11 June 2018Tracking weight, calories, and nutrients with MyNetDiary while pregnant or breastfeeding

Can you use MyNetDiary to help support pregnancy or breastfeeding? Yes! However, because MyNetDiary was not designed for pregnancy or breastfeeding, you will need to customize your calories and nutrient targets higher than the default targets, as well as use appropriate weekly weight goals.

Pregnancy

Weight Gain. Use your health care provider's recommendation for weekly weight gain. Weight loss is not appropriate during pregnancy and could result in harm to the fetus. Weight gain goals change by trimester and/or based upon an assessment of fetal growth. The first trimester (Weeks 1-12) has the least amount of weight gain whereas the second trimester (Weeks 13-28) and third trimester (Weeks 29 - birth) have more weight gain.

Not all women will have the same weight gain goals during pregnancy. If you had a lot of extra weight just before you got pregnant, your weight gain goals will be lower than if you started out underweight or at a healthy weight. You can learn more about recommended weight gain goals by reading "Staying Healthy & Safe" at the Office on Women's Health and "Gain Weight Safely During Your Pregnancy" at WebMD.

Calories & Nutrients. Pregnancy has higher calories and nutrient goals in order to support both the growing fetus and the mother's nutritional needs. MyNetDiary's goals are based on the non-pregnant state so to use MyNetDiary safely you must customize those targets to higher levels.

Appropriate calories and nutrient targets can be obtained from your healthcare provider. You can also use the DRI Calculator for Healthcare Professionals - this calculator provides the RDA amount for non-pregnant, pregnant, and breastfeeding states.

Carb Goals for Diabetes & Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes. If you use diabetes tracker, note that even if you select your diabetes type in Settings, MyNetDiary does not set up carb goals appropriate for pregnancy. Use the carb goals that your healthcare provider or diabetes educator has recommended for you. Blood glucose control during pregnancy needs to be very tightly controlled for fetal health. But at the same time, due to fetal growth and development, the RDA for carbohydrates during pregnancy is 175 grams/day. That is 45 grams higher than in the non-pregnant state!

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding benefits both mother and baby. You can learn more about those health benefits by reading "Making the Decision to Breastfeed" at the Office on Women's Health.

Weight & Calories. Aside from health benefits, breastfeeding burns a fair number of calories! Weight loss is a bit easier with breastfeeding because of this additional calories burn.

Women approach weight loss during breastfeeding in different ways and there is not one correct way to do it. Some women simply use their weight maintenance calories as their target and then allow the calories deficit caused by breastfeeding to shave off their weight naturally. If you prefer to set a weekly weight loss goal, consider trying 1 lb/week (not 2 lbs/week). If you primarily breastfeed your baby, then log "breastfeeding" exercise item in your exercise log and enter these calorie values (from the DRI calculator):

If your baby is aged 0 - 6 months: log 330 calories per day.
If your baby is > 6 months, log 400 calories per day.

You would enter these amounts once a day in the exercise log, not every time you breastfeed.

If you split feedings between breastmilk and formula, then you could enter just half of those calories or simply use weight maintenance calories for your target and allow the weight to gradually come off with the unaccounted for calories deficit.

Whichever method you choose, drink plenty of fluids and if you find that you are struggling to produce milk, consider a more gradual weight loss so that you can boost your calories and nutrient intake.

Nutrients. Breastfeeding has higher nutrient goals than in the non-breastfeeding state. For help in customizing to the appropriate targets, ask your health care provider for goals or you can use the DRI Calculator for Healthcare Professionals.

Carb Goals for Breastfeeding & Diabetes. If you use diabetes tracker, note that even if you select your diabetes type in Settings, MyNetDiary does not set up carb goals appropriate for breastfeeding. Use the carb goals that your healthcare provider or diabetes educator has recommended for you. Note that the RDA for carbohydrates during breastfeeding is a whopping 210 grams/day. That is 80 grams higher than in the non-breastfeeding state (and is even higher than pregnancy).

Maximum Membership

Purchasing the Maximum membership is the simplest way to get all features, reporting, linking to fitness devices, and nutrient customization options that you might need. If you have a Maximum membership, you do not need to purchase an app. Download the free app and then login with your account name and password to unlock all features in the app.

Basic Use of MyNetDiary

It is helpful to understand how MyNetDiary works, even if the Plan section is not specifically designed for pregnancy or breastfeeding. Please read Planning Weight & Calories, Planning Your Nutrient Needs, Foods to Meet Nutrient Needs and browse the other articles in the Library.

Here's to you and your baby's health!

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Community Forum or Facebook page – We would love to hear from you. And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!

Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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