Pregnancy Cravings: Eating For Two Is So Yesterday
Until Jessica Simpson finally gave birth to little Maxwell, all anyone could talk about was her weight gain. The jokes were flying – Jimmy Kimmel insisted she must be having twins – while Simpson, always the good sport, shared her awesome pregnancy cravings with the world (think Oreo brownies, buttered pop tarts and “everything filled with sugar“). Less than three weeks later, people are still obsessing over her weight – and the fact that Weight Watchers is paying her a cool $4 million to lose it all.
Simpson’s famous weight gain sparked a larger discussion about pregnancy weight gain in general, and about what is actually healthy vs. what could potentially be dangerous to both mom and baby. Now a new study out of the UK claims it’s safe to diet while pregnant and that doing so carries no risks for baby.
Researchers analyzed the findings from 44 previous studies involving more than 7,000 pregnant women. They found that following a healthy diet – in other words, not eating for two or succumbing to those greasy pregnancy cravings – cuts the risk of complications such as diabetes and pre-eclampsia.
The claims are being disputed by other experts who fear it’ll send the wrong message to expectant moms. In fact, a set of separate guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says that dieting during pregnancy is not recommended as it may harm the health of the unborn child. (They do, however, recommend that women reach a healthy weight before conceiving.)
This new study suggests just the opposite. They say babies’ birth weights are not affected by dieting, and that women who followed a calorie-controlled diet were less likely to develop complications in pregnancy. That’s not to say women shouldn’t be gaining weight – obviously they’re expected to – but it’s more a matter of watching what you eat and not using pregnancy as an excuse to eat for two or indulge in your every stoner-like craving.
“We should be careful to note that the researchers are not advising women to lose weight during pregnancy; this is about managing excessive weight or weight gain,” Dr. Janine Stockdale, a research fellow at the Royal College of Midwives, told BBC News. “If a woman is on target to gain the right amount of weight during her pregnancy, then ‘dieting’ and ‘calorie-controlled dieting,’ as we commonly understand these terms, is not for her. We need to reassure women that under the care of a midwife or other health professional, weight management is safe.”
Much of this sounds like commons sense to me (like so many parenting studies out there). I think the whole idea of gorging on whatever you want just because you’re pregnant is a bit outdated, anyway (that’s not to say pregnant women don’t still eat for two, but I’ve noticed that most these days are well aware of the repercussions). That said, most women I know choose not indulge not so much for health reasons but simply because they don’t want to be stuck with the daunting task of losing 50 lbs after the baby’s born. It’s always nice to be reminded that what you consume also has a huge impact on your unborn child.