Staying Slim During Pregnancy

QUESTION

Dear Nutritionist,
I'm 42. I used to be overweight but managed to lose a lot of weight a year ago. Now I'm pregnant but I wish to stay slim. I intend to continue jogging and aerobics classes and limit my food intake during pregnancy in order to keep my weight down. I have a busy career and often rush meals. I drink a lot of coffee at work and a cigarette accompanies most of my cups of coffees. What nutritional advice can you give?
Marie

ANSWER

Hi Maria,
Your first course of action, if you have not already, is to visit your OB/GYN or other healthcare provider. Proper prenatal care is so important! Your doctor will also prescribe a prenatal vitamin/mineral supplement, to supplement a healthy and well-balanced diet, to ensure you are receiving all of the essential nutrients your body needs at this time. It is also important to have your doctor's approval before starting or continuing with your exercise regimen.

In addition, during pregnancy, the last thing you want to do is "limit your food intake." I am not sure what you mean by that exactly, but it is vital to consume sufficient calories to get the proper nutritional intake that you need for a developing fetus. It is beyond important to eat a healthy diet that is well-balanced and includes ALL of the food groups daily. For women at a normal weight at the time of conception, it is suggested to gain between 25-30 pounds for a healthy pregnancy.

As far as coffee, you should not drink any more than about 2 cups of caffeinated coffee daily or no more than about 300 milligrams of caffeine daily. Cut down on the coffee and drink water instead! Talk to your doctor about cutting your caffeine down. For people that consume large amounts of caffeine daily, there can be withdraw symptoms such as fatigue and headaches that accompany the cut back. However, you need to cut down so speak with your doctor on how you can do this safely.

As far as your cigarette smoking, that is a habit you should most definitely quit all together when pregnant and/or breastfeeding. Smoking can be very dangerous to the baby and cause all type of complications. If you feel you cannot do it on your own than ask your doctor for suggestions that may help.

As far as nutrition, it sounds like you need more advice than I can give in a few paragraphs! I strongly urge you to first see an OB/GYN. At age 42 you would be considered a higher risk pregnancy and should be EXTRA careful! Secondly, I recommend that you schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian who can sit down with you and educate you on proper nutritional intake during pregnancy as well as help you to understand proper calorie intake and weight gain.

Thirdly, I recommend my book, The Everything Pregnancy Nutrition Book. The book can begin to help you with all aspects of good nutrition during pregnancy and how to properly take care of yourself! Everything you put in your body can effect your baby and your baby's health so it is vital to learn what is right and what can be harmful!

Good Luck!

-- Kimberly, RD LD

Kimberly Tessmer

Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD LD has been a registered dietitian since 1992 and is also an Ohio licensed Dietitian. Her educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Technology (Dietetics) from Bowling State University in Bowling Green, OH. She currently owns and operates a consulting business called "Nutrition Focus" www.nutrifocus.net, in which she specializes and offers services in the areas of weight management, general nutrition, authoring, menu development and a variety of other services.

To date Kim has authored three books including "The Everything® Nutrition Book", "Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Celiac Disease", and "The Everything® Pregnancy Nutrition Book". In addition, Kim has written numerous articles for various health/nutrition web sites and magazines including Bally Total Fitness Magazine, Well and Healthy Women Magazine and Healthology.com, Inc as well as continuing education courses for www.care2learn.com. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the ADA Practice Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs.