The Big Slowdown

Why easing up in these nine months is OK


Pregnancy demands extra energy: Your tissues are growing, moving those added pounds takes more effort, and your basal metabolism is elevated.

In fact, moms-to-be burn more energy just resting than nonpregnant women do. This means they must eat extra calories and burn fewer calories during normal activities. But until now, scientists weren't sure just how expectant women reduced their energy and expenditure.

Swedish scientist Maria Lí¶f, Ph.D., in a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared moderately active nonpregnant women with similarly active third-trimester women and found that the latter compensated by selecting less-demanding activities.

On an average day they spent 92 more minutes sitting, lying down and sleeping; 73 fewer minutes standing and 21 fewer minutes walking and using stairs. They also walked slower.

All in all, they accommodated nearly half their increased energy needs by taking it easier.

Take our poll: When did you start taking it easier?

—Shari Roan