Safe Weight Loss While Pregnant
Most doctors agree that pregnant women shouldn’t try to lose weight. However, pregnant women shouldn’t gain too much weight either. In general, doctors suggest that a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is about 25-35 pounds for the average size woman. However, the recommendation for overweight women is between 11 and 20 pounds at a rate of 2 to 3 pounds a month.
The fact is that some overweight women do, in fact, lose weight when they are pregnant, especially in the first few months, sometimes due to morning sickness and other times due to the fact that they are eating better and exercising more. Doctors often determine whether it is healthy for an overweight woman to shed pounds during pregnancy by using her body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is the relationship between your height and weight, and your doctor can help you calculate that. Many would say that if your BMI is over 25 then you can afford to lose some weight and still have a healthy pregnancy. In fact, overweight women are more prone to high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and other health problems during pregnancy. So it is important that these women do everything they can to be as healthy as possible.
Your first step toward safe weight loss during pregnancy is to make sure you are eating a healthy, well balanced diet that gives your baby all the nutrition it needs. Getting enough protein is not only important for the baby but also for helping you keep your blood sugar stable, so make sure to include protein in all your meals and snacks throughout the day. Also, don’t eat big meals. You’re better off eating several small meals, and believe it or not, eating often can help reduce your nausea.
Don’t skip eating first thing in the morning because having a well-balanced breakfast with sufficient protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat can help you feel better all day long. Make sure your carbohydrates are coming from fruit, vegetables, and whole grains rather than from junk foods which have no nutritional value. Try to eat lean proteins rather than high fat ones, and be careful to eat unsaturated fats like olive, canola, and peanut oils rather than the saturated and hydrogenated ones found in margarine, palm oil, and animal fats.
You’ll also need to make sure you are getting plenty of folic acid and iron in your diet, so take your prenatal vitamin every day. If taking this vitamin makes you feel nauseous, try taking it in the middle of the day right after you have eaten something. Keeping a food diary can help you keep track of exactly what you are eating and is something you can share with your doctor or nutritionist to make sure you are on track.
Along with a healthy diet, pregnant women should exercise, not only since it can help you lose weight safely but also since it can help you build up the stamina you will need for labor and delivery. Even if you aren’t someone who normally works out, you can, with your doctor’s permission, start when you are pregnant. The key is to begin slowly and not overdo it. For aerobic conditioning, start with 15 minutes a day and work up to 30 minutes a day of low impact activities. Try things like walking, swimming, and riding the stationary bike, making sure to not let your heart rate be more than 140 beats per minute. Riding a regular bike can be dangerous as can horseback riding and any contact sports. You should also avoid lying flat on your back, sit ups, and any vigorous abdominal activities after the first trimester. For a balanced work out, include some gentle stretching and toning exercises like the ones found in a yoga class specifically geared toward pregnant women.