A lot of fellow moms (or mother-to-be) asked how I managed to only gain 7KG at 9 months pregnant, and what’s my secret?!?!?!
During my first pregnancy I gained a total of 8KG, and this time I think it is pretty similar. While it does sound a liiiiitle enviable, my pregnancy isn’t without any problems. In fact, the struggle with weight gain was one of the challenges, not to mention a lot of worrying about nutritional and health issues.
Here’s a little sharing of my pregnancy diet journey so far, and some of the challenges I have encountered.
It was exactly the same as previous pregnancy during the early months, except maybe a little worse, because I have already developed certain food phobias from the first pregnancy, and it made things and smells that I disliked even more repulsive.
For one I absolutely hated the smell of coffee, curry (along with basically almost everything that has a scent -_-.) I could gag in an instant and lose my appetite for the rest of the day. Secondly, I developed even MORE food phobia. Once I had to sit through a meeting at a Yakitori place, and the client ordered sizzling yakitori with loooooooots of negi (chopped leek). It was one of the worst meetings ever (3 hours with the same smell!!!!!). I can’t really eat negi until today.
This is my typical breakfast, sometimes even lunch and dinner for the first couple of months. With a glass of milk. It was simply impossible to down anything else sometimes.
I relied a lot on supplements and constantly felt paranoid that I wasn’t taking in enough nutrients for the baby.
While it sounded like I’m one of the few lucky b****es to actually lose weight while growing a baby, it wasn’t entirely a blessing.
My weight kept dropping during the first three months, and every time I went to the gynae I always tried to stuff myself with heavy breakfast (if even possible) or wear heavy clothings so that the weighing machine reading will go up a bit lol.
At 20 weeks pregnant. Sometimes it doesn’t help that you are barely showing at all, because then you don’t get all the stranger’s kindness and assorted pregnancy perks. XD
I am a Thalassemia carrier. Basically it is a type of blood disorder that causes abnormal hemoglobin formation, and it is quite common among South East Asians. People with Thalassemia can die, but I am lucky that I am only a carrier, where I am carrying only the gene and not the disorder itself (meaning if I marry another carrier, we may have a baby who has severe Thalassemia disorder. Luckily Thalassemia is almost unheard of among Japanese people.). But I do get some health disadvantages from it because it does make me physically weaker and more easily tired and get breathless due to low blood count.
And being a Thalassemia carrier makes you very anaemic during pregnancy. I got lots of red flags during my first pregnancy, and this time it was worse that my gynae said she almost had a heart attack looking at my blood test result. I had only half the count of iron of what a normal pregnant woman should have. And lack of iron makes one tired, weak, dizzy and it could affect the baby.
The worst thing is, being Thalassemic your body cannot really absorb iron the normal way so you can’t just simply pop an iron pill to up your iron level. I could only get it from natural sources like food and milk in hope that my body can process it.
So I every meal I tried to have iron-rich foods like red meat, leafy greens and it has to be couple with Vitamin C to aid absorption.
Assorted Pregnancy Woes
Constipation, back pain, forgetfulness… you name it.
Every time I see my gynae she gives me a new list of supplements to buy because I keep having more problems D: . I was given calcium cuz I think the baby is absorbing my bones lol. A new special iron pill was prescribed because she was very disturbed by the dropping iron level in each blood test. And she insisted extra vitamin C on top of the multivits. Fish oil is for me to relocate my phone that I misplaced, 15 times a day.
I travelled a lot during the entire pregnancy and sometimes I do forget my supplements, and eating out so much is not always ideal compared to carefully planned meals. >.<. To ease my nutrition paranoia, I also made sure I took extra precaution!
While pills may not be enough, milk plays a super important role for pregnant mamas, but usual cow milk may not be sufficient for all the nutrients a pregnant mama needs if one has otherwise poor diet. Usually I will have a glass of warm S-26 MAMA before I sleep, and in the morning I’ll spice it up and mix it with cereal, dried fruits and nuts, it makes a super quick and simple breakfast!!
I didn’t know about the importance of Choline until I started on this maternal milk, because Choline status is associated with child’s cognitive and brain development.S-26 MAMA not only contains DHA & Choline but also Folic Acid, Iron, Calcium, and pre-biotic fibre such as oligofructose!
By the way, I know I have different sets of problems but most of the pregnant mamas I know are concerned about weight gain because they just can’t stop eating! I learnt that taking 5 balanced meals and snacks a day help to curb the urge to munch. Choosing a low fat milk will help too, and S-26 MAMA contains 86% less fat compared with full cream milk powder so it’s also perfect for those mommy-to-be who is watching the scale.
Doesn’t look super pretty but it’s really very yummy!! My favorite XD. You can find out more info about S-26 MAMA here
Diet and Lifestyle
With one toddler around me this pregnancy, it also means that I have less time to make myself proper, healthy meals.
Here are just some of my quick food hacks to make sure I don’t eat tapao’ed Char Kuey Teow for 9 months.
1.Air-fry beef balls
Beef is rich in iron so it helps! I made it for both me and Junya. Air-fry it for less calories and batch-fry and freeze it in a container. It’s great to make quick pasta with tomato sauce!
2. Vegetable gyoza
I mix 50% vegetables and 50% meat for a healthier version. More vegetables if you like ^^. Also batch-make and freeze.
3. Risotto Cheat One™
Organic spinach and sausage risotto with cooked Japanese rice, with this double-sided frying pan QiuQiu got for me as birthday present because she said I need to level up to cook for two kids now lol. The good thing about Japanese rice is that it remains amazing texture (just like risotto) so instead of using uncooked rice (which can take up to 40 mins to cook -_-) I just pour cooked rice over butter and consomme soup, and get a 5-mins risotto. Awesome.
Eating out, though, is much, much easier this time around. Last pregnancy everyone was trying to warn me about all kinds of food that can kill my baby – no sushi!! no pineapple!!! no liver!!! no strawberries!!! (yeap, believe it or not). And I spent half my pregnancy on Google feeling like crap.
This time around I know better. Because what didn’t kill me (and my baby) made me stronger LOL.
I tried to eat lots of fish (just avoid the ones with high-mercury content).
An ideal indulgence. Yeap. I ate my sashimi alright.
This is my typical perfect meal (after I finally get over my nausea). Grilled fish, white rice, a salad and miso soup.
Breakfast at home: Hokke, Wakame miso soup, tamagoyaki and white rice (with Hijiki topping for iron).
The final weeks!
I am 38 weeks pregnant now, almost there!!!!!!!!!!
Everything seems pretty well as of now. Gynae is happy with my weight and baby’s weight (not too big). I have to test for iron level again to make sure I don’t pass out or something losing too much blood, and… all is left is to pray for a safe delivery 🙂