Best Ways to Reduce Weight Safely During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most awaited and happy moments in all women's lives. While the majority of the women plan their pregnancy by maintaining an ideal weight beforehand, some women conceive unexpectedly.

When overweight and obese women conceive unexpectedly, the ever so happy and awaited moment turns into a weight dilemma. This is because of the inevitable weight gain linked with having a baby.

A number of recent studies report that losing weight during pregnancy can both be possible and beneficial for the pregnant women who have a BMI above 30 and are extremely overweight or obese. But, while trying to lose weight, pregnant women must not cut on the essential nutrients that the body needs for baby’s growth.

Also, exercises must be done only after consultation with the doctor. Sometimes, losing weight is even marked as appropriate for pregnant women who were at a healthy weight before pregnancy.

The health and growth of the future baby rely on the mother in numerous ways. The mother’s body carries and nourishes the baby for nine months or 40 weeks, helping them to develop and grow as healthy and fit individuals.

Here, extra weight can cause a lot of problems to both the mother and the baby. Excess weight gets in the way of a lot of bodily processes. Obesity during pregnancy can lead to the following problems.

  • Infections in mother

  • C-section or cesarean delivery

  • Defects in the heart of the baby

  • Premature delivery

  • Stillbirth

  • Type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes in mother

  • Sleep apnea

  • Blood clots, specifically in the mother’s legs

  • High blood pressure in mother

  • Preeclampsia, a severe state of high blood pressure that can also affect other organs, such as the kidneys

While excess weight might cause the above-mentioned problems in mother, the best approach to deal with weight loss during pregnancy is through a steady, yet gradual plan with a focus on healthier lifestyle changes. Losing weight gradually is considered to be the best way for both the mother and the baby. But, if your doctor recommends that you lose weight and says that the excess weight can harm you or your baby, then here mentioned are the best ways to reduce weight safely during pregnancy.

Best Ways to Lose Weight During Pregnancy:

1. Be informed about how much weight you need to gain:

If the woman is overweight or obese during pregnancy, the focus might shift from only losing weight to gaining specific kgs. But, while the pregnant women gain weight, it’s important to know how much weight gain is healthy for her.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides guidelines based on the women’s weight when they are pregnant. The figures are as below.

  • Healthy women with normal weight (18.5 to 24.9 BMI): can gain between 25 and 35 pounds

  • Obese (BMI of 30 or above): expected to gain 11 to 20 pounds

  • BMI between 25 and 29.9: expected to gain 15 to 25 pounds

2. Try to minimize the calorie intake:

The best and ideal way to reduce weight safely during pregnancy is to reduce or minimize the calorie intake. This is because intake of more calories than required lead to tremendous weight gain.

Studies show that if you reduce the intake of calories by 3,500-calories, you only lose 1 pound. Over the period of one week, this equates to the reduction in the intake of about 500 calories every day.

Before you go on to reduce the intake of calories, make sure to keep a log of the number of calories that you usually consume. Along with this, make sure to not cut nutritious foods while trying to reduce the intake of calories or reducing weight. This may affect the baby’s and the mother’s health adversely. Mothers must consult a dietitian to create ideal food or meal plans.

Doctors suggest that pregnant women must not eat any lesser calories than 1,700 per day. This is the minimum calorie count that pregnant women should consume in order for them and the baby to be healthy. Consuming about 1,700 calories a day can help to ensure that both you and your baby are getting enough energy and nutrients on a regular basis.

But, if the mother consumed any more than the calorie count specified, she should aim at cutting the figure down gradually. For this, she can:

  • Consume smaller portions of food

  • Reduce the intake of condiments

  • Switch unhealthy fats, such as butter, cheese, etc. with a plant-based version, such as olive oil

  • Swap baked goods for fresh fruits like apples, oranges, etc.

  • Try to eat vegetables instead of traditional carbs

  • Drink plenty of water and cut out on soda

  • Avoid consuming junk foods like chips, burger, pizza, pasta or momos.

In addition, take a daily prenatal vitamin that helps to ensure that your body is getting all of the nutrients that you and your baby need. Folate is an important nutrient that the body needs as it is beneficial in decreasing the risk for birth defects.

3. Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day:

A number of women think that exercises can harm their babies. But, this isn’t true till the time exercises are done for the right duration and in the right trimester. Some exercises like sit-ups can still be harmful.

But, others affect the mother and the baby in an extremely effective way. Exercising during pregnancy helps to maintain the mother’s body weight, minimizes birth effects and reduces a few of the pains and aches that the mother may experience during pregnancy.

Currently, the doctors recommend no fewer minutes for exercise per day for pregnant ladies, as compared to non-pregnant women i.e. 30 minutes of activity per day.

But, if the pregnant lady feels that this is too much to start, consider breaking up the 30 minutes into shorter durations of time throughout the day.

Some of the best and most effective weight loss exercises for pregnant women are:

It is recommended for pregnant ladies to avoid the activities that:

  • cause pain to them

  • are performed in the heat

  • make the mothers dizzy

  • are done on their back

4. Analyze weight gain concerns early:

Women naturally gain weight during the pregnancy. The majority of weight gain happens during the second and third trimesters. This is because the baby also grows rapidly during the last two months of pregnancy.

Mothers cannot control their weight during this period because it is attributed to the baby and supports elements like the placenta, so it’s best to address any weight issues in earlier trimester in pregnancy.

Studies also show that women who received advice for weight loss between weeks 7 and 21 of pregnancy were less likely to gain excess weight during the third trimester.

Early planning for pregnancy helps a lot in staving off any excess weight gain. But, it is widely suggested to have your doctor in the loop while planning for the meals or exercise regime. So, that the doctors can advise you the same on the basis of your health condition.

Your doctor may also refer you to a dietitian for more advice and meal planning.

Weight management is essential for all pregnant women and is safer than other forms of weight loss. Doctors widely suggest that despite the benefits of having a lower BMI during pregnancy, losing weight isn’t appropriate for all pregnant women.

A traditional weight loss method may come with its own set of concerns. It includes calorie cutting and exercise. It is vital to watch the calorie intake and exercise duration during pregnancy because overdoing it can harm both the mother and the baby. 

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