Should you really eat for two during pregnancy?

Pregnant woman holding grapes over her pregnancy bump
Should you really eat for two during pregnancy?
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The worse advice that your mother can give you while you are pregnant is to tell you to eat for two. Get back you mad washer woman, back to the middle ages when everyone was starving to death and eating for two meant having two turnips instead of one for your evening meal. Never ever, ever eat for two whilst you are pregnant, unless you want to be the size of two people giving birth to Nellie the elephant.

The human body is simply amazing. During pregnancy it starts to secrete hormones that try to ensure optimal growth for the baby even during times of want. Human Placental Lactogen (HPL) is a polypeptide hormone secreted by the placenta in pregnancy. Its function is to regulate the mother’s metabolic rate so that the energy needs of the baby are constantly supplied. As the placenta and baby grow, more HPL is secreted with maximum levels found at term.

With HPL on the case, there is no need to eat for two. Even during those annoying times when there are no ginger biscuits left on your supermarket shelf, HPL is busy releasing fatty acids from your butt so that you will not starve whilst waiting for the harassed assistant to open the box. While you are being fobbed off with metabolising boring fatty acids, HPL is feeding your baby lots of yummy glucose instead, obtained from a secret emergency supply kept in the liver.

I have to admit, it is very tempting to eat for two in pregnancy. If you are going to look like the side of a bus anyway then what is the use of not feeding your face whilst you have a jolly good excuse? What is wrong with comfort eating? It makes you feel a little better about giving up sole use of your body for nine long months. The answer is very simple. Eating for two makes big fat babies who are more difficult to get out!

If your BMI (Body Mass Index) goes above 30 in pregnancy then you are seen as high risk  and those lovely birth center doors will close in your face when you arrive in labour. When on the labour ward you run the risk of the cascade of intervention that hospitals are so fond of. They may not be able to get an epidural in due to all the back fat and you are more likely to end up with a caesarian section with general anaesthetic putting you at very high risk of bleeding. Is that extra cream bun really worth it?

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Ann Bentley (3 Posts)