When you’re pregnant, you may worry about gaining too much weight. However, doctors typically recommend that you refrain from dieting. This doesn’t mean that you should go ahead and eat whatever you want, though. To maintain a healthy pregnancy, you want to eat healthy foods. You may be able to eat some diet foods during pregnancy, but your focus should be on health.
Eat Healthy, Not “Diet Food”
Technically, the word “diet” refers to any food that you eat, but most people associate the word with restricting calories in order to lose weight. You shouldn’t follow a weight-reduction diet when you’re pregnant, but you should follow a healthy eating plan. Many diet programs do focus on healthy eating and if you add some healthy foods to a plan, you can follow it throughout your pregnancy.
Low Calorie Foods
It’s fine to incorporate low-calorie “diet” foods in your pregnancy eating plans. Many fruits and vegetables are low in calorie, but high in nutritional value. Additionally, small packages of food like the 100-calorie packs that you might eat on a weight loss diet can allow you to have some not-so-healthy treats along with your healthy meals.
When you’re pregnant, you need to eat more calories to support the growth of your baby, but it shouldn’t be literally twice as much. Most pregnant woman needs about 2,500 calories each day. If you’re concerned, talk with your doctor or a nutritionist about your unique needs.
Acceptable Weight Gain
You should gain weight while pregnant, not lose it. Most women should gain about 25 to 35 lbs. over the course of their pregnancy. However, if you were underweight or overweight before pregnancy, you may need to gain more or less. Diet foods can help you stay within your calorie limits to prevent you from gaining too much weight, which can lead to pregnancy complications.
Artificial sweeteners add sweetness to foods without calories, so they are a popular ingredient in many diet foods. Pregnant women should avoid saccharine, which is found in some artificial sweeteners, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Artificial sweeteners without saccharine are safe in moderation.