Weight Loss During Pregnancy

Women are most likely to gain weight during pregnancy especially in the first trimester, but many women lose or are unable to gain any weight due to nausea. This usually occurs between weeks 6-16, although for some women it lasts for longer periods of time.

The common worry with most pregnant women is, how much to gain, when to gain and when is the right time to eat the right stuff? Not to worry, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine answers some of the basic questions of the anxious and ever stressful mothers-to-be.

The needs of your body and the amount of weight gain required for a pregnant mother depends on your pre-pregnancy height and weight and also on the number of babies you maybe carrying.

How Much to Gain?

Experts suggest that if you are underweight then you should be gaining as many as 28-40 pounds, if you weigh normal then 25-35 pounds should be put on, incase you’re overweight then you should gain about 15-25 pounds and if you’re obese then you need to consult a doctor (ideally you should gain 15-20 pounds) and finally, if you’re carrying twins, then regardless of how much you weigh at that time, you should be putting on as much as 35-45 pounds.

How Much Extra to Eat?

  • Experts suggest that on an average, pregnant women should be consuming as much as 300 calories in a day. Include healthy snacks, yogurt shake, high fiber foods such as cereals, milk, etc in your diet.
  • Even though mommy’s appetite is low, it is absolutely essential for the health of the mother and the baby to eat the recommended amounts of foods. Incase, one doesn’t do so, then the mother-to-be has an increased risk of giving birth to low-birth-weight-baby or babies.
  • It is reported that infants weighing low are vulnerable to such risks as higher infant mortality rates and other associated health risks during their early childhood such as – psychological, developmental and physical problems.

When to Gain?

  • Though no two persons are said to be the same, there are some standard guidelines for pregnant women to gain weight. It is suggested that during the 1st trimester, a pregnant women should be putting on as much as 3.5 pounds (normal weight). If she is underweight, then 5 pounds is ideal and if she’s overweight then 2 pounds would suffice for a 1st trimester mother-to-be.
  • Doctors claim that during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, the weight gain is dramatic and quick. Infact, pregnant women begin to gain a pound every week between the 14 and 28 weeks.
  • It is recommended that underweight mothers-to-be should try putting on at least a little more than the one pound of weight every week. Then again, overweight mothers-to-be should limit their weights to one-half or three-fourths of the one pound.
  • In the 9th month, experts opine that the weight of a child-bearing mother automatically declines by a pound or two as the body prepares for birth.
    Where Does the Weight Go?

This is an important question as most mothers speculate as to how early they would be able to shed the pounds once the baby is born. Experts suggest that the following break-up of the pounds required in the body by a pregnant women:

  • Baby:7 and half lbs
  • Maternal Fat Storage:7 lbs
  • Maternal Tissue Fluids:4 lbs
  • Maternal Blood:4 lbs
  • Maternal Breasts Tissue:2 lbs
  • Uterine Enlargement:2 lbs
  • Amniotic Fluid:2 lbs
  • Placenta:1 and a half lbs

Irrespective of whether you gain too less or too much during pregnancy, do NOT panic! Consult a doctor either putting on or losing the recommended weight. If you gain too much inspite of your efforts to maintain the desired weight, it is essential to lose the extra weight as an obese mom poses a lot of risks to the unborn child.

What Are The Risks Obesity Might Bring During Pregnancy?

The list of the number of problems an obese mother might face and problems that may also affect her child are as follows:

This is a condition in which the mother retains excess fluids, she has high pressure and swelling all of which can cut of the blood supply to the child endangering the life of the fetus.
Caesarean Section:
Hardly can an obese mother opt for a normal delivery; they generally have to go for a caesarean delivery because chances of a prolonged labor or other complications rise substantially.
Problems Babies Face:
The baby may have certain problems like childhood obesity (which is a leading factor of obesity among adults), Type 2 Diabetes, Neural tube defects. There are increased chances of other fetal abnormalities.
Baby’s Heart Beat:
Another problem is the inability to hear the fetal heartbeat.
There is an increased risk of dystonia (dystonia is a complexity involved in the delivery of shoulder of the baby due to heavy weight).
Postpartum Infections:
These are the infections that an obese mother are more prone to be affected from.

Tips to avoid pregnancy weight gain

  • Eat frequent small meals rather than one big meal. Eat 5-6 times a day.
  • Eat healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, cheese, yogurt etc.
  • Eat foods high in lean protein and less in fat. Choose proteins like chicken, turkey and fish. Choose fish like salmon which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Go for good sources of fat as in mono unsaturated fats or poly unsaturated fats. Avoid saturated and transfats. Transfats have been linked to lower birth weights of the baby. Fast food are usually very high in transfats. Avoid fast foods as much as possible during pregnancy.
  • Good examples of foods containing healthy fats would be nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil and other nut butters like peanut butter and almond butter. One tablespoon of peanut butter would give about 100 calories and 7 grams of protein.
  • Reduce intake of salt in foods. Salt can cause the body to retain water.
  • Limit sweets and added sugar in food. Sugar stimulates the insulin production and could be responsible for untimely cravings.
  • Eat whole grains and foods high in fiber. It will help you feel fuller for a longer time and help with constipation which is a common problem in pregnancy.
  • Lastly, moderate exercise and walking is extremely important. This will not only help in avoiding pregnancy weight gain but will also keep gestational diabetes at bay.


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