Pregnancy Nutrition Myths
If your tummy is growing, than you are probably the recipient of unsolicited advice on everything from what not to do, to what not to eat. Frustrating, yes! But unfortunately some of the advice that well meaning friends and relatives give can actually hurt you. Let's take a look at some of the most common misconceptions.
Myth: Eat up, you're eating for two.
Fact: Whoa, slow down there and put the second helping of lasagna away. A pregnant woman may be eating for two, but one of them only weighs a few pounds. Your body only needs between 200 and 300 extra calories when you are pregnant (up to 500 near the end of your pregnancy). That is about the amount in one cooked chicken breast, without the skin.
Myth: Salt will make you swell up.
Fact: Salt is an essential nutrient, even when you are pregnant and it should not be removed from your diet to prevent swelling. Some swelling in pregnancy is normal, if your swelling is continuous you may want to consider the other foods you are eating to be sure you are getting enough protein and water. Also take a serious look at the amount of time you are giving yourself to rest. Rule of thumb, salt your food to taste.
Myth: You need to watch your weight carefully.
Fact: The amount of weight you gain says nothing about your overall health. You can gain a lot of weight eating junk food, or you can gain a lot of weight eating the right amount of healthy foods. To avoid problems in pregnancy, pay less attention to the scale, and more attention to the foods you are eating. Keep a list of everything you eat for a couple days, look over the list and see how your eating stacks up. If you need to make changes, do so. The scale can never tell you if you are eating well.
Myth: The baby will just take what it needs from you.
Fact: Your baby is being built from protein, a nutrient that your body uses to build tissues, but does not store extra quantities for use in building your baby. If you are not eating adequate protein, your health will suffer as your body begins to break down your tissues (muscle) to feed the baby. The only source of protein your baby has is from the food you eat.
Myth: If you eat a little less, the baby will take some of the extra fat off you.
Fact: Your baby is not being built from fat. Fat is a way your body stores glucose, the main source of energy for your body. The difference is that glucose can not be made into protein to build your baby's tissues. If you are not eating enough, your body will have to break down tissues (muscle) to build the baby from and you will get sick and weak.
Myth: A low fat diet will help keep the extra weight off.
Fact: Fat is essential to your body's metabolism of water soluble vitamins, it is not the enemy. Fat is no more the culprit for overweight than carbohydrates or proteins are. The problem is not that it is eaten, but that too much is eaten. Too much food of any type will be stored by your body for later use as fat. Low fat diets can be extremely dangerous in pregnancy because most foods considered "fatty" are good sources of protein, such as eggs, meats and cheese. A diet low in protein foods is dangerous in pregnancy.