Gaining weight during pregnancy is inevitable, although it is almost ultimately considered to be normal. However, a large number of pregnant women is not willing to accept the state of affairs and cannot humble with the fact that they are laying the ‘groundwork’ for long months of exhausting training sessions after giving birth. However, weight loss itself may not be a reasonable idea in certain cases, so first of all let’s figure out the nature of increasing the weight during pregnancy.
The most obvious addition is the weight of the fetus: 6 – 8 pounds, plus 4.5 – 6.5 pounds of amniotic fluid. Placenta and the umbilical cord, as well as amniotic bubble make another slight contribution. Finally, the volume of blood in the vessels of pregnant women increases too, resulting into another weight addition.
Of course, body fat is another factor adding up to the total weight. However, this process doesn’t occur on their own, but have a practical sense: firstly, an increased body fat helps to maintain the desired hormone balance in the body during pregnancy and lactation, and secondly, fat accumulates mainly in the abdominal wall and the buttocks, thereby protecting the child from external influences. Summarizing all the above factors, a pregnant woman is likely to gain around 22 – 45 pounds. However, the numbers could be either higher or lower, the aforementioned 22 – 45 pounds are a mark calculated in women of normal weight; and thus, if a woman had extra or lower weight before pregnancy, the accumulations of body fat could be higher or lower. On average, women in the second trimester are gaining about 350g of weight per week (in some cases, possibly more), which is considered to be normal. The warning signs are those when after 16 weeks a woman begins to gain weight more than 1 kg, and this is where it may be reasonable to take some action.
How to lose weight during pregnancy?
Weight loss during pregnancy starts from balancing the diet, and here are the basic principles you should follow to at least keep your weight at the same point.
- Pick up the most convenient times during the day to take meals; stick to the schedule basing on these hours.
- Small portions taken 4-5 times per day is an optimal schedule
- If no contraindications, drink 2 liters of non-carbonated water a day in the first and second trimester, followed by doctor’s recommendations.
- Make a choice in favour of natural foods, fruits, juices and vegetables, avoiding intermediates and store meat products: sausages ham and canned food.
- Avoid foods having a reputation of allergy provokers – honey, citrus, seafood, chocolate and strawberries in large quantities may lead to disastrous consequences.
- Exclude strong coffee, tea, carbonated drinks and alcohol from your ration.
What to eat to lose weight during pregnancy?
A growing body inside will necessarily take whatever it needs from the mother, but the lack of nutrients will firstly negatively affect mother’s health. That’s why it is vital to include greens to your daily nutrition. Avoid fried, fatty and smoked products, often leading to gastrointestinal problems in the baby. Choose vegetable origin foods subjected to the minimum heat treatment. Enrich your diet with fish, poultry, meat (low-fat varieties) – these are the main suppliers of protein. As for dairy products, give your preference to yogurt, low-fat plain yogurt and cottage cheese.
Vegetable fats (olive, sunflower, linseed and corn), including oily sea fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, perch, etc.) are also needed for a future mommy as they are involved in the process of hematopoiesis. Between meals, if you feel hungry, you should better eat fruit salads and drink fresh and vitamin juices.
As for the nutritional value of food, it rises throughout the term of pregnancy. In the first trimester, you can stick to the usual intake (it depends on the initial weight of the woman and her motor activity, but on average it varies from 1500 to 1800 kcal). From the second trimester the caloric requirements are increasing, hence, you need to eat about 200-300 calories more, but not exceeding 2200 calories daily. In the third trimester the daily intakes must be capped at 2400 kcal. The daily amount of calories in pregnant women with excess weight should not exceed 2,200 – 2,400 kcal; however, you should maintain the balance and not reduce the nutritional value without medical indications is not recommended.
Lifestyle and exercises
Well-balanced physical loads, gymnastics and regular walks are essential if you are looking to keep fit during pregnancy. Engage in sports designed for pregnant women (water aerobics, yoga for pregnant and etc.), comprised of sets of exercises taking into account the duration of pregnancy and impact of the physical loads on the body.