It all depends on the woman's pre-pregnancy weight.
If a woman is underweight pre-pregnancy, she may be given a range of 28-40 pounds to gain.
Normal weight? 25-35 pounds
Overweight? 15-20 pounds
Obese? 11-20 pounds
If you're carrying twins, these ranges are a bit higher.
Where does all this weight go?
From the article linked above from Web MD:
Fat stores for delivery and breastfeeding
|25 to 35 pounds|
Is it ever safe to lose weight while pregnant?
During my pregnancy I've read a lot of articles and books about nutrition during pregnancy.
Seems like everyone agrees that pregnancy is no time to go on a diet to lose weight or restrict calories.
However (make that a huge HOWEVER), what about women like me who have been put on special diets?
Restrictive? Not entirely- just my carb intake.
But still- cutting back on my carbohydrates has me increasing my fat and protein just to keep my calorie intake up so that baby can grow!
How having Gestational Diabetes affected my pregnancy weight gain-
According to my doctor's scale, I was 212 at the beginning of my pregnancy.
At 28 weeks, I weighed 231.
That is a gain of 19 pounds.
Because I was considered overweight pre-pregnancy, my weight gain was pushing the limits!
After starting the gestational diet, I've lost weight.
At 37 weeks I weighed in at 220 lbs.
I lost over 10lbs in almost 10 weeks! Now that's great, if I wasn't pregnant.
So of course the big concern was- Is baby growing properly?
The week before my weigh in (so 36 weeks) I had an U/S with a GD specialist to make sure baby wasn't growing too large.
(Remember? One of the risks with GD is that the baby will grow too big too fast because of the extra glucose. The biggest sign they look for is a large tummy, which is out of proportion with the rest of baby's body).
Well at 36 weeks baby weighed in at 5 lbs 15oz (round that up to 6lbs)! That translates to the 60th percentile. Out of all the babies that are 36 weeks, my baby weighs more than 60%.
Now, that doesn't cause any real concern because 50% is just an average. So of course some babies will weigh more or less than 50%.
And baby's tummy size? Right on the average mark!
Baby is growing right on track.
My OB/GYN (different from the doc that did the U/S at 36 weeks) hasn't expressed any concern over my weight loss.
He knows I'm following the GD diet and has even told me that losing weight was a good thing since I gained so much in the beginning.
But my GD doctor has expressed concern.
Every week I scan in my glucose results and my food log of everything I ate (how much, when, and how it was prepared).
One week they asked how my weight was progressing. When they found out I went from 212-231-220, they were concerned I wasn't eating enough.
I was told to eat more fruit with my snacks. Add more fatty nuts to my snacks. Bulk up on protein.
Basically eat more but do not go over my carbohydrate limit for my meals.
Now this was really frustrating for me!
WHY? I've been following their meal plan and have on my own increased my protein intake. I eat peanut butter EVERY.DAY. It's hard to change your eating habits so quickly and then have to change everything up again.
I have one doc that isn't concerned about weight loss and one that is worried I don't eat enough. I expressed my frustrations to one of the nurses at the specialty clinic and she basically apologized for the mis-communication and gave me some well deserved praise and encouragement (I'm like a puppy- all about positive reinforcement!).
She said I was doing great with keeping my numbers in check and that she understands how difficult it is to change eating habits so rapidly.
That made me feel a lot better.
Plus, she probably deals with crazy hormonal women all the time and knows just the right things to say =)
The good news about all of this?
My eating habits are lot better now and I'll probably be able to keep this up after baby arrives.
Also, since I haven't gained that much weight during pregnancy, it will be easier for me to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
I only have about 2-3 weeks left of testing my blood sugar 4 times a day, keeping a food journal, and keeping in touch with multiple doctors.
I'm ready for Baby's arrival!