Pregnancy

Pregnancy & Weight Loss

I thought today I would write about pregnancy and weight.  I know when I found out I was pregnant with my first child I was like waahhooo I can now eat for two!! Well I didn’t make that mistake again!

If you started off your pregnancy carrying too much weight for your height, you’re far from alone.

You’re considered overweight if your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9. (Your BMI reflects the relationship between your height and weight, and is an estimate of body fat.) You’re considered obese if your BMI is 30 or greater.

Not sure what your BMI is? Try this 3D BMI calculator

How many pounds should I gain during pregnancy?

Experts advise women with a healthy BMI ­– 18.5 to 24.9 – to gain between 25 and 35 pounds. If you’re overweight, it’s recommended that you gain between 15 and 25 pounds by the end of your pregnancy, at a rate of approximately 2 to 3 pounds a month, mostly in your second and third trimesters. Women who are obese are advised to gain only 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy.

A study published in 2010 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that pregnant women who gained more than the recommended weight were 50 percent more likely to develop gestational diabetes than mums-to-be whose weight stayed within recommended limits. Women who gain more weight than expected during pregnancy are also at a higher risk of other complications such as high blood pressure, and preeclampsia (I myself put myself and William at risk with my rapid increase in weight during the course of the pregnancy and was admitted to hospital at 36 weeks and induced early at 38 weeks after my blood pressure became dangerously high and the preeclampsia meant it was too dangerous for both of us to continue the pregnancy further. I was never told that it was due to my being so overweight – but I am convinced myself that this was the major contributing factor).

Is it okay to lose weight during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is definitely not the time to go on a weight-loss diet: Restricting your food intake is potentially hazardous to you and your developing baby. But many plus-size women do lose weight during pregnancy without dieting.
  In the first trimester, it’s common to lose weight as the result of morning sickness: The nausea can diminish your appetite, and the vomiting can cause you to miss out on calories. But even so, your baby will get all the necessary calories.

Overweight women have an extra reserve of calories in stored fat, so as your baby grows, it’s not harmful to maintain or even lose a little weight. What’s not okay is losing weight because you’re intentionally cutting calories drastically (and, as a result, limiting nutrients). However – if you are fairly overweight or even obese, to MAINTAIN your current weight you will have to be eating a SIGNIFICANT amount of calories.  If you make changes to your diet to healthier food choices, within a more “normal” calorie intake for a woman your height, age etc your baby and body will still get everything it needs to keep you both happy without all the harmful added calories and bad fats. An overweight or obese lady making a few small and positive changes to her diet will likely find that their weight will fall during pregnancy without a “diet” even taking place at all. Just healthier portion sizes and better choices for a happy and healthy mum and baby, combine this with some nice low impact exercise and you’ll be one glowing mama 🙂

How can I stay on track with weight gain?Exercise & Pregnancy

Exercising and eating healthy food can help you with your weight gain goals, and both can have a positive impact on your pregnancy, reducing your risk of pregnancy problems like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. They’ll also help you feel good during your pregnancy and beyond.

With a bit of research, planning, and tracking, you can learn how to eat well during pregnancy.  Use a food diary to make sure you’re getting enough calories whilst at the same time ensuring you are not going completely overboard and drinking plenty of water every day. The diary is also useful for tracking your mood and hunger levels, so you can spot patterns you may need to change.  If you need help planning your pregnancy meals, seek out a registered dietitian.

If you’re a relative newcomer to exercise, start with pregnancy exercise for beginners. You can enjoy low-impact exercise such as walking, swimming, and low-impact aerobics. Never start an exercise regime without first talking to your doctor.

If you are already exercising regularly it IS OKAY to continue with your current exercise regime within reason (so long as it is not a high risk sport like contact sports, sky diving etc) As always consult your Doctor in case you have any particular risks in your pregnancy as every woman and every pregnancy is different. But for a normal pregnancy with no complications and a mum who is already active, they can continue their current exercise regime!

Some women do lose weight during pregnancy if they make healthy diet and lifestyle changes, so be sure to check in with your doctor if this happens to you.

Keeping a food diary may sound like a hassle, but you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to get a real look at your eating patterns in just a few days and make changes for the better.
 Simply fill out your diary and I guarantee it will be eye opening, and helpful in setting you on the road to better pregnancy.

Some basic guidelines

Write as you eat. Don’t depend on your memory at the end of the day (especially if you are anything like me during my pregnancies where baby brain or “mumnesia” completely kicked in!) Write it all down.  With access to the mobile site it’s easy to enter in everything you eat or drink, from a soft drink to a handful of sweets from your colleague’s desk.  Those “little nibbles” are easiest to forget, but they can have a big impact on health. 
Be specific. Indicate whether there’s mayo on your bread, cheese on your burger, or crackers in your soup. 
Be honest. No one’s judging you on this — it’s for your eyes only — so don’t worry about trying to look like a healthier eater.

Daily recommendations

To help your baby grow and feed your body during pregnancy, you need a variety of important nutrients. Among these are protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, vitamin C, and folic acid. You also need six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

I hope this answers some of the questions for those who may be pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant in the future.

A happy pregnancy is a happy mummy and a happy mummy is a happy baby 🙂

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       _______________________

Hannah x

About Hannah Nolan

Wife & Mother to Two Beautiful Children |
Founder & Owner of Why Weight Ireland® |
Ambassador for Athletics Ireland |
Columnist for the Irish Runner Magazine | Love Running

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