For a long time, we’ve believed that a healthy pregnancy is one in which you eat balanced, reasonable meals, but that it’s not a time to diet. After all, you’re eating for two – at least, you need to eat with your baby in mind, to make sure that she gets all of the important nutrients she needs to grow and develop.
According to some new research, however, the idea is being put forward that it may actually be safe to diet during pregnancy.
That, of course, flies in the face of most of what we know and believe about pregnancy. Pregnancy isn’t a time to focus on your own body’s size; it’s a time to focus on baby’s growth. Even obese women who become pregnant have, typically, been encouraged to gain at least 15 to 25 pounds during the course of pregnancy.
Why dieting may be OK
Dieting during pregnancy prevents a woman from gaining extra weight, and it reduces the risk of certain weight-related pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
To be sure, it’s estimated that between 20% and 40% of women gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy.
Not everyone is happy
This research, of course, has many women scratching their heads. Why on earth would they be concerned about trying to lose weight during pregnancy? The number one focus – and it’s one that the researchers took into account – is getting the baby the nutrition he needs.
The researchers didn’t recommend starvation diets, or any trend diets that tend to result in a relatively unbalanced nutritional intake. Rather, they talked about a “controlled diet” in which the pregnant woman counts calories along with paying attention to making sure she gets the right nutrients.
It will be interesting to see how this research is received. Many health care providers are likely to be hesitant about suggesting that a pregnant woman try to lose weight.
Pregnancy should be a time to be comfortable and in tune with your body, not a time to change it more than what’s already changing.