News You Can Use: No Need to Eat for Two When Pregnant

Pregnant woman

By Dawn Van Osdell

Researchers at Imperial College London have proven that there’s no need for pregnant women to “eat for two,” because their bodies adapt to absorb more energy from the same amount of food they would normally consume. Thanks to a hormone secreted during pregnancy—even as early as fertilization—a mother-to-be’s digestive system dramatically grows, stimulating her body to store more fat to support the demands of a growing fetus.

“We normally think of our internal organs as being a fixed size, but the fact is that they are not. They can grow and change, and we show that this is important for making babies,” says Irene Miguel-Aliaga, the lead researcher in the study conducted at the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Sciences Centre in London.

Until now, scientists had thought that a pregnant woman’s appetite increased as her baby’s demand for energy increased. This new research—performed in fruit flies, which have genes that are also present in humans—is the first to show that a “juvenile hormone” triggers the changes to the intestine and fat metabolism, similar to the way human thyroid hormones regulate energy demands. “Studies in fruit flies have been very valuable in providing insights into human physiology,” say Joe McNamara, M.D. and author of the study. “This research points to a new scientific explanation why eating for two during pregnancy is not necessary, and may even be harmful, as a growing body of evidence indicates that a mother’s diet can impact a child’s propensity to be obese in later life. “

The research also sheds some light on why some women may have trouble losing weight after pregnancy. If hormone levels fail return to normal after birth, a mother’s intestine may remain abnormally large, so she will continue to extract extra energy from her food.

Eating for two may be an old wives’ tale some pregnant women will be sad to see go. But in the long run, we and our growing families will be healthier and happier having forgone that third trimester cupcake binge!

Photograph courtesy of UrbanSitter

13 Reasons Why Exercise is Essential to a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy

Keeping a regular exercise routine while pregnant isn’t always easy, but it’s truly essential to your own physical and emotional well being, and now we know it’s just as beneficial to your unborn child’s lifelong health. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you can safely take part in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise every day, as long as your doctor hasn’t told you otherwise, and you can do it regardless of your prior fitness level.



Here are 13 compelling benefits of getting the exercise you and your baby need for good health during your pregnancy:

  • Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight gain in pregnancy, which keeps you more comfortable, makes it easier to bounce back after the birth of your baby and is directly tied to preventing childhood obesity in your unborn child.
  • It builds and maintains muscle tone, helping you feel and look better.
  • Helps to prevent gestational diabetes.
  • Aids digestion, helping with the dreadful pregnancy heartburn.
  • Helps regulate blood pressure and can help to keep preeclampsia at bay.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety, maximizing the joy you get from your pregnancy.
  • Improves self-image, which pregnant women often struggle with as they watch their bodies change and grow.
  • Exercising your core will help prevent back and posture problems caused by your growing stomach.
  • Improves circulation and reduces swelling.
  • Stretching helps back pain and the general aches and pains associated with your growing body.
  • It releases endorphins, which in addition to boosting mood and reducing stress, help you sleep better.
  • Later in pregnancy, exercise encourages the baby to move into proper position for birth.
  • Builds stamina and endurance for labor and delivery.

There’s no denying the numerous benefits of keeping fit and active during your pregnancy. You can safety and easily fit exercise into your schedule – whether it’s prenatal yoga, walking, swimming or weight training – with a little advance planning and perhaps some help from UrbanSitter. Book a sitter to cover your childcare needs while you get your prescribed dose of physical fitness!  And, of course, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine.

What are your tips for getting in exercise while pregnant? Share them with us in the comments!