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Pregnant woman should eat for one

Pregnant woman should eat for one

The old saying that women can "eat for two" during pregnancy is well known, and has led to some women thinking that munching more while expecting is fine as it's good for their baby. Those who are a little wily will know this isn't actually the case though, with a total weight gain of between 25lbs. and 35lbs. recommended over the nine months.

It's now been claimed that not only is putting on too much weight while expecting not advisable, it could also leave women with extreme problems for the rest of their lives.

A study on fruit flies, which have similar digestive systems to humans, discovered that it starts working better during pregnancy. This efficiency means more energy is absorbed from food, thanks to a hormone - that is a little like the thyroid in humans - which is produced after mating and that works to store fat.

The research has pointed towards these changes staying in place even once a baby has been born, which could be a reason new mothers sometimes find it hard to lose baby weight.

"Previous studies have shown that eating for two during early pregnancy is unnecessary," lead scientist Dr Irene Miguel-Aliaga, from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Sciences Centre in London, explained in journal eLife.

"Our research suggests that this is because the digestive system is already anticipating the demands that the growing baby will place upon our body."

The idea is that as women's hormones function in a similar way to the flies, if they don't stabilise once she's welcomed a baby her body will keep trying to cling on to more calories than she needs.

This also explains why the old "eating for two" belief isn't right - the body is already primed to hold on to all it needs to adequately support the unborn child.

The latest medical guidelines are that expectant mums should only up their calorie intake by 200 during the last trimester. Moderate exercise is also recommended, such as 30 minutes of walking or swimming a day if you're used to working out or three 15-minute sessions a week building up to more if you're not.

Stick to a healthy diet including things like potatoes, bread, rice and pasta in each meal, stock up on fibre and skip fried food in favour of fruit and vegetables.

All of this is important as obesity during pregnancy brings many health risks, such as diabetes, miscarriage, blood clots and pre-eclampsia.

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