Pregnancy is such an exciting time with so much to look forward to: decorating a nursery, buying cute clothes, picking out names. But not all of it is sweet smelling and fun. The thought of pregnancy weight gain can throw some moms into sheer panic, and unfortunately, the “experts” are often not much help. While it is undisputed that a tiny developing baby needs extra calories to develop, how many extra calories to add and when to add them remains quite a mystery. Published data reports conflicting numbers and even the most conscientious mom-to-be can gain weight despite diligently following her doctor’s orders.
Research published by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition assessed the energy requirements of a group of women from pre-conception through delivery. It was the researchers hope to eliminate the variablility seen in previous studies by designing this longitudinal study that would allow them to detect patterns over the course of the pregnancy and look for relations that would point to underlying causes. Yet the researchers could find no correlation between the increase in RMR and any pre-pregnant factors, including body weight, BMI, Fat Mass, Fat Free Mass, RMR, or energy intake. The increase also did not correlate with maternal energy intake during pregnancy, (or simply put, how much mom ate).
This study showed a huge range of differences in RMR throughout pregnancy: individual RMR’s increased from 456 to 3389 kJ per day by late pregnancy. So what does this mean? It means that while one mom-to-be can meet her increased demands by eating an extra slice of pizza per day, her pregnant friend needs to down an entire extra-large with all the toppings just to keep Junior fed. And how do we know which is which? That is the magic question. The conclusions of this study cited states, “The use of single recommendation for increased energy intake in all pregnant women is not justified.” No wonder there is confusion!
An actual measurement of RMR for each individual pregnant woman throughout gestation is the solution to the problem. It’s accessible, affordable, and provides an actual measurement for the individual changes each patient is experiencing. By measuring those changes, a practitioner can make the appropriate dietary recommendations to keep mom and baby healthy.
Every pregnant mom is unique. Every pregnancy is different. Utilizing personal RMR results to better manage pregnancies just makes sense.