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Diet and Exercise

Weight Gain

The recommended weight gain depends on the Body Mass Index (BMI) before pregnancy. BMI is a calculation based upon height and weight. If you don’t know your BMI, there are many websites that have a calculator to do it for you. The recommended weight gain during pregnancy is as follows:

BMI
Weight Gain in Pounds
< 20
25 – 40
20 – 26
25 – 35
26 – 29
15 – 25
> 29
11 – 20
 
 
Diet

Pregnant women should to eat 3 nutritious meals per day and an evening snack for a total calorie intake of 2100-2400. This is about 300 added calories. Intake of elemental iron should be 30 mg/day and folic acid should be 0.4mg/day. These supplements are often present in prenatal vitamins. Guidelines regarding daily diet are:

 
  • 75-80 grams of protein (3-4 servings)
  • 325 grams of carbohydrates (6-11 servings)
  • 73-83 grams of fat (4 servings)
  • 2 vitamin C rich servings
  • Eat lean meat and avoid fried foods
  • Avoid empty calories like soda, chips, and desserts
  • Drink 8 or more glasses of water
 
 
Exercise

The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are many. Exercise helps reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling. It may help prevent and/or treat gestational diabetes. Vigorous activity also increases energy and improves mood. A safe exercise (even for beginners) is walking, swimming, aerobics and cycling. Avoid downhill skiing, contact sports and scuba diving. Whichever exercise you choose, guidelines are:

  • Heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute.
  • Exercise 30 minutes at least 3 times per week.
  • Avoid deep flexion and extension.
  • Stay hydrated and don’t exercise in extremely hot weather.
  • Hormone changes during pregnancy can cause joints to be lax, so wear shoes that support the ankle and arch.