How to Lose Body Fat During Pregnancy Safely
Are You Overweight, Obese, or Normal Weight?
Being obese during pregnancy can put you at risk of pregnancy complications as a result of your weight. You may look big and still have a healthy weight, but you will only know this if you check your weight using the right tool.
You can know if you are overweight or obese if you use the BMI calculator. The online calculator measures your body fat against your height and weight to arrive at the result. You can then compare what you have against the ideal normal body weight to determine your weight level.
- Normal weight: 18.5 to 24.9
- Underweight: Below 18.5
- Overweight: 25 to 29.9
- Obese: Above 30
After checking your BMI standard measurement, you should know if you have normal weight, overweight, or obese. Use the BMI Calculator Here.
Risks of Being Obese During Pregnancy
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has warned that overweight or obese women have a higher risk during pregnancy. Overweight can lead to miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and hypertension to mention a few.
Overweight pregnant women also risk childbirth difficulty resulting in cesarean delivery. Mostly, overweight mothers have a higher tendency to have larger babies requiring surgery to give birth.
You will prevent a lot of pregnancy and childbirth complications if you lose weight before getting pregnant. However, if you are already pregnant, you need to take immediate action towards weight loss for healthy childbirth when you are due for delivery.
Eating healthy food and exercising during pregnancy are ways you can put your weight under control and have a healthy baby on your due date. Considering the likely stress women in pregnancy often experience, you will need to be very determined to overcome procrastinations that may follow your efforts to eat healthily and exercise. Importantly, knowing that these two activities would help to prevent gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, maintaining a healthy weight will enhance your health and that of your baby during and after pregnancy.
Is it safe to lose weight during pregnancy?
Absolutely! Available research studies have found that overweight and obese pregnant women can safely lose weight during pregnancy. Although, doctors will hardly recommend you lose weight during pregnancy and would instead recommend you focus on getting enough nutrients and light exercises for a healthy mother and child. That means you are not expected to undertake rigorous activities designed for women who are not pregnant, what you can do in that regard is to follow expert guidance on what type of exercises or diet to take.
Therefore, you can follow guided advice on how to lose weight and consult with your doctor before taking action. Your objective should be not to gain additional weight during pregnancy. Although the task might look daunting, it is possible to achieve if you are well guided and determined.
Another way often used by overweight pregnant mothers is to stick with healthy calorie intake daily. This approach will give you and your baby enough of what you need for a day without adding extra calories that are converted into fat and more weight.
HOW TO LOSE BODY FAT DURING PREGNANCY SAFELY
Pregnancy weight gain is a common thing among pregnant women. Every pregnant mother must have planned for her pregnancy in every single way possible. This involved getting an excellent bodyweight even during pregnancy. But for most women, this isn’t possible.
Pregnancy weight gain could result in a dilemma for some women who are naturally overweight. This is due to the inevitable weight gain that comes with being pregnant. Luckily, developing research recommends that losing a little weight during pregnancy is possible and beneficial for women that are overweighted or obese with weight gain. However, weight loss isn’t advisable for women who were already fit before they became pregnant.
If you think you must lose weight during pregnancy, see your doctor talk about how to do so without causing harm to your baby safely. Even before you are conceived, your unborn baby depends on you for numerous things. Your body carries and nourishes them for about nine months, helping them to develop and grow. Being too weighted can create issues, and it could get in the way during pregnancy.
As mentioned, too much weight while pregnant might result in stillbirth, premature birth, cesarean delivery, gestational diabetes in mothers, heart defects in the baby, and increased blood pressure in mother. If your physician advice that you lose weight during pregnancy, here’s how to do so during pregnancy safely.
CUT DOWN ON CALORIES
The first and safest way of avoiding pregnancy weight gain and losing excess weight is through lowering your day to day intake of calories. Taking excessive calories is one of the common causes of weight gain. It takes about 3,500 calories to burn off to lose approximately 1 pound. For a week, this equates close to 500 calories for each day to burn off. Before you take out these calories from your food, ensure to keep a record and find out just how many calories you eat.
You could visit a dietitian to talk about food plans. Also, you can look up nutritional sites for foods from restaurants or stores to find out how many calories are contained in each meal.
All pregnant women should keep in mind that eating extra calories each day may result in excessive weight during pregnancy. When you know exactly how many calories you need to eat each day according to your BMI, it helps in ensuring that both your baby and you are getting plenty of nutrients and energy on a regular basis. If you usually take more calories than you need, try reducing it gradually.
For instance, you can cut out condiments, eat smaller portions, swap unhealthy fats (such as butter) for a cultivated version (like olive oil), change baked foods for fruit, eat fresh vegetables instead of carbs, opt for water, cut off soda, avoid large amounts snacks and junk food such as candies or chips.
A great diet plan during pregnancy can include Mediterranean recipes. The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that’s based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea that includes lots of healthy foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood, beans, and nuts (which are great for pregnant women). Check out this #1 Amazon Best Seller book to learn more about healthy Mediterranean recipes and to build healthy eating habits.
Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners
To learn more about healthy foods during pregnancy read this list of 7 highly nutritious fruits to eat during pregnancy when you have sugar cravings.
Moreover, you should pay attention to the foods and beverages you should avoid during pregnancy.
EXERCISE 30 MINUTES DAILY
Most pregnant women are scared of exercising out of fear of harming their baby. Hence, they prefer to wallow in their pregnancy weight gain and enjoy the new status while it lasts. But it should not be like this. While a few exercises, like sit-ups, might be harmful, exercise as a whole is beneficial. It helps in reducing congenital disabilities, maintaining your weight, and even relieve some of the pains and aches you face during pregnancy. This is also applicable to women who aren’t pregnant. Read more about the benefits of exercises during pregnancy.
If exercising for an hour is difficult for you, try breaking it down to 30 minutes or into shorter periods of time in a day. Some of the recommended exercises for pregnant women include walking, swimming, gardening, jogging, prenatal yoga. On the other side, you should stay away from any exercise which relies on balance, like skiing or bike riding, click here to read more about exercises you should avoid during pregnancy.
Check out this YouTube tutorial that includes 15-minute exercise for pregnant women:
Who should not exercise during pregnancy?
If you have a medical problem, such as heart disease, asthma, or uncontrolled type 1 diabetes, exercise may not be advisable. Exercise may also be harmful if you have an obstetric condition such as bleeding or spotting or weak cervix.
What physical changes may affect my ability to exercise?
Physical changes during pregnancy create extra demands on your body. Here are three of the main changes that might affect your ability to exercise:
- Your developing baby and other internal changes require more oxygen and energy. Therefore, you might get tired faster than usual.
- The increasing hormones produced during pregnancy cause the ligaments that support your joints to stretch, increasing the risk of injury.
- The extra weight and the uneven distribution of your weight shift your center of gravity. The added weight also puts stress on joints and muscles in the lower part of your back and pelvic area, which makes it easier for you to lose your balance.
Keep in mind these changes and listen to your body when exercising.
How soon can you exercise after delivery?
If you had an uncomplicated pregnancy and vaginal delivery, it’s generally safe to begin exercising a few days after giving birth or as soon as feel ready. If you had a c-section, extensive vaginal repair, or a complicated birth, talk to your health care provider about when is the best time to start exercise for you.
ADDRESS WEIGHT ISSUES EARLY
Pregnancy weight gain could come naturally during pregnancy, most of the weight gain occurs in the second and third month. Your baby also develops and grows quickly during the last two trimesters of pregnancy. You cannot manage your baby’s weight gain and supporting elements such as the placenta, so it’s always best to address all weight situations earlier in pregnancy.
DIET DURING PREGNANCY
A balanced, nutritious diet becomes more important during pregnancy. Your healthcare team can provide you with the best-personalized advice. But there are also some general diet tips that can help lose weight during pregnancy safely.
Tips for healthy eating during pregnancy
CUT YOUR SUGAR INTAKE
Most sugar foods and drinks are made with sucrose that releases energy quickly, causing blood glucose to spike, triggering a rapid release of insulin to absorb it. You have probably experienced the boost of a sugar rush, which generally followed by a dramatic slump in energy. Eating too much sugar during the day actually makes you feel more tired and gain more weight during pregnancy.
A low sugar intake helps to keep your blood sugar more stable, along with your resulting energy levels, and is more likely to result in healthy pregnancy gain. If you experience sudden drops in energy that goes away only after you eat something sweet, it can be another sign that you need to cut down your sugar intake.
What can you do?
Choose only natural sugar, such as fruits, but limit yourself to two servings daily. Healthy alternatives to sugar include maple syrup, palmyra jaggery, and coconut crystals. While you can’t cut down your sugar intake completely because there is sugar in many foods we eat, such as bread, you can control the amounts of processed sugars you eat that aren’t good for you.
INCREASE YOUR VEGETABLE INTAKE
Eating vegetables and fruits is the best way to get the nutrients your body needs. In pregnancy, those nutrients serve many purposes: provide energy, promote healthy digestion, boost immunity, fight disease, maintain/improve body and brain function, provide the foundation for your baby’s growth and development, and prevent birth defects. When trying to lose weight during pregnancy, fill half of your plate with veggies at mealtime. Some veggies are better eaten raw because it gives you the most enzymes, vitamins, and minerals needed for good health.
EAT ONLY WHOLE GRAINS CARBS
You should limit white, refined grains and eat more whole grain carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat. etc.
EAT LEAN PROTEIN
Eating a protein-rich diet can help lose weight because it can help avoid overeating. Lean protein foods include black beans, eggs, flounder, hemp seeds, ham, pumpkin seeds, canned sardines, shrimp, tofu, canned tuna, wild salmon, skinless turkey breast, and more. Try to avoid eating or limit processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, etc.
MEAL PREP FOR A HEALTHIER DIET
The best way to keep up with a healthy diet during pregnancy is meal prepping. This way you can ensure that you always have a healthy meal and you’re not eating junk food when you are hungry. Check out this list of the best 21 high-protein meal prep ideas. A great idea would be to meal prep Mediterenian recipes like these so you can always have a healthy meal during pregnancy.
DON’T SKIP MEALS
Eat on a schedule to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition.
TAKE PRENATAL VITAMINS
Prenatal vitamins are good insurance for you and your future baby. In the image above, you can find Ritual prenatal vitamins which are considered one of the best vitamins on the market today. Prenatal vitamins are supplements made for pregnant women to give their bodies the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy. This is especially important if you want to keep a healthy diet during pregnancy. Read more about the best prenatal vitamins here.
MEET WITH A REGISTERED DIETITIAN
Just a little bit of help from an RDN can help you lose weight successfully and more safely during pregnancy. An RDN can design a nutrition program to protect your health and your growing baby.
Energy protein balls with coconut flakes recipe
As a mom of two, I know that during pregnancy, many expectant moms experience cravings and can’t seem to feel satisfied until they get them! Something that you may find yourself craving is cookies. Check out this super simple and healthy cookies recipe which is also white sugar-free that will help you eat healthier when trying to lose weight during pregnancy.
- 3 cups Medjool dates, filleted
- 1 cup almonds, chopped.
- half cup of water
- 2 tbsp cacao powder (sugar-free)
- half cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- In a food processor mix all the ingredients together (except the coconut flakes).
- Spread coconut flakes on a large plate. Using a small cookie dough scoop, drop balls of dough onto it, cover with coconut flakes (from the plate) and gently roll around a bit.
- Place the balls on a baking sheet and chill them for 20 minutes in the refrigerator to firm up.
Printable Meal Planner
Looking for a printable meal planner to download? Download our Printable Meal Planner Template to quickly and easily plan out your weekly meals.