Wednesday, 9 May 2012

#22 Does 9 months of "eating for two" give you a bigger baby or a bigger bum?

FACT OF THE DAY: Women in some cultures near starve themselves during pregnancy in hope of giving birth to a smaller baby that is safer to deliver

What’s one of the first thing people say to you once you’re pregnant? After the initial congratulations, often the next reaction along with your celebratory cup of tea is encouragement to eat more, saying “Go on, have another biscuit, now that you’re eating for two”.

Our culture’s obsession with feeding up pregnant women probably relates back to the days when food was scarce. But food is not so scarce these days, in fact for most of us it’s more than plentiful!

The current NHS advice specifically says “you don’t have to eat for two” during pregnancy. Making sure you eat sufficient vitamins and minerals while pregnant is now recognised as more important than extra food.

Exact figures vary, but it seems that for the first six months of pregnancy you don’t need any extra calories as your body becomes more efficient, and for the final three months just an extra 200-300 calories per day are needed (equivalent to a couple of slices of toast, or one Mars Bar).

That’s really very little excuse to be putting our hands in the cookie jar too often. It also explains why even in famine conditions women are able to produce babies.