When you are pregnant, it is all about gaining weight. “Eat for two” is the common advice a pregnant woman hears all the time. But what if you are already overweight?
Obesity today has become an epidemic. But obese women do get pregnant. So, should they gain as much weight as a woman with normal weight is expected to gain during pregnancy? No!
There are different guidelines when it comes to weight gain during pregnancy.
- Overweight/obese women need to gain 15 – 20 pounds or less (1)
- Underweight women need to gain 28 – 40 pounds
- Women carrying multiples should gain 37 – 54 pounds
Some overweight women seek to manage their weight while pregnant. While the general advice given to pregnant women is not to lose weight intentionally, it can be done. But if you are looking to lose a little weight while pregnant, talk to your doctor before you take any steps.
Read on to know here about how to lose weight during pregnancy safely.
Effect Of Obesity On Pregnancy:
We have all heard about obesity and its health risks. But how does the extra weight impact a pregnancy? Here’s all that an obese pregnant woman may have to deal with:
1. Gestational Diabetes: Obese women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
2. Preeclampsia: Women with an extremely high BMI are at risk of preeclampsia or high BP.
3. Infection: Overweight women are at increased risk of infections during pregnancy and after giving birth.
4. Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Obesity commonly causes apnea in people. Pregnancy makes the risk of apnea even higher.
5. Labor Problems: Obese women are more likely to need induction to kickstart labor. It can also interfere with epidural block, making the whole labor process a nightmare.
6. Pregnancy Loss: Miscarriage chances go up in obese women. As does the chance of stillbirth.
7. Large Babies: Obese women are more likely to give birth to babies who are large who their gestational age (2) . This may make a c-section unavoidable.
8. Premature Birth: Women who are obese before they become pregnant face the risk of delivering their babies before 28 weeks of pregnancy (3) .
[ Read: Chances Of Preterm Labor ]
Managing Weight While Pregnant:
Many women lose weight in the first and last trimester of their pregnancy. This is especially common with obese women. But if you start losing weight drastically, talk to your doctor. Most of this weight loss happens because of morning sickness and digestion problems. So, while you may celebrate losing a few pounds, the way you lose it is the main issue.
If you want to manage your weight while pregnant, we have some easy tips on how to lose weight during pregnancy if overweight. If you follow these tips, you will prevent extra weight gain, and maybe lose a few pounds too. And all this without harming your pregnancy! Here’s what you need to do to manage your weight during pregnancy:
1. Understand Your Calorie Needs:
As mentioned earlier, all pregnant women don’t need to gain equal amount of weight. So, you need to know exactly how many calories you need. Talk to your doctor to get the exact number.
[ Read: Calories Required In Pregnancy ]
2. Eat Frequent, Small Meals:
This is true when you want to manage your weight, pregnant or not. Eating frequent small meals helps you manage your portion size. This is especially useful when you are pregnant and eating a full meal makes 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 this is it! 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 make do with supplements. You need food, just not as much as people would have you believe.
4. Eat Healthy Food:
Now that you know that you need to follow a proper diet, let’s find out what is healthy for you.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Cereals and breads made with whole grains.
- Low-fat milk and dairy products.
- Foods rich in folate like strawberries, spinach, and beans.
- Unsaturated “good” fats like olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil.
There is a long 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. But talk to your doctor before you plan your workout regimen. You need at least 2 – 3 hours of moderate aerobic activity weekly. Yoga, walking, swimming, dancing, and cycling are great options.
[ Read: Walking During Pregnancy ]
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!
Hope this article helped you know how to lose weight in pregnancy safely. How much weight have you gained? Are you trying to lose weight while pregnant? Tell us in the comments section below.
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