How to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy

The bitter comments made in regards to Kim Kardashian's baby weight have been condemned by virtually anyone: while it is ok sometimes to make fun of her maternity fashion faux pas, putting pressure on a pregnant woman because of the naturally-occurring weight gain is totally unacceptable, no matter how famous she is.

Nevertheless, being pregnant does not justify an unhealthy diet: occasional cravings can be satisfied as long as it doesn't turn into a junk food addiction. After all we cannot forget that during pregnancy, the baby's and the mother's health are tightly bound and that maternal nutrition plays a fundamental role into the child's present and future well-being.

It is of key importance to follow a balanced diet, with food preferably consumed only during defined meal-times - such as breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner - as irregular food intakes affect the production of the hormone insulin, stimulating the transformation of sugars into fat.

Variety and moderation are also crucial, therefore to maintain a healthy diet it is recommended to make sure the right amount of protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals is consumed throughout the day. A regular diet that includes cereals, bread, pasta, rice, meat, fish, milk, cheese, yoghurt, fresh fruit and vegetables should provide all the necessary nutrients without adding unnecessary weight. The consume of beef is advised as it is quite easy for pregnant women to become slightly anemic, although some iron supplements might still be needed towards the end of the pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Pregnant women should drink at least 1.5 l of room-temperature water a day, non-fizzy, as the carbon dioxide stimulates gastric activity reducing the feeling of satiety. As far as milk is concerned, the full-fat variety is recommended, rich in vitamin A and D as well as folates - which are essential for the development of bone and nervous tissue. Alcohol should be banned, as well as smoking, and while the salt requirements remain unchanged when expecting a baby, it is advisable to switch to natural sea salt due to the higher amount of minerals contained.

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