So, you’ve made the most perfect plans for your pregnancy. This included cutting down your weight beforehand to the most ideal. But for most women, this appears to be unrealistic. Pregnancy, though exciting, can be a period of weight dilemma for many women especially those who are already overweight. This is because of the weight gain that is associated with pregnancy.
But not to worry, studies show that losing weight during pregnancy is very possible, and with good benefits – for women who are obese (with a BMI above 30) or very overweight.
Weight loss, on the other hand, appears inappropriate for women who had attained a healthy weight before pregnancy. If you are optimistic about the health benefits of weight loss during pregnancy, then see your doctor. They will plan with you how it could be done without any effect on the baby.
CREATE A PREGNANCY WEIGHT LOSS PLAN
Even before you give birth to it, your baby relies on you in very many ways. They get nourishment and accommodation from your body for over 40 weeks. This helps their growth and development process. Having a lot of weight can cause issues during pregnancy because it can interfere with these processes.
If a pregnant woman is obese, then there is the risk of:
- Premature birth
- Cesarean delivery
- Sleep apnea
- Heart defects in the infant
- High blood pressure in the mother
- Blood clots
- Infections (in the mum).
The dangers notwithstanding, the right approach to weight loss is nothing more than a consistent plan focusing on lifestyle modifications. Weight loss in pregnancy should be gradual and not done in a rush. Gradual weight loss is the best for you and your baby.
If your doctor recommends weight loss, then here is the right way to do it safely:
Know How Much Weight You Should Gain
If you are overweight during pregnancy, there's the chance that your focus can change totally to only weight loss. But the truth is that you will still gain some weight, and you must know how much constitutes a healthy amount. After all, you have another human growing within you.
Adhere to the following guidelines recommended by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, based on your weight before pregnancy.
- obese (BMI above 30): add up 11 – 20 pounds
- BMI of 25 – 29.9: add 15 – 25 pounds
- normal weight (18.5 to 24.9 BMI): add up between 25 – 35 pounds.
Reduce Your Intake of Calories
The first way to cut down on a lot of weight is by lowering the number of calories that you take in daily. Eating a lot of calories (much more than you can burn daily) is the major cause of weight gain. For instance, to lose a pound, one must have a calorie deficit amounting to 3500. This is equivalent to a daily deficit of 500 calories.
Before you initiate this calorie deficit in your diet, make sure you keep a food log so you can have an idea of how many calories you can eat. You can discuss your food plans with a dietitian. You can also study nutritional labels from restaurants or food stores so you can have an idea just how many calories are present in each food.
Note that daily calorie consumption for pregnant women should not fall below 1700 calories daily. 1700 calories are the minimum and it ensures that adequate nutrients and energy are supplied to you and your baby regularly.
If your calorie consumption exceeds this, then consider reducing it gradually. For instance, you may:
- reduce the condiments
- eat small portions
- eat fruits in place of baked goods
- replace traditional carbs with vegetables
- drink water in place of soda
- do not eat junk foods in excess
Eat prenatal vitamins daily to ensure that you’re getting the right nutrients for you and your baby. Most important would be folate, as it reduces the risk of congenital defects.
Exercise Regularly. A 30-minute Timeline is Okay
Some pregnant women feel that exercising may hurt their baby. Well, nothing could be farther from the truth. While some exercises may be harmful, sit-ups, for example, exercises generally are beneficial.
Exercises help with weight maintenance, minimize birth defects, and even eases some of the pains and aches experienced during pregnancy.
Both pregnant and non-pregnant women should aim for 30 minutes of activity daily. If this is too much for a start, you can split the 30 minutes into phases throughout the day.
Exercises most suitable for pregnant women include:
- prenatal yoga
On the other hand, you should steer clear off activities that:
- cause pain
- depend on balance such as skiing or riding a bike
- makes you dizzy
- are performed in hot temperature
Tackle All Weight Concerns on Time
While it is certain that pregnancy is a natural cause of weight gain, most of the weight gain occurs in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Your baby will also grow fast during the last 2 months of pregnancy. You see, weight gain due to placental growth or baby growth cannot be controlled, so you should tackle weight issues earlier.
Successful weight loss intervention programs in pregnant women have been reported in the Journal of Obesity. The researchers discovered that women who were advised between their 7th – 21st week of pregnancy were less likely to add excess weight during their third trimester.
This is an example of how early pregnancy aids in staving off excess weight gain. If you intend losing weight, or controlling your overall weight gain during pregnancy, be sure to report to your doctor on time so he can draw a timely plan for you. Your doctor can also ask you to see a dietitian for meal planning and further advice.
In most cases, it is easier and safer to manage weight in pregnant women compared to any form of weight loss. Despite the positive benefits of a low BMI during pregnancy, losing weight is not the best option for all women.
The conventional weight loss methods contribute to this concern; calorie reduction and exercise. Pregnant women should watch their calorie intake, and exercise well. However, overdoing it can cause harm to your baby. That’s why most physicians do not recommend weight loss during pregnancy – unless the woman is extremely overweight. All concerns and questions that you may have should be discussed with your doctor.
Your doctor will help you to make the right decision – a decision that’s best for both you and your baby. You can always switch to a healthy weight loss plan after delivery.