Women's Healthcare Topics

7 Tips To Stay Within Your Ideal Pregnancy Weight

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

When you Eat, Think Baby Fat

We see it all the time; pregnant women who adopt an “eating for two” mentality and who use pregnancy as an excuse for eating anything, and everything. Not only is this alarming, it can case irreversible problems as you suffer to shed those pounds after the baby is born. Some women even vow to go off their diets altogether and see the pregnancy as time off from their normal struggles to eat healthy.

This is not the best way to think if you wish to keep a healthy or ideal weight during pregnancy. When you eat, remember that you are indeed eating for two, so ask yourself if you would give your baby whatever it is you are about to put in your mouth if the baby or child was sitting with you. Eating fast food, junk food, excessive sweets, heaping portions and foods high in sodium or chemicals (such as processed foods) will not only be bad for you, they are not good for the fetus.

What are the weight guidelines for my body type?

  • Slim or underweight pregnant woman: Can gain 29 – 40 lbs. during pregnancy

  • Average build: Should gain no more than 25 – 34 lbs. during pregnancy

  • Overweight or heavyset woman: Only 12 – 20 lbs. extra weight during pregnancy

Of course, your doctor will recommend your ideal pregnancy goals based on his or her own assessment. Of that weight, 6 – 10 lbs. most often is the baby itself upon delivery, while 6 – 10 lbs. represents the fluids and water that will come out along with the baby. The rest is extra fat reserves that your body needs for breastfeeding, but all of these together are plenty of weight.

Seven tips to stay within your pregnancy weight allowance:

Learn how to maintain ideal pregnancy weight
    1. Eat 4-6 small meals a day. Rather than gorging on big portion sizes at dinnertime, eating smaller meals will help to satisfy you and the baby. These should be healthy snacks at the recommended portion sizes, which you can read on the labels or on the recipe guide.

    2. Get at least 20 – 30 min. of physical activity per day. If you feel exerted, try walking for 15 min. in the morning and then another 15 min. in the evening. By breaking up these workouts, you will not overexert your body, especially in your last trimester. You can also do yoga or prenatal exercise classes, which are a good way to meet other pregnant mothers.

    3. Be mindful of caloric intake. Many pregnant women are unaware they only need about 300 extra calories per day, and perhaps 400 calories later in the pregnancy. Eating more than this will definitely make it harder to stay within range.

    4. Make substitutes. You would be surprised how many pounds you can shave just by substituting things such as mayo for mustard, or chips for whole wheat crackers, or salsa instead of blue cheese dressing, and whole milk for skim, etc. There are countless examples of ways you can save a lot of calories this way.

    5. Skip out on junk food and sweets. Downing half a cheesecake for dessert might sound awesome, but these types of bad habits or binge eating episodes will be major setbacks for your pregnancy diet.

    6. Drink more water. This is nothing new, but becomes even more important while pregnant. Avoid sodas as these can make your already bloated and swollen body feel even more like a beached whale, and juice or other carb-filled beverages should be off limits. If you get bored of water, try the sparkling kind with a little fizz and low carbs, low cal content. Drinking water before a meal can also help you feel too full to eat a huge portion size.

    7. Get plenty of sleep. Sometimes you might lie awake dreaming up all kinds of things, like names for the baby, or trying to get caught up on more work before the baby comes, or decorating the baby nursery, and organizing, etc. and these types of things can drive you nuts. You should get as much sleep as you can before the baby is born, because it could be years (not months!) before you have another full night’s sleep without interruption. If you are uncomfortable because of an issue with your pregnancy, rather than anxiety, then discuss it with your doctor so that you can get those Zzz’s in now, while you have a chance. This will also help your body process digestion to stay within your healthy baby weight range.

Some of these tips might be rather obvious, but others not something you had considered. You can and should stick to as healthy as regiment as possible, as it will make your labor and delivery easier, as well as helping you bounce back to your normal body size after your infant is born.


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