Last updated: March 9, 2020
Kate Killoran M.D.
Obstetrics & Gynecology
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Eating for two can lead to some serious regret when it comes to trying to lose the baby weight. Manage your weight gain during pregnancy with our top five tips!
Pregnancy and weight gain seem to go hand in hand. Of course they should. After all, you are spending the better part of a year growing a brand new human inside your body. But with the birth of your baby comes sleepless nights, and long days. The last thing many new moms want to focus on is losing the baby weight.
The best way to bounce back after baby is to manage your weight during pregnancy. You need to gain weight to have a healthy pregnancy. Yet managing a healthy weight gain during your three trimesters can help ensure a healthier pregnancy. Being overweight or gaining a lot of weight in pregnancy puts women at risk for gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recently changed the guidelines around weight gain in pregnancy. The amount of weight gain recommended depends on your current body mass index (BMI).
Check out how much weight you should gain with this pregnancy weight gain calculator
Weight can be a sensitive issue during pregnancy. Many expecting mothers have food aversions, nausea and vomiting that can make it difficult to eat any food, let alone make healthy choices.
While each pregnancy is different and unique, in general there are some best practices when it comes to approaching weight management during pregnancy.
Drinking water and pregnancy should go hand in hand. Not only does water play an important role in developing your placenta and amniotic sac, but it also helps avoid one very uncomfortable pregnancy complication-constipation.
Pregnant women need more water than the average person. It is recommended that pregnant women drink 8-12 glasses of water a day.
Drinking enough water will help keep you hydrated during pregnancy and avoid maternal overheating. An easy way to determine if you are getting enough water is to look at the color of your urine. It should be clear. The darker hue, the more likely you are not drinking enough.
Choosing water over other beverages is important because you are getting your necessary hydration without additional empty calories and unnecessary sugar.
Indulge Cravings (in Moderation)
Cravings and pregnancy seem to go hand in hand. Many women report craving unusual foods, foods they normally do not enjoy and even unusual items such as crunching on ice.
While it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods, that doesn’t mean that you need to deny yourself all of your cravings. Enjoying a sweet or salty treat in moderation is fine as long as it is part of a healthy diet.
So don’t deny yourself that ice cream sundae, just don’t make it a daily habit.
Exercise during pregnancy is not only beneficial for a healthy weight gain, but it also offers many other physical and mental health benefits.
Not only does exercise provide health benefits for you and your baby, but it may also benefit your mental health.
A 2014 research study determined that exercise during pregnancy is able to increase self confidence, increase the quality of life and make a positive impact on mind and body.
Exercise during pregnancy can also help you sleep better, lower your stress level and help prepare your body for birth.
Exercise is not always safe during pregnancy. It is important to clear any activity first with your healthcare provider to make sure it is safe for you and your baby-to-be.
Eat Smaller Meals Often
Eating during pregnancy does not mean eating for two. Instead, it is a special time in a woman’s life where their eating habits have the ability to directly impact another life. It is important to focus on eating the right foods in smaller amounts more often.
Choosing lean proteins, whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables is recommended for healthy fetal development.
Making healthy choices is easier when you keep your blood sugar consistent. By the second and third trimester your body will require about 300 extra calories per day. Adding in an extra healthy snack can help you to add in those calories while keeping your blood sugar steady.
Start at a Healthy Weight
The thought of losing weight right before you spend almost a year gaining it may seem like a silly thought to some people, but it actually makes a lot of sense.
Pregnancy is physically and mentally tough and in starting the journey in peak physical condition can help to achieve a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Those who are underweight are encouraged to gain extra weight to compensate during pregnancy. This can be difficult if the woman has food aversions or other complications such as hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes severe nausea and vomiting.
Women who start their pregnancy overweight are encouraged to gain less weight during pregnancy. More than half of American women start their pregnancy overweight or obese. Gaining too much weight while pregnant can increase your risk of complications like c-section delivery, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
Related: How to Know if Labor is Near
Let Your Doctor Worry About the Scale
Pregnancy is not a good time in your life to worry about the scale. Whether you started your pregnancy at your ideal weight or not, it is a season of life where it is important to gain weight in order to have a healthy baby.
Your healthcare provider will monitor your weight gain and let you know if it is a cause for concern or not. Focusing on eating healthy foods rather than the number on the scale is important for both your physical and mental well being during pregnancy.
If you are concerned about your pregnancy diet you can connect with one of our doctors now.
Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.
About Kate Killoran M.D.
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