How to Lose Weight While Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy

Lose Weight

How to Lose Weight While Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy

How to Lose Weight While Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy
sarah baker

Written by

Sarah Baker

Nutritionist @Nutiro

As a general practice, it is believed that no woman should worry about their weight during pregnancy. It is a time when a fetus is growing in the mother’s belly and not getting sufficient nutrition can be very dangerous to its health. To deal with that, a lot of women lose weight before getting pregnant and reach their defined target beforehand. However, this may be unrealistic for a lot of women who already have extra weight on them, let alone going below normal for the pregnancy. This can quickly turn into a huge problem since they are naturally bound to gain more weight during pregnancy.


However, the whole concept of not losing weight during pregnancy is getting debunked and research shows that losing weight can be beneficial for some pregnant women, especially those with a BMI value of more than 30.


Before we continue, we must point out that if you are a healthy woman, you should stay away from any weight loss tips as it can have a bad impact on the growth of your baby.


Take Things Slow


Let us now talk about how to lose weight while pregnant. The very first thing you need to do is make a proper plan about what you will do. A lot of women might be asking how to lose weight while pregnant fast but that is simply not the right approach. You have to be very cautious about your condition and therefore the correct question to ask is how to lose weight while pregnant without harming the baby. Once you realize the importance of that you can start the first step that is making a plan.


There are a lot of problems that can occur if you get pregnant while already being obese. Problems that you could possibly face range from premature birth, cesarean procedure, sleep apnea, high BP for the mother, defects in the baby’s heart, infections and more. Considering the downside, it can easily be understood why losing weight during pregnancy can be a good thing for some people.


To make sure you reach your goal and do not fall into any of those problems, make a weight loss plan that is gradual and makes you go for healthy lifestyle choices. Pushing yourself too hard even a little bit can be harmful so your pace should naturally be slow and steady. The reason behind stressing on this point this much is the fact that we are dealing with the wellbeing of two lives, one of which is extremely fragile.


Calculating Required Weight Gain


You cannot ask how to lose weight while pregnant without considering the amount of weight you will need to GAIN for the pregnancy. Having another person growing inside you means you end up putting on some extra weight and with a diet in mind, one may tend to forget that fact. Ignoring the fact that your baby needs sustenance from your body is not good at all so you must consult your doctor before creating a weight loss plan.


Depending on your weight, you would be required to gain a certain amount of weight for the pregnancy. This must be done before you can even think about how to safely lose weight while pregnant. The general guidelines on how much weight you should gain have been provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The guide provides the following values for weight according to the BMI level in each woman:


  • If BMI is below 18.5, the required weight gain would be 28-40 lbs.
  • If BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, the required weight gain would be 25-35 lbs.
  • If BMI is between 25 and 29.9, the required weight gain would be 15-20 lbs.
  • If the BMI is 30 or above, the required weight gain would be 11-20 lbs.


However, this gain in weight should also be gradual and through healthy means. It does not means you start loading yourself with junk food to gain the extra pounds. The weight gain process is also clearly defined where you should gain a maximum of 4 pounds during the first three months of pregnancy. After that, you should gain 2-4 pounds every month till delivery. Make sure you also consult with your doctor to determine the exact amount of weight you should be gaining.


Reduce Your Calorie Intake


When it comes to losing weight, the basic formula remains the same. Whether you are wondering how to safely lose weight while pregnant, or you want to do it just to reduce your weight, it’s all about the calories. Typically, for the body to reduce the weight by 1lb, there needs to be a deficit of 3500 calories in the system. Of course, that does not means you have to do it all in one day. You should create this deficit by slowly reducing your calorie intake.


The minimum amount of calories that a pregnant woman needs to ensure healthy growth of her baby is 1700 calories. Maintaining this requirement while also losing weight can be quite tricky. To help yourself in figuring out how to lose weight while pregnant, you can create a suitable food plan for yourself. You can do this by discussing your situation with a dietician who is aware of the dietary requirements of pregnant women.


Consume Healthy Calories


Even with the weight loss, the mother does need to consume a lot of calories, simply to ensure good growth for the baby. While you could get these calories from any possible source, eating something healthy should be your top priority. There are many steps on how to lose weight while pregnant by slowly decreasing in the amount of calories you are consuming. Some of the things that could help at that time include decreasing portion sizes, removing unhealthy fats from your diet, filling foods with natural sugars like fruit instead of cakes etc., drinking only water instead of alcohol and fizzy drinks etc.


It is also important to keep track of the overall amount of nutritional intake that your body requires. A lot of doctors prescribe some sort of multi-vitamin tablet etc. which is consumed during pregnancy. If you are prescribed such a tablet, be sure to take them regularly as they provide essential nutrients for your baby’s growth.


Eat Frequently not Heavily


One thing that you must keep in mind when going on a pregnancy diet is that you eat fewer calories in one sitting instead of loading on it all at once. This practice is opted for by dietary experts to help a person learn portion control. However, pregnant women asking how to lose weight while pregnant can greatly benefit from this technique.


Pregnant women are often prone to nausea, growing aversion to certain foods, developing digestive issues like indigestion, vomiting and heartburn during pregnancy. This can often get triggered when trying to eat a big meal for proper calorie intake.


A way to avoid such a situation is to go for smaller meals eaten after more frequent intervals. This can have several benefits for the mother as well. An increase in metabolism from increased activity would have a positive impact on the body’s fat burning as well.


In addition to that, when the baby starts to grow in size, it ends up pushing against the digestive tract of the mother. Full meals during this time are especially hard to manage so smaller frequent meals can help you a lot in terms of maintaining yourself.


Exercise regularly


There is naturally a lot of fear in women when it comes to exercising during pregnancy for weight loss. However, the focus of how to safely lose weight while pregnant should not be on whether or not exercise should be done. It should in fact focus on making sure that the exercises you do are the right ones and they are done the right way as well. It would be completely ridiculous to expect from a pregnant woman to do sit-ups, crunches or other similar exercises.

The recommended exercises for pregnant women include swimming, gardening, walking, jogging, yoga for pregnant women etc. The duration of each activity should not be more than 30 minutes each day. Crossing this limit can result in stress on your womb which is something you should avoid when we ask how to lose weight while pregnant without harming the baby.


You should also completely avoid any activity that involves maintaining your balance or exposes you to heat or pain. After 12 weeks have passed for the pregnancy, you should also avoid doing anything while lying on your back.


Keep yourself happy


One of the biggest factors that can impact the growth of your baby and even cause you to gain weight during pregnancy is stress. Worrying about anything at all can lead to stress and that can have a negative impact on the baby’s growth. In addition to that stress also leads to a phenomenon called “stress eating” where a person consumes food not because of hunger but as a coping mechanism. Falling into this trap can be quite easy and you should make sure you do not go there.


There are a lot of things you can do to avoid getting stressed. You can meditate, do yoga for relieving your body and even do something fun and relaxing that you feel happy with. This will not only help you enjoy yourself, it will also have a positive impact on the baby’s growth. One thing that you should keep in mind on how to safely lose weight while pregnant is that you cannot do every yoga move and should only go for positions that are safe for pregnancy.


No Alcohol or Caffeine


This one is pretty much a no brainer but we still find it necessary to mention it here. Some people might be thinking that they don’t have a drinking problem and moderate alcohol usage should be fine. The fact of the matter is, if you consume alcohol while being pregnant, you will make your child prone to a lot of different problems such as learning disabilities, defects in physique, emotional issues etc. This alone is more than enough reason why most doctors recommend that the mothers stop consuming alcohol completely throughout the pregnancy period. If that is not enough, alcohol is also a major source of bad calories and consuming alcohol can make it extremely difficult for you to maintain ideal pregnancy weight.


Coffee, as it turns out is just as harmful during pregnancy. Caffeine may not have any direct impact on the mother’s weight but it can cause the weight of the child to drop and result in lower than normal weight at the time of birth. It can even lead to miscarriages which makes caffeine probably one of the worst things to opt for in your pregnancy diet plan.

Keep Your Doctor Updated


You may very well benefit from asking your doctor how to lose weight while pregnant and taking steps to achieve that goal. However, you should make sure that whatever directions your doctor provides, you follow them religiously and do not make changes on your own. In addition to that, giving your doctor regular updates is also important when it comes to how to lose weight while pregnant without harming the baby.


There are often telltale signs when something is wrong with your diet during pregnancy. Keep an eye out for such signs and if you see something out of the ordinary, immediately report it to your doctor. Taking on a diet plan during pregnancy is not a joke and any wrong step could harm you or your baby.


The steps shared here are both safe and proven to be effective in reducing your weight during pregnancy. If you see anyone ask you how to lose weight while pregnant, you know exactly where you should point them to. We wish you the best of luck and a healthy pregnancy!

sarah baker

About the author

We are here to support you on your journey to good eats with more healthy food options at your fingertips. Use our Nutiro customized meal plans and take the guesswork out of eating balanced meals for whatever meal options you prefer - Clean Eating, Keto, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan - for any time throughout the day - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Just like Sarah, we want to make YOU the hero of your own healthy eating lifestyle and help you make good choices with our Nutiro meal plan generator. Sign up and become your own hero in the Nutiro community!

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