I usually have a lot of willpower when it comes to resisting my favourite treats, but since I got pregnant I’m completely unable to ignore sugar, salt and fried food cravings. I’ve already put on 10kg in the first trimester!
We blame pregnancy hormones for cravings of peanut butter on pickles or industrial-size tubs of ice-cream, but the truth is that the mechanisms behind pregnancy cravings still aren’t understood. Some experts warn that we may simply be more likely to give in to our urges when we’re pregnant because we think we have a valid excuse.
But pregnancy isn’t a free pass to the all-you-can-eat buffet. In fact, you don’t need any extra calories at all in the first trimester, and you only need between 200 and 260 additional calories a day in the second and third trimesters to meet your energy requirements and keep your weight in check.
Weight gain during pregnancy varies from woman to woman. Genea Medical Director Mark Bowman says it’s not unheard of for women who are overweight to actually lose some weight during pregnancy due to changes in their diet.
“On the flipside, underweight women may put on weight. The majority of that is the baby, the placenta and the amniotic fluid,” Associate Professor Bowman said.
Here’s another great reason to put down that packet of chips – numerous studies including Boston’s Project Viva have shown that women who gain an excessive amount of weight during pregnancy put their children at risk for childhood obesity. So by eating well and keeping your weight gain within the normal range, you’re not only protecting yourself from obesity and associated health problems, but your baby too.
To get your pregnancy diet right 12WBT’s Pregnancy Program will take the guesswork out of healthy eating while you’re expecting.
You probably have many more questions about what you should and should not do during your pregnancy or about your fertility in general. Why not participate in the Australian Fertility Census and see in real time how you stack up against the rest of the country. Some of the answers we’ve seen just might surprise you.
- What Really Causes Pregnancy Cravings?, Psychology Today.
- Understanding Obesity’s Developmental Origins, Harvard.