- Is it safe to lose weight during pregnancy?
- Tool to check pregnancy weight
- Distribution of weight during pregnancy
- How to lose and manage weight while pregnant?
- Effects of unhealthy weight loss on your growing baby
Putting on weight during pregnancy? Well, that is pretty normal and healthy too. Your body keeps on growing and undergoes changes to accommodate the growing baby. For this, a normal weight woman needs an extra 300 calories a day than what she required before pregnancy.
Is It Safe To Lose Weight While Pregnant?
If you are already overweight at the time of conceiving, your doctor may ask you to lose some weight. However, you should try to lose weight only under the supervision of a doctor. In most of the cases, women are not allowed to diet or lose weight during pregnancy.
The fact is losing or gaining weight takes its natural course during pregnancy. You may lose weight during the first trimester due to nausea or morning sickness. Then you may add pounds in the next two trimesters and make for the initial weight loss. And this is a healthy way of losing and gaining pregnancy weight.
Tool To Check Pregnancy Weight
Your pregnancy weight gain requirement depends on your weight before pregnancy – whether you are underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese, or if you are carrying multiples (twins or more).
You can check out the category under which you fall, and get your target weight range with this pregnancy weight gain calculator. For this, you should know your pre-pregnancy weight, current pregnancy week, your height, your present weight and if you are carrying multiple babies.
This calculator estimates the ideal weight gain during pregnancy week by week. The amount of weight you should gain always depends on your pre-pregnancy weight.
Pregnancy Weight Gain Chart
|Pre-pregnancy BMI||Category||Recommended weight gain|
|18.5 – 24.9||Normal||25-25lb (11-16kg)|
|< 18.5||Underweight||28-40lb (13-18kg)|
|> 30||Obese||11-20lb (5-9kg)|
In the case of twin babies or multiples, the ideal weight gain should be 37 to 54lb or 16.5 to 24.5kg (1).
The above table helps you know your target weight gain and aim to reach the desired weight levels.
Distribution Of Weight During Pregnancy
The weight that you gain during pregnancy falls under various categories. The average distribution could be as follows (2):
- Baby’s weight – 7½lb
- Placenta – 1½lb
- Amniotic fluid – 2lb
- Uterus – 2lb
- Large breasts – 2lb
- Body fluids – 4lb
- Blood – 4lb
- Fats and other nutrients – 7lb
How To Lose Weight When Pregnant Safely?
Many women, especially those who are obese, lose weight while pregnant in the first and last trimester due to morning sickness and digestion problems. But the way you lose it is the main issue.
We have some easy tips on how to lose weight during pregnancy if you are overweight. The below tips will not harm your pregnancy:
1. Understand your calorie needs:
As mentioned earlier, all pregnant women don’t need to gain an equal amount of weight. So, you need to know how many calories you need. Talk to your doctor to understand your specific needs.
Don’t follow low-carb diets like the Atkins diet. Remember, Kim has an army of doctors to keep her safe and healthy, and we, unfortunately, don’t.
[ Read: Calories Consumption During Pregnancy ]
2. Eat frequent but small meals:
This is true when you want to manage your weight, pregnant or not. Eating frequent but small meals helps you manage your portion size. This is especially useful when you are pregnant and eating a full meal can make you sick.
3. Take prenatal vitamins:
This is something your doctor will prescribe anyway. But if you needed an additional reason to take your prenatal vitamins regularly, then you should talk with your doctor right away! As you know, your body needs extra nutrition during pregnancy. If you want to manage your weight and take in the nutrients without loading yourself with calories, take your vitamins! But this does not mean that you forego your usual meals and rely on supplements.
4. Eat healthy food:
Now that you know you need to follow a proper diet, let’s see what is healthy for you.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Cereals and bread made with whole grains
- Low-fat milk and dairy products
- Foods rich in folate such as strawberries, spinach, and beans
- Unsaturated “good” fats like olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil
[ Read: Is It Safe To Diet During Pregnancy ]
There is a list of foods you should avoid to manage your weight during pregnancy. Here they are:
- Food laced with artificial sweeteners
- Food and drinks that contain sugar or corn syrup
- Junk food like chips, candy, cake, cookies, and ice cream. It’s okay to cheat once in a while, just don’t make it a habit
- Salt causes water retention in the body. So, avoid adding salt to the foods you cook at home
- Unhealthy fats like margarine, butter, gravy, sauces, mayonnaise, and salad dressings
Just because you are pregnant does not mean you should stop working out. Working out is important if you want to manage your pregnancy weight (7).
But talk to your doctor before you plan your workout regimen. You need at least two to three hours of moderate aerobic activity a week. Yoga, walking, swimming, dancing, and cycling are great options.
[ Read: Simple Exercises During Pregnancy ]
6. Eating for two:
Pregnancy does not mean you have to eat for two. 20 grams of extra protein and 300Kcal of extra energy is all you need to manage a healthy weight gain. Besides calories and proteins, the body also needs essential nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin B12, and calcium.
Nuts provide protein while milk and cereals supply the extra calories. Eggs and yogurt are a great source of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Spinach is high in folic acid, and should be included in your everyday diet. Red meat provides iron.
Women who end up eating too much during pregnancy become obese and can develop problems like high blood pressure and gestational diabetes in the third trimester.
[ Read: Vitamin B During Pregnancy ]
7. Carry your lunch to work:
Pregnant women are too tired to prepare lunch for work. If the morning rush seems overwhelming, try making them the day before. Sandwiches, parathas, and rice are easy to make. Add veggies into the diet, mince/puree them and blend them when making parathas. Eat them with curd for a complete meal. Similarly, veggies can be added to rice to make vegetable pulao and fried rice. Even the humble curd rice has proteins and calcium!
8. Make a conscious choice:
A healthy lifestyle is all about making a conscious choice when eating. The cheese burst pizza topped with fat oozing bacon and other toppings is drool-worthy but does nothing to help your baby or your body. Every time we opt for healthy food, we make a conscious decision to respect our body.
9. Accept the changes:
Respecting your body also means accepting what it is. Gaining weight is normal during pregnancy and, in fact, is essential for your baby’s health. Shed those extra pounds after your baby is born.
But don’t stress yourself about losing the added weight immediately after delivery. Your priority is your child.
[ Read: Tips For Losing Weight After Pregnancy ]
Effects Of Unhealthy Weight Loss On Your Growing Baby:
Losing more weight than expected is not healthy. It can only happen at the beginning of the first trimester due to morning sickness. Unhealthy weight loss can cause the following complications:
- You will give birth to an underweight baby
- Chances of miscarriage are high, especially in the first trimester due to anorexia (eating disorder with an unwanted fear of gaining weight)
- Lesser amniotic fluid due to low nutrition
- Impaired cognitive functioning in the baby
- Small size of the baby
If you are overweight, you don’t need to ‘eat for two’. In fact, if you are obese, you could stand to lose a few pounds without harming your baby. But the key is to stay aware of your body and consult your doctor. So, get started!
Did you try any other ways to lose excess weight? Share the story in the below comment section.