If you want to lose weight during pregnancy, you need to know why excess weight is a problem in the first place.
If you start off your pregnancy as an obese person (a body mass index of 40 and above), you could develop medical complications.
These may include high blood pressure, kidney disease or gestational diabetes. During childbirth, you may have a stillbirth or miscarriage, prolonged labor, heavy bleeding, premature delivery or an emergency caesarian section.
In this study, it was shown that pregnancy-associated illnesses increased with an increase in the severity of obesity. Miscarriage rates in obese women were 13% higher than in normal-weight women.
It is thus in your best interest to lose weight during pregnancy if you are overweight.
However, if you lose weight the wrong way, you can risk giving birth to an underweight baby and not having enough nutrients for a normal body functioning. Here are some ways you can do so safely.
How to Safely Lose Weight During Pregnancy
1. Know what weight gain comes from the pregnancy
Some women start to panic whenever they see the scale move upward. That is absolutely unnecessary.
Before you embark on your weight loss journey, you need to know what is normal. All weight gain in pregnancy should occur gradually as your baby develops.
In the first trimester (3 months) expect to gain about 4 pounds. Then in the next 6 months, expect to gain a pound a week. In total, expect an increase of 15-35 pounds from the baby’s development alone.
This is because your body needs to form the placenta, amniotic fluid, the baby’s body parts, blood supply, breast tissue and expand your uterus for normal birth.
If you are aware of these numbers then watch out for weight gain above the stated limit. If you gain more than 4 pounds in the first trimester, you need to take precautions.
2. Know the recommended calories you should eat
In order to lose weight during pregnancy, you need to know what quantity of food is required.
As a minimum, no pregnant woman should go below 1,700 calories daily.
However, if you are obese, you might be eating twice or thrice this amount. This is what you need to reduce.
Usually, in the first trimester, the baby is so small that you don’t need a lot of calories. In the second trimester, the fetal development process takes up 300 calories and in the third trimester, this process consumes 500 calories a day.
3. Do it in the first trimester
The best time to lose weight is in your first trimester because you can change your food intake without affecting the baby negatively.
This is the time when you should really minimize overeating. It is also the best time to exercise as the fetus would not be affected adversely by the impact of your workouts.
4. Don’t eat for 2
Most women mistakenly assume that since they are eating for two, they need to double the quantity of food. This myth causes most pregnancy weight gain.
In this study, it was shown that when women eat for two, they overestimate the amount of food they need to eat.
This idea psychologically predisposes you to throw all caution to the wind and overindulge.
As mentioned above, you only need an additional 300 calories per day for your pregnancy. Women who think they are eating for two may exaggerate these quantities and eat 5 times more than they need.
5. Eat healthy nutritious food
Instead of doubling up on the quantity of food you eat, double up on the quality. Focus on meals that will support a healthy pregnancy. Incidentally, these nutrient-rich foods also cause weight loss.
Aim to eat only whole grain foods. This means that your bread, pasta or rice should be made up of whole grains.
Eat lean meats like fish and poultry, nuts and seeds. Take vegetables, beans, and legumes. Finally, consume dairy or alternative to dairy like soy.
6. Know the recommended quantity of healthy food
It is essential to only eat what you need to so as to lose weight during pregnancy.
For the food groups above, vegetables are essential. You need about 5 servings of vegetables a day.
For fruit, you need about 2 cups daily. Whole grains or high fiber starches should be 8.5 servings.
Do not exceed 3.5 servings of lean meat or legumes. Dairy should be about 2.5 cups.
7. Manage your cravings
Apart from the psychological assumption of eating for 2, cravings also account for many women’s inability to lose weight during pregnancy. This usually causes pregnant women to overeat unhealthy foods.
To outsmart food cravings, get emotional support if mood swings cause you to use food as a crutch. Eat small quantities of any unhealthy foods you desire like ice cream.
Additionally, eat breakfast and keep alternative healthier snacks for those moments when you can’t resist your cravings.
8. Stay away from junk food
Junk food is rich in calories but low in nutrients. This is the last thing you need to lose weight during pregnancy.
Foods like chips, donuts and cake do not have fiber so you don’t get full until you have overdone it. They also contain too many added sugars or fat, which are unhelpful in weight loss.
9. Try swimming
Exercise is a critical aspect of weight management. You need to engage in a low impact exercise, that won’t affect the baby or induce labor. However, you need to burn calories too.
Swimming is great for expectant women because it strengthens your core, relieves back pain, reduces stress on your joints, reduces overheating and uses up all your muscle groups.
In this study, it was shown that swimming firms and tones the back, legs, arms and.
10. Do some walking
Walking is yet another low impact strategy you can use to stay in shape and lose some of those extra calories.
Start with moderate walking then increase the duration and intensity as you progress.
You could begin with 15-20 minutes of walking 3 days a week. Then after 4 weeks, graduate to 20-25 minutes, 4 days a week. Eventually, get to 60 minutes a day for 6 days. Alternatively, you can take on this walking challenge.
Always monitor your level of exertion so that it does not exceed a 7 out of 10 personal ratings. Stop when you reach this level.
11. Yoga is great for pregnancy
Yoga is quite helpful in pregnancy because of the effect it has on your muscles. It helps to tone the abdominal core muscles, hips, and pelvic floor.
If you do yoga poses like backbends or legs, you can maintain your muscles.
Muscles help you to lose weight in pregnancy because they keep burning calories even when you are not exercising.
12. Eat small portions
Weight loss happens when you eat fewer calories than your body uses. To reduce this quantity, try to listen to your body.
Eat when hungry and stop as soon as you feel full. 3-4 meals a day would be ideal.
Always have healthy snacks like nuts and fruit when you move about. Drink enough water and fluids then eat slowly to notice signs of fullness.
Bonus: Do Bodyweight Exercises
Bodyweight exercises are ideal for pregnant women because they have a very low injury risk.
However, stay away from exercises that involve a lot of jumping like burpees. Instead, do low impact exercises like squats.
If you’re in your first trimester, add these 28 fat-burning workouts to your routine.
The Bottom Line
Pregnancy is a period where you need to prioritize the unborn baby’s welfare. If you lose weight during pregnancy, it is a way of safeguarding your child’s health.
However, it should only be done if you are already obese. Make healthy diet choices and try low-impact workouts.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]