It is one of the shared experiences of pregnancy – weight gain. The healthy development of your growing baby requires that your body adds extra weight, not just for the weight of your baby, but for things such as increases in blood volume and other body fluids. While every woman’s experience and health needs will be different, there are some general weight gain guidelines (as described by the Mayo Clinic) for typical pregnancies of a single growing baby.
- Underweight pre-pregnancy weight = recommended gain of 28-40 pounds
- Normal pre-pregnancy weight = recommended gain of 25-35 pounds
- Overweight pre-pregnancy weight = recommended gain of 15-25 pounds
- Obese pre-pregnancy weight = recommended gain of 11-20 pounds
As you can see, even women who are considered obese at the beginning of their pregnancy typically need to gain at least 11 pounds in order to support the pregnancy. For those women who are carrying multiples, the average recommended weight gain increases by about 10 pounds at a minimum. It is always important to discuss with your physician the healthiest weight gain for you and your pregnancy, and to develop a plan with your doctor for diet and exercise strategies that are the best for you.
What Can Women Do to Prepare for Post Pregnancy Weight Loss?
There are many strategies pregnant women can take in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight and do the most possible in order to prepare for post pregnancy weight loss. It is very important, however, that dieting is not a part of your pregnancy nutrition plan, no matter where you fall on the pre-pregnancy weight scale. Even overweight and obese women should not use dieting, especially in the form of diet pills, shakes, and supplements.
If you are concerned about gaining too much weight during pregnancy and then not being able to return to a healthy and desired post pregnancy weight, there are several things you can do in order to make healthy choices for you and your baby.
- If you’re not pregnant yet, take steps to prepare your body by incorporating a healthy diet and exercise plan or continue the one you are already using.
- Work with your physician to create an exercise plan that is right for you. Some options include water aerobics, prenatal yoga, walking, and light weight lifting.
- Add in snacks of fruits and veggies if you’re feeling an increased appetite between meals.
- Be wary of the temptation to “eat for two”. As long as you are eating a healthy diet with protein, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fruits and vegetables, your baby will get the proper nutrients even if you don’t really add calories to your typical intake.
- Do not add extra salt to your diet – it can raise your blood pressure and increase fluid retention.
- During your 3rd trimester, investigate exercise options that you can continue once your baby is born. Consider yoga, exercise classes for mommies and babies, and sturdy strollers you can take walking.
- Plan ahead for what types of meals and food options you will have on hand once the baby arrives. Make some healthy options and freeze them so you can avoid the temptation for fast, easy, processed foods.
- Breastfeed. It is the most recommended way to feed your baby and your body uses energy and food resources to produce breast milk, which can help you burn a few extra calories.
Weight gain during pregnancy is normal – and healthy for your baby. If you have any concerns about the number of pounds you see adding on the scale, be sure to talk with your physician about a plan that is best for you and your baby.