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At Weigh-Less we understand that your individual dieting personality can affect your eating plan and your weight loss. We are all individuals and one size does not fit all. We also have our own unique expectations when embarking on a weight-reduction plan. For any weight-reduction plan to be successful, these needs must be taken into account with a healthy eating plan that understands this, to get you to goal and keep you there. As such the new Weigh-Less Way plan takes this into account by not only looking at your nutritional, social and cultural needs, but also at your personality and expectations.

You are pregnant? Congratulations. What an exciting time of your life. However, it is also a time of many changes.

Your breasts will begin to change. An increased blood supply may result in small visible veins. The urge to pass urine may become more frequent. Cravings or food aversions you’ve never experienced before may occur. Many women also suffer from nausea or morning sickness, which is by the way, quite a misleading name, as many women do not necessarily experience this in the mornings.

Here are some tips for dealing with morning sickness:

  • Get out of bed slowly
  • Try eating some dry crackers, dry popcorn, or dry cereal before getting out of bed
  • Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day
  • Snack on plain, easy to digest foods such as dry crackers, whole-wheat toast, cooked pasta, cooked rice or fruit
  • Avoid greasy food
  • Avoid spicy food
  • Try eating cold food
  • Drink water or suck ice to prevent dehydration after vomiting.

Contact your doctor should you vomit more than twice a day.

During pregnancy there is an increase in circulating levels of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone has a relaxing effect on involuntary muscles. This causes them to stretch. The muscles in the walls of the gut are also stretched, which allows more food to be absorbed. It can, however, also lead to constipation.

WHY IS EATING RIGHT SO IMPORTANT?
Eating right will help maintain a healthy weight. During pregnancy, you need to gain sufficient weight. This will improve your chances of giving birth to a full-term, healthy baby. The amount of weight you need to gain during pregnancy will depend on your pre-pregnancy weight. If you were under weight when you conceived, you will need to gain approximately 2 to 2.5 kg in the first trimester. If you were of a normal weight, 1.6 kg will need to be gained. If you were overweight, you need only gain 0.9 kg in that first trimester. And if you were very overweight, you will not need to gain anything during this time.

Eating right will also help meet your increased need for iron and will prevent iron-deficiency anaemia and will help prevent common pregnancy problems.

It will provide the extra energy that pregnancy requires.

It will speed up your recovery after delivery.

It will ensure sufficient high quality protein intake for optimal development of your baby. It will reduce the risk of birth defects.

It will supply calcium for bones and teeth.

HOW CAN WEIGH-LESS HELP YOUR NEEDS?
Vitamin needs: If you are following the Weigh-Less Target Plan, you will already be receiving an excellent source of vitamins. Choose food from the best group, and follow your full pregnancy formula (ask your group leader to give you one).

Mineral needs: Receiving a mineral-rich diet should not be difficult if you are eating a variety of food and following the Weigh-Less Target plan.

Fibre: A diet sufficient in fibre can prevent many digestive tract problems during pregnancy. A diet including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds will enable you to reach the recommended amount of daily fibre. Drinking 8 glasses of fluid daily will also help alleviate constipation.

Good nutrition is vital for the health of your baby. Restricting food can result in your baby being deprived of essential nutrients, which may result in premature delivery, low birth weight or health problems later on in your child’s life.

Your energy needs during the first trimester will remain the same as before pregnancy. Your appetite may increase. Satisfy your hunger by choosing healthy nutritious food. As your pregnancy pregresses, you’ll need a little more energy to meet all requirements.

A WORD OF CAUTION:
Although weight gain may be necessary, it is also possible to gain too much. Too much weight gain can result in the following:

  • Extra stress on your joints
  • Increase in the risk of developing preeclampsia
  • Lower back pain
  • Difficult labour and delivery

Do not follow any strict diets or start cutting calories. Instead, start making healthy changes such as changing to fat free milk, substituting fruit and low fat options for unhealthy snacks, and choosing leaner cuts of meat.

During the second trimester, the baby continues to grow in size, and the organs are maturing. By the end of week 28, the baby has a chance of survival if it was to be born then.

The second trimester is generally a happy period for the mother. The sickness of early pregnancy has largely subsided, the need to pass urine has returned to normal frequency and the appetite should be back to full force. This is well and good if the food you choose to eat is nutritious and you are maintaining a normal rate of weight gain.

During the second trimester, underweight women need to gain approximately 0.49 kg per week, normal weight women about 0.44 kg, overweight women around 0.3 kg per week and very overweight women would need to gain about 0.25 kg per week.

It is during this time that the pregnancy starts to show. Not only will you be able to see a definite rounded abdomen, but you will also start to feel the baby inside you around weeks 18 to 20. Your breasts continue to change during the second trimester becoming more tender than usual.

At around week 16, a clear fluid called colostrum is secreted from the breast. Colostrum is the liquid that is present before the milk comes in.

The dark area of skin may also become darker and bigger, preparing the nipple for suckling.

SOME COMMON PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED DURING THE SECOND TRIMESTER:

Anaemia: Iron deficiency anaemia is a relatively common problem in pregnancy. This deficiency can be corrected by prescribing oral iron supplements and ensuring that the diet is liberal in iron rich food.

Stretch marks: These are small pinkish lines that usually appear on the abdomen, or the breasts, during pregancy and gradually become pearly white once the pregnancy is over. Unfortunately, stretch marks seem to persist forever. You can try preventing them by improving blood circulation with a gentle abdominal massage with a sponge glove. Rapid weight gain is another cause of stretch marks, so avoid putting on too much weight during your pregnancy. From the second month of pregnancy, rub a vitamin-rich oil on your abdomen which will help fortify the skin and make it soft, thus allowing it to stretch gently.

Varicose veins: They are common in pregnant women due to the increase in blood volume. To help prevent them you can participate in regular activity and avoid standing still. If you have to stand for a long time, raise yourself up on your toes and tighten your calf muscles to prevent blood from pooling in the legs. If you are sitting for a prolonged time, put your feet up.

Backache: They are usually due to the softening of the ligaments and tendons that take place as a result of the hormone progesterone. To help alleviate the pain wear comfortable shoes, maintain a correct posture and ensure your bed is comfortable.

In the final 3 months of pregnancy, the baby continues to grow and mature. Towards the end of pregnancy, you may find the need to pass urine more frequently. This is due to the fact that the head of the infant is now enlarged in the pelvis.

Rapid weight gain during this period also increases the chances of you developing stretch marks on your stomach, thighs and even on the top of your arms.

HEARTBURNS
Heartburn is a common complaint in about two thirds of women during the latter part of pregnancy. Heartburn is the sensation when the acidic contents of the stomach travel back up the food pipe, creating a burning sensation around the heart area.

The cause of heartburn is partly due to the change in hormones that influence the action of the muscle that normally prevents the contents of the stomach due to the pressure of the foetus on the stomach.

The best way to deal with heartburn is:

  • Limiting the amount of food eaten at one time
  • Small frequent meals rather than 3 larger ones are preferable
  • Fluids should be taken in-between meals rather than with meals
  • Fatty rich food such as pastries, chocolates, rich desserts, fried food, excessive seasoning and coffee should be avoided
  • Pay attention to adequate chewing, eating slowly, avoid lying down after a meal

CONSTIPATION AND HAEMORRHOIDS
Pregnant women often develop constipation, particularly during the last stages of pregnancy. This is due to the pressure of the foetus on the bowel, physical inactivity and reduced gut motility due to hormonal changes. A balanced diet, including plenty of water, fibre-rich food, vegetables and fruits can provide you with the bulk that you need and thus control this problem. Open air exercise such as a brisk walk, can also help in combating constipation by regulating intestinal functions.

SWELLING OF ANKLES
Mild water retention is usually present in the ankles and feet in the third trimester. During the second half of the pregnancy, the added weight of your baby and the enlarging uterus increases the pressure on the veins returning blood from the legs resulting in accumulation of fluid in the lower extremities. To alleviate water retention try to stay off your feet for as long as possible. Lying flat with your legs slightly raised to help the blood flow back to your heart can usually relieve swelling.

WEIGHT LOSS AFTER GIVING BIRTH
Pregnancy does not have to mean saying goodbye to a slim figure. Following a healthy eating plan during pregnancy will ensure that you do not gain excessive amounts of weight. Two weeks after the birth of your baby, you should be within 2 to 4 kg of your pre-pregnancy weight. This extra weight is due to the enlarged breasts, and a small amount of extra body fat needed to supply energy for breast feeding. This fat should disappear very easily if you breast feed and follow a healthy eating plan. If you don’t breastfeed it may be more difficult to lose weight. Weight control through sensible eating and partaking in appropriate exercise is about the best way of ensuring a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby.

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