Weight loss during pregnancy shouldn’t be a choice except recommended by your doctor. Doctors generally will not advice moms- to- be to intentionally try to lose weight like those who are not pregnant but just want to reduce their weight.
In fact, research has it that if a pregnant woman intentionally tries to lose weight, it can increase the chances of her and her baby having complications. So also, restricting calories and nutrients intake all in the bid to follow a diet plan can be very dangerous to the mother and the developing baby. The baby can lack the right nutrients he/she needs in order to grow properly.
Therefore, obese women who are not told to lose weight shouldn’t think of it, when they are pregnant their doctor will talk to them on how to avoid any complications that may surface. Instead of being bothered about losing weight, focus on getting enough nutrients and exercises to keep yourself and the baby.
Weight loss during pregnancy second and Third trimester
However, one may consider losing weight when pregnant if your body mass index is too high, as it may lead to some complications during child birth. Weight loss during pregnancy should be handled with utmost care.
Pregnant women are encouraged to reach a healthy weight before they become pregnant, says the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. But the challenge is what if the woman gets pregnant unexpectedly while being over-weight? How can she safely lose weight to avoid complications.
A reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, Dr Julie Rhee says pregnant women who are obese should continue having a healthy diet and exercise program. A healthy diet together with exercises and portion control and properly balanced meal are encouraged, but with a few caution. Practicing portion control is healthy during pregnancy.
Anyone who is using medications or supplements for weight loss should consult medical personnel to ascertain their safety while pregnant. Moreover, bear in mind that diets which restrict you from eating a several food groups altogether should be avoided.
During pregnancy, women are advised to take part in exercises, but such exercises should not be strenuous ones. You shouldn’t engage in physical activities that are not comfortable for you or that requires you to push very hard.
Be sure to engage in mild physical activities which are comfortable for you, any one of your choice is better than none. According to Dr Gresh, trained in integrated medicine says it is important to focus on how to stay safe and healthy while pregnant rather than on weight loss.
IS WEIGHT LOSS DURING PREGNANCY SAFE?
It is important to know that losing a very small amount of weight at the beginning of a pregnancy is preferable. Nevertheless, studies have shown that weight loss during pregnancy is associated with a high risk of decreased birth weight and preterm delivery.
Such babies with small body weight at birth and are preterm (preterm birth usually occurs when a baby is delivered way too early before she gets to the 37th week of pregnancy and due) may be prone to other health risks because their bodies have not been properly developed in the womb.
You should converse with your doctor regularly so that he can help monitor your weight so that possible health risks can be detected and prevented and just incase there are current complications, remedies will be provided.
Losing too much weight during pregnancy can cause the pregnant mother to suffer and she is as well endangering her baby’s health. Here are some risks associated with losing too much weight:
- The baby will lack proper nutrition and may be born underweight.
- The baby is at risk of having poor cognitive function.
- There will be reduction in amniotic fluid.
- The mother is prone to miscarriages in the first trimester due to anorexia.
- The mother might feel weak and tired always and she will be prone to infections as well.
HOW TO SAFELY LOSE WEIGHT DURING PREGNANCY
Weight loss during pregnancy shouldn’t be the aim of every pregnant woman. According to Dr Gresh, pregnant women who are overweight should still eat a lot of vegetables and protein as well. The goal is to be healthy. Pregnant obese women should not set their goal towards gaining weight or losing weight. Eat foods with high quality nutrients. During the first trimester, pregnant women should avoid eating excessively. Here are few things to do about your eating habits:
Consult approved dietitian: pregnant women who are obese and want to control their eating habits should talk to a dietitian, so he/she can guide you and give you a list of foods to concentrate on and those not to eat. He will also prescribe healthy foods.
Make sure to increase your vegetable intake: when having your regular meals, be sure to serve yourself with a lot of vegetables every time you eat.
Stay hydrated: drink lots of water during pregnancy as it is of utmost importance. It is also good if you engage in exercises. Drinking plenty of water can make you feel full and can help manage excessive eating.
Reduce the sugar intake: you should avoid the consumption of foods that have high sugar levels. Instead eat more of fruits because fruits contain natural sugar which is healthier. However, you should limit yourself to two servings daily. You can have fruits with protein such as apple and peanut butter and make sure to eat fruits high in fiber such as berries, peas or apples. You should try as much as possible to reduce your consumption of bananas, mangoes, pineapple, watermelon, cherries and grapes.
Always eat healthy snacks: eat more of fruits and vegetables instead of junk foods. Eat foods which are rich source of foliate such as strawberries, spinach and beans.
Eat more of whole grains carbs: You should plan out how you will eat your whole grain carbs and eat them minimally. Whole grains carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat etc. Ensure to avoid white, refined grains.
Ensure you take prenatal vitamins: use your prenatal vitamins as prescribed by your doctor. If you follow your doctor’s prescription by taking it every day, you will be able to meet your nutritional needs without having to consume too many calorie foods. Remember not to substitute supplements for foods and make sure you eat healthy foods so you can have the required nutrients that will be absorbed by your body.
Make sure to eat lean protein: lean protein such as chicken, fish and turkey are best advised but you should stay away from fried foods. Eat more of fresh meat and sea foods; eat fewer meats that are processed such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausage.
Choose to eat smaller meals: Consuming huge meals at once may result into indigestion and heartburn sometimes. If you become very hungry all day long, you should go for six smaller meals instead of three huge ones.
Avoid skipping meals: make sure you have a plan for how often you will eat and when to eat so that you can get enough and adequate nutrition.
During pregnancy, exercise programs are also a good way for a pregnant woman to keep fit, as it is also very beneficial for the mother and child. According to Dr Gresh, walking is very good, as it is less tasking and not strenuous. Ensure to take random walks everyday not until you have to get somewhere, it stretches the muscles.
Dr Gresh also said pregnancy yoga classes and fitness classes are good options as well. Jogging and aerobic exercises are also good together with walking as mentioned earlier. These light exercises can be done for about 30minutes daily. It is beneficial to the mom and the baby and it helps the mother during labor and postpartum recovery.
YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW MUCH WEIGHT LOSS IS TOO MUCH
Do not embark on weight loss during pregnancy except recommended by your doctor. Weight gain during pregnancy is normal and pregnant women who are adding weight should not be worried.
Dr Han states, says “several studies have shown that weight gain which is below the recommended limits maybe beneficial for women with higher body mass index(BMI) 30 kg/m2 before pregnancy, but it may increase the risk for delivering small babies in women with normal or low BMI.”
Below are recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine on how much weight or body mass index pregnant women should have before pregnancy:
- BMI<18.5 KG/M2 should aim for 28-40 pounds
- BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2 should aim for 25-35 pounds
- BMI 25-29.9 kg/m2 should aim for 15-25 pounds
- BMI 30 kg/m2 should aim for 11-20 pounds
You should find how much weight you need: naturally, when you are pregnant you will gain weight even if you are obese for the well being of your child. You should Measure your weight and with the help of a pregnancy chart, calculate how much weight you need. Your aim should be to stay within the limit.
FOODS TO EAT
Here are foods obese pregnant women should eat:
Fruits, vegetables and whole grains: are very important and in fact compulsory for obese pregnant women. They are low in calories but easily satisfy. They contain vital nutrients for pregnancy such as iron, vitamin C and folic acid.
Fresh spinach salad: pregnant women should try this with a slice of apple wedges or whole-wheat toast mixed together with berries.
Lean proteins and calcium
Oils and sugars too, but make sure to limit their quantities.
Low fat Greek yogurt, baked chicken breast and green beans are very healthy for obese pregnant women.
SIDE EFFECTS OF BEING OVERWEIGHT DURING PREGNANCY
An Obese or overweight pregnant woman may be faced with some health risks as well as the unborn baby. Below are some of the risks the mother and baby can encounter:
Sometimes, pregnant obese women have miscarriages.
The child in the womb may be bigger than the average size expected and it can cause the child to become obese later in life.
The mother is at risk of developing gestational diabetes which could also cause the child to be too big resulting to difficulty in child delivery through the vaginal.
When the baby grows to become an adult, he/she has a higher risk of having a heart disease or diabetes.
Women who are obese can face problems during child delivery and labor.
The child could be diagnosed with neural tube defects.
The woman has an increased risk of Urinary tract infections during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.
Since delivery through the vaginal might be difficult, an option is the C-section, which means she has greater chances of having an infection or losing excessive blood.
It will be difficult to monitor foetal development in the womb.
The woman might have preeclampsia, which is very risky such that it can reduce the flow of blood to the baby.
WHY YOU SHOULD LOSE WEIGHT BEFORE BECOMING PREGNANT
In order to have a healthy pregnancy, you have to focus on your health before you conceive. Having a healthy weight before pregnancy can make it easier for you to conceive and as well reduce the risk of having pregnancy complications.
This is so because studies have shown that those who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and higher which means (obesity) have lower chances of having normal ovulation. You should be informed that, obesity can cause In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to be unsuccessful. The following are ways to lose weight before pregnancy:
- You should consult your doctor for a preconception appointment
- You could talk to an obesity specialist or approved dietitian.
- Make sure to eat a healthy diet
- You can participate in a less strenuous aerobic activity for 75minutes or 150 minutes every day a week. You can combine vigorous and moderate physical activities.
DISCLAIMER: the above should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. It is important to consult a medical professional even after reading this article as he/she will provide more detailed and valued information.