Pregnancy and associated weight gain are sensitive topics with lots of risks and worries. When a woman is pregnant, the baby in her uterus completely depends on her in every way possible for 40 weeks, so she should plan something for how she will spend her nine months.
She has to get extremely careful about everything: how she moves, how she thinks and what she eats.Especially what she eats and how she maintains her diet are the most important concerns because, weight gain becomes a dilemma for women when they get pregnant.
Some of them want to lose weight during pregnancy without affecting the baby and some of them have no awareness about it. Most of not knowledgeable about whether they should follow a regimen or just eat about everything they get their hands on. This is why, we will be clearing some confusions today.
Women get confused and frustrated about what they should do. They are afraid of pregnancy weight gain but also know that their baby needs the extra nutrients and calories. So we will see how to steer clear of those problems. It must be noted that excess weight gained during pregnancy has been linked with long term obesity in women. (1)
Why you gain weight while pregnant?
Be clear that there is not way you can escape weight gain during pregnancy. You will be creating a new life and this is how nature has wired your body that it will gain weight to nourish and protect the baby.
So where does all this weight come from? The below calculations for someone who is with normal weight before pregnancy. However, all this is not essentially only fats.
- Your Baby takes at least 8 pounds
- Placenta is usually of 2 to 3 pounds
- Amniotic fluid is also the same
- Blood supply is increased to 4 pounds
- The fats which get stored for the delivery and feeding the baby afterwards are between 5 to 9 pounds
- Enlarged uterus consists of 2 to 5 pounds
So the total number of pounds you gain in excess of your normal weight is 25 to 35 pounds.
The major concern and question regarding weight loss while pregnant is that:
Is it Safe to lose weight during pregnancy?
Well, the initial answer is “NO”. Most doctors do not recommend losing weight while pregnant because you need more energy and calories for the baby. It is not good for you, if you had the ideal weight before pregnancy. Weight gain during pregnancy is absolutely critical for fetal growth and well being. (2)
But it may be necessary for those expecting moms who have some weight issues like their BMI being higher than 30, are obese or women who are overweight. Doctors fortunately do say that it is possible as well as beneficial for them to lose some weight for the health of mother and child.
Complications due to obesity during pregnancy
There may be times when it will be necessary for you to lose weight. This will mostly be in situations where you were already overweight before start of pregnancy and continued to gain excessive weight. This additional weight may cause many complications during pregnancy such as: (3) (4)
- Heart problems in babies
- Premature delivery
- C section
- Still birth
- Higher blood pressure of mother
Keeping these dangers in mind, you should try to lose weight through a slow process and under a doctor’s supervision so it doesn’t affect your child or your own health in a bad way.
Some of the things you can easily do to safely lose weight while pregnant are as follow,
First and foremost you need to know,
What is ideal pregnancy weight?
Let’s categorize it.
The following chart is according to the weight you had before pregnancy, as recommended by American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.
| Pregnancy weight category |
|Body mass index||Recommended range of total weight gain|
|Underweight||Less than 18.5||28-40lb|
|Obese||30 and above||11-20lb|
Note that your wait will still increase because there’s a baby growing inside you, but knowing that how much you should gain is important.
2- Take stock of your calories
There’s myth about women eating for two in pregnancy. That’s not true. A pregnant women normally needs 300 more calories per day than she needed before pregnancy meaning a total of 1800 calories per day during first trimester. This will gradually increase to 2200 and 2400 calories during second and third trimesters. (5)
So please don’t sit on the couch in front of your television eating a carton of ice cream or other junks.
But if you see that you are consuming more than this, you seriously need to slow down a bit and here are a few ways to do this.
- Eat small meals not in large amounts at a time.
- Make foods that are not spicy or much flavored.
- When you are craving for sweets, take fruits instead of baking items.
- Do not eat processed food, take fresh vegetables.
- Use lots of fluids but in form of water or fresh juices rather than sodas or other drinks.
- Avoid junk foods at all costs. They will not help you other than aiding you with more fats to consume.
Consult your doctor for taking multivitamins, to make sure that you are not cutting out on any vital nutrients. Most of the doctors prescribe multivitamins during pregnancy.
3. Which exercises are safe for pregnancy?
Exercise is thought to be harmful in pregnancy but in reality it’s really beneficial if you do the right exercises with proper management.
Some of the exercises like jumping or sit ups can harm you but there are many others you can benefit from.
It will be a massive help in keeping a balanced weight and lower the chances of any birth complications.
30 minutes of exercise is good for women if you think it will be too much for you. You can do it in smaller parts through whole day in different timings whenever you feel comfortable.
Exercises that are safe are mentioned below.
- Yoga, it will also help in relaxing your stiff muscles.
Avoid the exercises which:
- have heat exposure
- carry risk of causing any sort of pain
- – Don’t do any exercise lying on your back
4. Plan before It’s too late
At the very start of pregnancy you can lose some weight because of strong nausea that you might feel.
But if you try to maintain recommended weight during pregnancy by thorough planning, it may prove beneficial for you. Because after first trimester you cannot possibly lose weight, in fact it’s the other way around.
However, managing your weight is more preferable than losing it. Because not all women need to do that. That’s why doctors don’t usually recommend it.
Note that in pregnancy there are things that you might never expect at all. It’s a completely different experience for every woman. So there’s nothing to be embarrassed about if you gained some weight because of the life growing inside you.
Therefore, how to lose weight while pregnant should be only a secondary question after ensuring baby’s well being. You can surely manage your diet, Make it healthy. But don’t force yourself. Consider it normal most of the times.
Your mental and emotional health also matters a lot along with all these things. Think that when you are done giving birth, you will be able to go back to your original self in no time at all.