How to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy?
Over or excessive weight is never appreciated. It not only disfigures your body but also brings a number of health hazards with it. Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial for a healthy life. However, it is not an easy task at all. Be it, men or women, everyone struggles hard for a desired body shape!
Talking about pregnant women, in particular, maintaining a healthy weight is necessary for both the mother and the expected baby. Pregnancy turns out to be a weight dilemma for women who are already overweight. This is because having a baby is associated with an inevitable weight gain.
People usually don’t consider losing weight during pregnancy good. However, this isn’t the case. Losing weight within safe limits is beneficial for both the mother and the baby, especially when the mother is already overweight or obese. However, if you had a healthy weight before pregnancy then you must not go for any kind of weight loss struggles. You can continue enjoying this exciting period as much as you can.
How can being overweight affect your child?
Being obese or overweight during pregnancy may lead to,
- Cesarean delivery
- Heart defects in the baby
- Gestational diabetes in mother and type 2 diabetes later in life
- High blood pressure in mother
- Preeclampsia i.e. a severe form of high blood pressure that affects other organs like the kidneys
- Sleep apnea
- Blood clots (especially in your legs)
- Infections in mother
Despite all these health hazards, women are asked to gradually lose weight during pregnancy. They are strictly asked not to go for sudden and quick weight loss diets or programs. It can have adverse effects on the health of their baby.
This respective article discusses some easy ways to aid a gradual and healthy weight loss during pregnancy.
Keep a check and balance on your weight
The first and foremost step to maintain a healthy weight is to know how much weight you need to gain or lose. Keeping a check and balance on weight is crucial for every individual. You need to know the suitable weight according to your height and how can you lose or gain weight healthily. Pregnant ladies who are overweight or obese mostly focus on losing weight. However, they need to understand that there is a human growing inside them which will ultimately cause them to proton weight.
In such a case, knowing how much a healthy amount of weight you can gain and what diet to follow accordingly can be beneficial. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases have generated pregnancy weight gain guidelines that tell you how much weight gain is healthy for you based on your weight prior to pregnancy. According to the guidelines,
- Obese women with BMI of 30 or more can gain 11 to 20 pounds
- Women with BMI between 25 and 29.9 before pregnancy can gain 15 to 25 pounds
- Normal weighted women with 18.5 to 24.9 BMI can gain between 25 and 35 pounds
Women must plan a diet and exercise that don’t cause them to gain weight ranging out of these safe limits.
Cut down on your calories
Cutting down upon your caloric intake is the second key step to a healthy weight loss. It can help you get rid of the excess weight bothering you every day. The number of calories you take, when exceed the calories you burn, increment your weight. It takes a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose 1 pound. Cutting out 500 calories per day can help you lose 1 pound in a week.
To serve this purpose, you must know how many calories you really eat in a day. Look for the nutritional labels on the food you buy from stores or eat at restaurants. Discuss your food plans with an expert dietitian and look for suitable and healthy suggestions and substitutions.
Pregnant women are advised not to eat fewer than 1,700 calories per day. This is the minimum amount to ensure that both the mother and the baby are getting enough energy and nutrients on a regular basis. If your caloric intake exceeds this limit, try following the below-mentioned tips.
- Eat frequently but in smaller portions
- Cut out condiments
- Use plant-based oils rather than unhealthy fats like butter etc.
- Opt for fruits instead of baked goods
- Prefer vegetables on traditional carbohydrates
- Opt for simple water instead of soda water drinks
- Refrain from large amounts of junk food
- Consume low-fat milk or dairy products
Most of the time, pregnant ladies fear exercise because they think it may harm their baby. However, it isn’t true. Exercise overall is beneficial for both. It not only maintains your weight but also reduces birth defects and relieves some common aches and pains, women experience during pregnancy.
Experts recommend a daily 30 minutes of exercise for pregnant women. They can carry it out in shorter intervals of time as well. Some of the best exercises for pregnant women include,
- Prenatal yoga
On contrary, try to avoid,
- Bike riding or skiing
- Activities that are performed in the heat
- Exercises that may cause pain or make you feel dizzy
- Any kind of workout that involves weight on your back
- Carrying heavy weights or climbing stairs often
Address your weight concerns early
A woman gains the majority of the weight during the second and third trimesters of her pregnancy. In addition, the growth of your baby is rapid during the last two months of pregnancy. You can’t control this weight gain. It is attributed to your baby and supporting elements like the placenta. Thus, it’s best to address weight issues during the early stages of pregnancy.
A study published in the journal Obesity reports that women who received advice between weeks 7 and 21 of pregnancy are less likely to gain excess weight during the third trimester. Early planning is a healthy and helpful way to shed excess of the weight. Plan a diet or a healthy workout routine with your doctor or physician. Your doctor can also refer you to a dietitian for a better advice regarding planning meals etc.
Pregnancy is one of the most exciting experiences of a woman’s life. In addition, it demands greater care and responsibility as well. Make better and healthy food choices, make constructive cravings, and work within healthy limits. You must take good care of yourself. Eat healthily, work healthy not only for your child but for yourself too.