Dieting when pregnant is usually regarded as a complete no-no but that doesn’t mean you should eat anything and everything you lay eyes on. It’s very important to watch what you eat. Often being pregnant is regarded as eating for two—this doesn’t mean that you eat more (so if you were planning a dunkin donuts delievery hold fire), but that you eat smarter and healthier. During those crucial 9 months you sweetie are your baby’s only source of nutrients, and you need to make sure both you and junior growing inside you get the proper balance of proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber and carbohydrates.
So you might be thinking well I am going to put on a few pounds (sort of inevitably) that you’ll start dieting now and that way you will be able to lose the baby weight really quickly afterwards and get back in to your small skimpy bikini for a winter get away. Now sorry to burst your bubble but most prental food experts suggest (infact pretty much insist on) avoiding a low carbohydrate diet so looks like you are going to have to put your Atkins on hold for a while.
You see your body needs adequate carbs to function properly which means if it doesn’t get them your body ends up producing chemicals called ketones (you can usually tell as your breath will smell sweet) and this is really bad news for baby and can lead to permanent brain damage or premature birth. Now that’s not what we want to happen but if that hasn’t deterred you (come on surely you not that crazy?)
Low carb diets are a bad idea for a number of other reasons in pregnant women. Aside from the risk of mental retardation of your baby which really should be enough reason to avoid them anyway. There are other issues with low carb diets that can add to the discomforts of pregnancy. For example, low carb diets tend to have low levels of dietary fiber, which exacerbate the constipation that many pregnant moms suffer because of the required iron supplements this can be really uncomfortable as as baby weight increase during development your risks of becoming constipated increase anyway.
Additionally you’ll find most prenatal dieticians recommend eating a lot of fruit obviously because of its rich vitamin content, but most of the items you’ll find in a typical shake are banned by low carb diets like Atkins and South Beach because of the sugars naturally occuring in these types of foods.
On some occasions doctors may recommend taking carefully modified low-carb diets, especially if you are obese, suffer from gestational diabetes or low blood sugar. All three conditions have been proven to have adverse affects on the baby (including prematurity, birth defects, and early rupture of the membranes) so losing weight or controlling intake may actually be the best thing for your baby. This will need to be done under very strict medical supervision and you will find that you will need more check ups than other women.
If you are asked to go on a low-carb diet during pregnancy, you will probably be told to go on the equivalent of the maintenance phase of the Atkins Diet, or the second phase of the South Beach Diet both of these can be quite effective at maitaining weight but keeping your nutritional balance intact. With this option you are premitted a carefully controlled number of carbohydrates, usually obtained from whole grains and fruits, while minimizing white bread, white rice, and pasta. That is fine, as you are still giving your baby the adequate nutrients, while removing processed foods which provide little or no nutritional benefits.
If you are not allowed to go low-carb, but still need to control your weight, there are some options open to you. First of all, eat small but frequent meals. If you want a snack, instead of taking junk food or processed meats (which have a lot of calories, but significantly less nutrients), take salads, fruits, nuts and crackers. Choose lean cuts of meat, and minimize salt and rich sauces during cooking. And while you do need carbohydrates, take in moderation. One plate of pasta is good, three servings of it smothered in white sauce is not.
But the most important thing to remember is that before you go on any diet during pregnancy consult your obstetrician-gynaecologist. She or he can properly determine the best course of action given your particular medical history and the condition of your baby. Do not go on any weight management program without the advice and the approval of your doctor. Whether it’s low carb or Zone or the Mediterranean Diet, the point is that there is a proven link between prenatal nutrition and the baby’s health. Complications can include low birth weight, birth defects, and early delivery.