If you’re pregnant and want to lose weight, it’s not exactly easy to do so. Being a few pounds over your pre-pregnancy weight can be beneficial for both you and your baby – preventing complications and promoting healthy growth. But if you want to lose those extra pounds, you’ll need to make some serious lifestyle changes.
Whether you’re pregnant with your first or your fifth child, you may wonder how much weight you should or shouldn’t lose during the course of your pregnancy. It’s a common question, and for good reason – the extra pounds you gain as a result of pregnancy can put you at risk for certain health complications.
In this article, we’ll discuss the latest medical research on weight gain during pregnancy and how you can still achieve your pre-pregnancy weight even after giving birth.
Key Facts About Pregnancy Weight Gain
While it’s tempting to do nothing more than eat what you want and exercise when you feel like it, avoiding pregnancy-related weight gain is important for your health and that of your baby. Here are some key facts about the weight gain phenomenon:
Increased Blood Flow To The Kidneys Makes You Gain Weight
When you’re gravida, your kidneys receive an increased amount of blood and therefore have more demand for nutrients. This can lead to you gaining more weight than you normally would. Studies show that kidney function peaks in the third trimester of pregnancy, so if you want to stay healthy and fit during these nine months, then you should work at maintaining a healthy weight.
Gaining Weight Has Numerous Health Benefits
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), there are several important health advantages to gaining weight during pregnancy. For example, obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. What’s more, overweight and obese women are at greater risk of complications from pregnancy and birth than women of a normal weight. For this very reason, the ACOG recommends that all women gain as much weight as possible during pregnancy.
You May Need To Gain Up To 15 Pounds (Or 10% Of Your Pre-Pregnancy Weight)
Even if you’re a normal, healthy weight prior to pregnancy, your doctor may recommend that you gain a certain amount of weight to optimize your health during pregnancy. With that being said, you may require an adjustment in your eating habits and increased levels of exercise to achieve your desired weight gain. Some doctors recommend that women gain 15 pounds (7.5 kg) to 20 pounds (9 kg), while others suggest 10% of their pre-pregnancy weight. Whatever the recommended amount, it’s essential to realize that you should not starve yourself or eat anything that is not nutritious during this time.
Gaining Weight Can Help To Prevent Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension, is a condition that occurs in about 5% of all pregnancies and is marked by severe high blood pressure that develops after the 20th week of pregnancy. Preeclampsia can cause problems for both the mother and the baby and is considered a leading cause of maternal and neonatal mortality worldwide. Fortunately, there is now medical research that suggests that weight gain during pregnancy can help to prevent preeclampsia.
The link between weight gain and preeclampsia is based on two separate studies. The first took a closer look at the dietary patterns and obesity levels of pregnant women who developed preeclampsia and those who did not. The second study observed the effects of weight gain during pregnancy on the development of preeclampsia in a group of women. Based on the results of these studies, the ACOG concludes that gaining weight in the first trimester and continuing throughout pregnancy could help to lower your risk of preeclampsia.
Gaining Weight Can Boost Your Baby’s Immunity
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy diet during pregnancy can boost your baby’s immunity and protect them from diseases. A healthy diet likely includes lots of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, all of which provide your baby with essential nutrients that they can use to grow up strong. The ACOG concurs, recommending that all mothers eat healthily during pregnancy so that their baby’s health is not put at risk.
Healthy Gaining Weight Is A Balancing Act
While it’s important to gain weight as a result of pregnancy, it’s equally important to maintain a healthy weight afterwards so that your health does not get out of whack. One way to help ensure this is by participating in regular physical activities (such as walks, runs, or hikes) after giving birth. This way, you’ll help maintain muscle mass and improve your overall health. What’s more, dieting after giving birth can reduce your baby’s risk of obesity in later life. Regular meals (including snacks) and active lifestyles (such as walks, runs, or hikes) help to provide nutrients to your body and brain, making it easier for you to maintain your pre-pregnancy weight.
Being pregnant is not easy, and it can be quite challenging to lose weight. But by following the key facts discussed above, you’ll be able to successfully do so. Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy and after giving birth is essential for your continued good health and that of your baby. So don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it!