- MYTH: Being pregnant = eating for two.
It’d be great if pregnancy let us to eat twice as much because our baby “ate half the food for us”. The truth is a markedly less indulgent.
First off, trimester one babies range in size from microscopic to plum-sized so their average nutritional needs are minuscule. In the beginning, you’re definitely not really eating for two you’re eating for one and a plum!
By the time you’ve hit your third trimester, your baby's tiny tummy will hold around one adult mouthful of food or less (if they’re born sooner). So, you’re still not eating for two, even when you're as big as you'll get.
- MYTH: Give in to your cravings, they're a clear sign of what baby needs & wants.
Unless you’re craving large green leafy salads loaded with nuts, veggies and lean meats, your sudden desire for ice cream, spicy fast food, or greasy pizza is a reflection of what you’re lacking (namely, bio-available energy in the form of protein, minerals, nutrients, and vitamins) and not what your baby is "hungry" for.
Remember, your baby is nourished via their umbilical cord, so they're not "tasting" anything you're eating and can't crave foods they've never tasted.
- MYTH: Pregnancy is a time of rest and self-indulgence
If by "indulge" you mean eat healthy pure foods and go for post-meal walks to aid digestion in your now-slower-stomach, then, sure, that's correct. But otherwise, it is definitely not time to ignore your diet and eat whatever strikes your fancy with no regard for its impact on your health. Quite the contrary.
- FACT: Too much self-indulgence can end in a high-risk pregnancy
Sitting on your duff all day, eating whatever you want greatly increases your chances of gestational diabetes and/or pre-eclampsia, which typically ends in c-section and a high risk of post-partum depression - negatively influencing bonding with your newborn.
- Take home message: Do your best to stay active and eat right. For you type-A personalities: don't overdo it, stay-hydrated and be sure to sneak in catnaps whenever you need them. Pregnancy is a bit like cadet training before newborn bootcamp, the more you prepare now, the better your performance when you're really going to need the extra energy and patience.
Medical research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise during pregnancy results in less negative symptoms, less weight gain, shorter and less painful labors, and the tendency to recover more quickly post-partum with significantly less chance of developing post-partum depression.