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If you’ve just known you’re pregnant, you’re probably concerned about the extra kilos you’ll gain during pregnancy. If you’ve gotten pregnant and you’re a little overweight, I’m sure the idea of losing weight during pregnancy or at least maintaining your current weight crosses your mind. To help you achieve your weight loss goals, we asked OB/GYN, Dr. Eman Ali, to share with us everything about weight loss during pregnancy.
But first, why do we gain weight during pregnancy?
Weight gain during pregnancy is pretty normal, not only due to carrying a growing baby, whose weight is usually between 3-3.5 kg but also because of the physiological change in your body that leads to expanding the uterus, increasing the breast mass and the body fluids. Not only that, but the placenta itself adds weight and a percentage of body fat increases to provide a pregnant woman with the extra energy needed during pregnancy and labor.
Is it safe to lose weight during pregnancy?
Most doctors don’t recommend losing weight during pregnancy as it puts you and your unborn baby at serious risk. Under-eating prevents babies from getting the nutritious elements they need to develop.
Some of the risks of having a poor diet are:
- Premature labor
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
- Perinatal asphyxia or oxygen deprivation at birth
- Underweight babies (under 2.5 kg)
Malnutrition can also affect future development in children as follows:
- Physical development
- Mental development
- Higher possibility of having blood pressure and heart diseases
- Increased probability of decease within the first year
Is it possible to maintain my current weight?
In most cases, it is essential to gain some weight in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy and provide the fetus with a healthy and stable environment. However, if you are overweight, your doctor might recommend that you maintain your current weight or even try to lose a little weight in order to prevent complications as a result of obesity.
What is the normal weight gain rate for a pregnant woman?
The average range of weight gain is linked to your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing your weight (KG) by your squared height (meters²), [BMI = Kg/m²].
- If your BMI is 19-25 (normal), then you should be gaining between 9-12 kg during pregnancy.
- If your BMI is over 25 (overweight) or over 30 (obese), then you should ideally be gaining less than 9 kg.
- If your BMI is under 19 (underweight), then you need to gain more than 12 kg during pregnancy.
What can I do to keep my pregnancy weight gain healthy and within normal average?
- Maintain a healthy diet and eat in moderation
- Always stay hydrated
- Do pregnancy-appropriate exercises, such as prenatal yoga
- Plan daily short walks
- Don’t surrender to cravings. You’re not eating for two
- Stock up on healthy food and snacks, so you don’t end up binging on chips
- Be mindful during pregnancy and eat like you’re feeding your baby
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Further reading: Ultimate Hospital Packing Check List For Labor Day.