The period of pregnancy is a time when many women gain weight, and many more women struggle to lose it. It is a time when you want to be as healthy as possible. So you need the energy and strength to take care of yourself and your baby, and you also want to be in the best shape possible for labor and delivery.
But that does not mean you have to be on an intense diet or exercise plan during pregnancy. Most doctors agree that being too restrictive can make it harder for you to lose weight after giving birth. It can be tempting to jump right into a crash diet to lose it all. But doing so could put your health and that of your baby at risk.
I know the next mind bugling question for you now is, what is the solution?
Well, first of all, if you are one of these women and you are struggling with those extra pounds, it might be comforting enough to know that you are not alone! It is estimated that about 70% of women gain more weight during pregnancy than they should.
Having said that, the good news is that it is possible to safely lose weight during pregnancy. I know you are wondering, how is this even possible. Lose weight during pregnancy?
Here is the thing, there are plenty of healthy ways to shed those extra pounds, and they do not have to be difficult or stressful.
Here are 5 tips for losing weight during pregnancy:
- Talk to your doctor or midwife
- Eat balanced and nutrient-rich diets
- Get moving and exercise in moderation
- Drink plenty of water
- Understand your limit
Losing Weight Healthily During Pregnancy
The key is to focus on exercise and healthy eating rather than dieting or restricting certain foods. But before you begin any of this too, your first line of action is to;
1. Talk to Your Doctor or Midwife
The best way to lose weight during pregnancy is with the help of your doctor or midwife.
You and your doctor should get together to talk about your goals, how you can reach them, and what options are available to you.
At this meeting, make sure to bring up any concerns or worries that you have about losing weight during pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to help you decide if there are any special considerations for you. For example, if you have a history of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia (high blood pressure), these conditions may affect what kind of diet is best for you during this time in your life.
Your doctor can also help determine if there’s anything else contributing to your weight gains—like stress, sleep deprivation, or an underlying medical condition like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). If any factors like these could be contributing to your weight gain, they’ll need to be addressed before starting a new diet plan or exercise routine.
Your doctor may recommend regular visits with a nutritionist who specializes in dietary changes that are safe during pregnancy. Many doctors will also recommend working with a registered dietitian who specializes in maternal nutrition as well as an exercise physiologist who can prescribe safe exercises during pregnancy.
2. Eat balanced and nutrient-rich diets
Having met with your doctor, it is best to adhere to the prescribed diet plan. You should not go on a diet during pregnancy without first seeking professional advice from a medical or nutritional expert.
During pregnancy, it is important that you be mindful of what you eat at each mealtime, and don’t skip meals! Eating regularly helps regulate blood sugar levels which means less hunger between meals so you won’t feel tempted by junk food when hunger strikes later on down the road (and thus less chance for overeating). This also keeps metabolism humming along smoothly. However, it’s important to eat enough nutrient-rich foods to support your baby’s health.
Eat more protein-rich foods like chicken, eggs, and yogurt, and include more healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and seeds in your diet too. These are all good sources of energy and help keep you feeling full longer so you won’t be tempted by unhealthy snacks throughout the day.
Focus on fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins throughout the day and eat small meals frequently rather than three large meals per day. Eating small frequent meals can help prevent nausea or vomiting during pregnancy.
Avoid the erroneous myth of “eating for two” or increasing your portions at mealtimes. This could lead to unnecessary weight gain, and make it painstakingly difficult to lose weight after pregnancy.
3. Exercise in moderation.
Exercising to lose weight during pregnancy is a great way to make sure you’re in good shape for labor and delivery. It can also help you get back on track after delivery, so you can start losing weight again.
But there are some things to be aware of before you start exercising in preparation for your baby’s arrival.
How do you know if it’s safe?
First, check with your doctor. They’ll be able to tell you what exercises are safe for pregnant women and which ones aren’t. Also, they can help identify exercises and physical activities that might contribute to medical complications or harm the fetus which you must avoid.
Your doctor will let you know if there are any special precautions they want you to take while exercising during pregnancy, they will also inform you of any risks associated with an exercise routine for pregnant women like yourself. This will help keep both of you informed about what’s going on inside your body so you both can work together towards reaching your goal of having a healthy baby.
Some common exercises for pregnant women include;
Walking is a great way to lose weight! To get started, make sure you can comfortably walk for 30 minutes without stopping. If you’re unsure, speak to your doctor. Once you’ve confirmed that it’s safe for you to start walking, here are some simple ways to add in more walking:
– Walk with your partner or a friend for 30 minutes
– Walk around the block (or even better, all the way around!)
– Walk to the grocery store and back
– Walk at lunchtime
– Walk on a treadmill
If you are not accustomed to regular exercise, begin by jogging for 5 minutes and then walking for 1 minute. Repeat that cycle 3 times. As your cardiovascular system strengthens, build up to 10 minutes of jogging, and 1 minute of walking, and repeat that cycle up until your water breaks!
Jogging is important because it is a great way to keep heart rate elevated, which is beneficial for burning calories and fat. In addition to the physical benefits, jogging can be a great way to improve mental health as well with its ability to reduce stress and increase endorphins. Women who have bad knees or ankles may want to opt out of this one though since chronic wear on joints can make these issues worse over time.
- Low-intensity weight training
Try low-intensity lightweight training. For example, if you’re lifting weights: be sure to lift weights that are light enough to allow you to complete a full set of 10-12 reps. Focus on low weight and high repetitions.
Yoga is a great way to strengthen your abdominal muscles and improve balance. It also provides stress relief, which may be especially beneficial if you’re pregnant.
Yoga poses can be modified for pregnant women, but it’s best to talk to your doctor first.
If you’re not already doing yoga, begin with an introductory class or video that includes basic poses and/or moves at a slower pace.
You should also check with the studio or instructor about their policy on teaching pregnant women before starting a class. Some instructors only teach prenatal yoga after the first trimester of pregnancy, some don’t teach it at all and others are more open-minded about working with new moms-to-be from day one! If your preferred studio doesn’t work out for you, try another one nearby that does feature prenatal classes.
Pilates is a form of exercise that uses breathing and stretching to increase muscle strength, improve flexibility, and posture, and develop control and endurance in the entire body. It can be done at home with mats or on specialized machines with the help of a certified instructor.
Pilates is often used by those who have had back injuries or surgeries to help retrain muscles and increase flexibility.
Swimming is a great low-impact exercise that pregnant women can do. Staying cool while swimming is important because it helps keep you, and your baby, at a comfortable temperature. Swimming also helps to build up cardiovascular strength and fitness which will help you feel better and get through your pregnancy comfortably. Swimming can also tone muscles without building them up too much so it’s great for keeping yourself in shape during pregnancy.
All of these exercises are important for pregnant women, but remember the recommendation for pregnant women is at least 30 minutes of moderate activity at least two days a week. So don’t overdo it!
4. Drink plenty of water
Another key activity to undertake to help lose weight during pregnancy is to drink plenty of water. Since the body is already working hard enough in this condition, there’s no need to make it work any harder. In addition to replacing lost fluids via drinking more liquids, you should also make sure that your body gets a healthy diet and adequate levels of calcium and Vitamin D to maintain bone health throughout your pregnancy.
On top of that, if you’re feeling hungry or thirsty, reach for water instead of sodas or sugary fruit drinks. While you certainly don’t want to get too far ahead on the calories, these beverages are often high in sugars and other unhealthy ingredients that shouldn’t be consumed during pregnancy. It would also be a good idea for pregnant women with high blood pressure or kidney disease not to consume large amounts of caffeine because it can raise blood pressure levels in some individuals.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day—at least eight 8-ounce glasses per day.
5. Understand your limits
It’s important to navigate your weight loss plan with caution. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best course of action, and they should be consulted before you start implementing any changes. But it is advisable you know yourself and understands your limits.
If you are experiencing severe stress, depression, or anxiety, this is not a good time to try and make changes to your lifestyle. Severe mental health issues can affect the health of your pregnancy and baby, and it is always best to address these concerns first. Similarly, if you are a high-risk pregnant due to medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, please consult with your doctor before starting a new weight loss regime. Weight loss during pregnancy can have advantages for some women – but it is highly recommended that any woman considering this seek medical advice first.
As a pregnant woman, you might have a lot on your mind. From worries about stretch marks to cravings, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never lose the weight that comes with being pregnant. But all of these can be maintained and controlled the right way.
There are plenty of healthy ways to shed those extra pounds during pregnancy and get back into shape once your baby is born. The outlines stated above are a very good place to start.