How to Lose Weight while Pregnant – Getting pregnant is an exciting experience for every woman. The joy of looking forward to having a baby is one of the best feelings ever. One thing most women don’t look forward to during pregnancy is gaining extra weight. However, this is inevitable and totally normal.
Gaining extra weight during pregnancy is natural (1). It is necessary for the woman’s body to make adjustments that will sustain the baby growing inside of her.
This can be a major concern for women that are normally obese or overweight. Several debates exist over the amount of weight that you should lose or if it is even safe to gain or try to lose weight during pregnancy.
There are some risks involved for overweight women when they are pregnant. Every overweight pregnant woman should know those risks and the best way to handle them and ensure the best health conditions during pregnancy.
Overweight women give birth to healthy children every day, so why then should your condition be different.
As an overweight woman that is pregnant, you should consult your doctor on whether you need to lose pounds during pregnancy or not. Your doctor should also inform you on the best possible ways to go about it if you need to lose weight.
You should not just place yourself on a pregnancy diet plan to lose weight without consulting your doctor. Your body and the baby inside of you require some specific type and quantity of nutrient for a healthy growth.
Risks Involved In Having Excess Weight During Pregnancy
Being overweight when you are pregnant has some negative consequences. It can cause a lot of complications for both the mother and the unborn child. Such complications include:
- Premature birth
- Cesarean delivery
- Heart defects in baby
- Underweight baby
- Impaired cognitive functioning in the baby
- Preeclampsia in the mother: This is an extreme form of high blood pressure that only occurs during pregnancy.
- Gestational diabetes in the mother
- Blood clots
- Several infections in the mother
Is it Safe to Lose Weight While Pregnant?
Studies suggest that only pregnant women whose excess weight poses a threat to the health of their unborn children should consider losing weight during pregnancy.
Research also shows that losing weight during pregnancy is possible, safe and beneficial for women that are overweight (women who have a BMI of over 30) (2).
How to Lose Weight While Pregnant
There are safe ways to lose excess weight when you are pregnant. Losing weight in the first and last trimester is normal and natural especially among obese women. This is due to morning sickness and some digestive problems.
However, it is not really about just losing weight. You should be more concerned about losing weight the right and safe way.
Here are some easy ways to lose weight during pregnancy. If you follow these ways, you will not only lose a few pounds but also stop gaining extra weight. Today marks an end to your ignorance on how to lose weight while pregnant.
1. Know the Necessary Weight You Should Gain
As much as you want to lose weight during pregnancy, you still need to gain some weight. It is necessary to gain weight that will sustain you and your unborn child during pregnancy.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) provide a guideline for the amount of healthy weight to gain during pregnancy (3).
- Overweight or Obese women (BMI of 30 and above) need to gain 11-20 pounds during pregnancy.
- Women whose BMI is between 29 and 30 need to gain 15-25 pounds during pregnancy.
- Women with normal body weight (BMI of 18.5-24.9) need to gain 25-35 pounds.
- Underweight women (BMI less than 18.5) should gain 28-40 pounds.
You should think of how to lose weight while pregnant only when you have gained weight in excess of the required weight as shown above.
2. Address Weight Concerns Early
You already know it is natural for you to gain weight during pregnancy. Weight gain occurs the most in the second and third trimesters. It is advisable to see your doctor early to find out how to lose weight while pregnant. The earlier you know the easier for you and your doctor to come up with a weight control/loss plan.
3. Reduce Your Calorie-Intake
Any woman that wants to know how to lose weight while pregnant should be ready to reduce her intake of high-calorie food. A lot of women gain excess weight by eating more calories than their bodies burn off. Before you can lose 1 pound, you need to introduce a 3,500 calorie deficit to your diet.
Before you can reduce your calorie intake, you need to know how many calories you actually consume on a daily basis. You can look up the nutritional contents of the foods you consume if available, to know how much calories they contain (4). You can also see a dietitian.
Note that women should not eat anything less than 1,700 calories daily during pregnancy. That is the minimum required to ensure you and your unborn baby get enough energy and nutrients to stay healthy.
If you consume a lot more calories per day, you need to reduce your daily calorie intake. Ways to reduce your calorie-intake include:
- Eat smaller portions of food
- Consume more of fruits and less of baked goods
- Eat more vegetables instead of traditional carbohydrates
- Drink water regularly to stay hydrated and cut out soda
- Eat a lot of pre-natal vitamins as recommended by your doctor
- Remove condiments from your diet
- Stay away from unhealthy fats
- Avoid junk foods
Read– The Best 7 Healthy Foods for Pregnant Women
4. Exercise for Weight Loss During Pregnancy
Some women stop working out when they get pregnant. They fear that it might be dangerous to their unborn child. Well, that is not totally true. Lots of them don’t know how to lose weight while pregnant with some exercises.
Exercise helps in managing weight during pregnancy. It also reduces birth defects and eases pain/aches associated with pregnancy.
However, you should consult your doctor before you begin any exercise regimen. You need to find out the kind of exercises that can help you lose weight and keep your body healthy for birth. Some of the safe exercises for women during pregnancy include:
- Pre-natal Yoga
Do not undergo high-intensity exercises when you are pregnant. These kind of exercises are dangerous to your unborn child. If you start experiencing some symptoms when exercising, stop and call your doctor.
These symptoms may occur due to a number of reasons that your doctor will explain to you. Some of the symptoms to watch out for are as follows:
- Chest pain
- Abnormal shortness of breath
- Bleeding or any gush of fluid secretion from your vagina
- Painful contractions in your uterus
5. Eat A Healthy Diet
There is no specific diet to lose weight while pregnant. However, you can see your doctor to formulate a pregnancy diet plan to lose weight for you.
There are some nutrients that your body needs to function properly during pregnancy. For example, folate or folic acid is an important nutrient that prevents defects in childbirth.
You need to consume about 1,000mcg of folic acid every day during pregnancy. Sources of folate include; peas, citrus fruits, leafy greens, etc. You also need about 1,000mg of calcium, 27mg of iron and 71g of proteins daily.
Foods to include in your diet are:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Low-fat milk and dairy products
- Foods rich in folates such as spinach, strawberries, and beans
- Unsaturated fats like peanut oil, canola oil, and olive oil
- Lean protein
- Pre-natal vitamins containing folic acid
There is a long list of foods you should avoid to manage your weight during pregnancy. Here they are:
- Food that contains artificial sweeteners
- Processed and canned foods
- Sugary foods and drinks
- Junk foods like cake, cookies, candy and ice cream.
- Salty food
- Unhealthy fats like butter, margarine, mayonnaise,etc.
Read- Keto Diet Plan Recipes That Will Make You Lose Weight in 7 Days
6. Accept the Changes
We have now ascertained that gaining weight during pregnancy is normal. It is also beneficial to your child’s health. You can consider losing weight after baby delivery.
Though you now know how to lose weight while pregnant. It is not advisable for all women. Remember that only overweight women should try to lose weight when they are pregnant.
Dieting and high-intensity exercises are not advisable. You should consult your doctor before you make any weight loss decisions during pregnancy.
I wish you a safe delivery!