Pregnancy is about glowing skin and luscious hair. It’’s a time when you generally put weight on — the weight of the baby growing inside you! Plus, you might gain some extra weight around the hips and thighs as your body gets ready for the calorie-burning adventure that is breastfeeding. But if you are already overweight, or if your doctor has advised that you need to lose some weight for health reasons, you might be looking up how to lose weight while pregnant.
Some of the most common searches on this include:
- Overweight pregnancy
- Lose weight pregnancy
- How to lose weight when pregnant
- Lose weight before pregnancy
- Lose weight during pregnancy
Spelling mistakes aside (we’re not judging, it’s a classic case of baby brain!), it’s clear that there are plenty of you out wanting to know how to lose weight during pregnancy. Here’s our guide to losing weight during pregnancy while keeping both you and your baby safe and healthy.
Weight Loss During Pregnancy: Can You Lose Weight While Pregnant?
For the vast majority of women, losing weight during pregnancy won’t be a significant concern. As your baby grows inside you, you’ll experience steady weight gain. Many women report losing body fat and toning up, thanks to the simple exertion of carrying the weight of the unborn child. Other women may lose weight due to issues like:
- Morning sickness
- Changes in appetite/loss of appetite (due to nausea or being repulsed by certain foods)
- Severe fatigue, which interferes with regular eating habits
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a severe condition involving nausea and vomiting which may result in the mother being hospitalized
If you experience sudden or unexplained weight loss during pregnancy, speak to a medical practitioner immediately.
If you want to lose weight during pregnancy, it’s worth considering that for most women, weight gain is the expected trend during pregnancy. However, if you are overweight or obese, you may be advised by a doctor to adopt a more healthy lifestyle. This is because being overweight during pregnancy can cause:
- Gestational diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Blood clots
- Post-partum hemorrhage (heavy bleeding after birth)
How to Lose Weight While Pregnant, Safely
Losing weight while pregnant is possible, although most medical practitioners will advise focusing on reducing body fat, toning muscles, and getting the right nutrients. Often, this will lead to the pregnant woman being at a lower body mass index (BMI) once the baby is born. Knowing how to lose weight during pregnancy is more about knowing how to keep you and your baby healthy, keep yourself as active as is safely (and comfortably!) possible, and understanding what are the best foods to eat when pregnant.
What Is a “Good” BMI?
A BMI of below 25 is considered okay, although under 18.5, and you’re considered underweight. BMI scores between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese, and a doctor may advise you on how to lose weight safely without putting too much strain on your body. You can calculate your BMI here.
The absolute best advice is to lose weight before getting pregnant so that you are in the “safe” BMI range once your baby is growing inside you. Of course, not all women become pregnant on a schedule, so when this isn’t possible, there are safe and responsible ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle while pregnant.
Five Ways to Manage Weight During Pregnancy
1: Water Aerobics
Water is supportive, and exercising in water can keep you active while keeping some of the bump’s weight off your pelvis. Water also offers more resistance than air, so even small movements have a large benefit. Gentle water aerobics tones muscles improve the cardiovascular system, and burns calories. Moving in warm water can also be very relaxing- an added bonus during pregnancy.
Always let your instructor or class leader know that you are pregnant before beginning a course of exercise.
2: Add in Extra Steps
If you are cleaning up, take two trips to carry the dishes to the kitchen instead of one. Climb an extra flight of stairs to get something for someone. Walk to the nearby store instead of taking the car or bus. Small, additional steps will help build muscle tone and burn fat, increasing your overall health and wellbeing.
If you have trouble walking, or suffer from pelvic disorders such as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), you may need to avoid additional walking, so discuss with a medical practitioner what your alternatives could be.
3: Eat Healthily
Eating for two is a bit of a fallacy. Pregnant women need more calories to support their unborn child, but not double the usual intake. Start the day with a healthy breakfast, and when you need to snack, avoid foods high in sugar and saturated fats. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, carbs like cereals and rice, plus protein-rich foods like beans, oily fish, or poultry.
There are certain foods to avoid during pregnancy, which you can read about here.
There are plenty of yoga programs that are adapted for pregnant women and can help you relax and tone up. Never over-extend yourself or do more than you can safely manage.
5: Combine Kegels with Gentle Exercise
Toning up your pelvic floor muscles is crucial prior to giving birth. Look up gentle exercise routines that incorporate Kegels to tone up and get stronger.
Once you find out you’re pregnant, your weight might be the last thing on your mind. But, if you’re concerned that your weight might affect your pregnancy, always speak to a doctor who can give you the best advice based on your individual situation.
Despite the baby growing inside, it is possible to lose weight while pregnant. This may be recommended for women who are overweight or obese. Normally the focus is on eating nutritious foods and staying active to tone up the body and keep it strong and healthy, ready for childbirth.