Proper nutrition is crucial for every future mom. As you are now not only caring for yourself, but also for your baby, every single decision you make is twice as important as before. Due to this, many women opt to switch their pregnancy diet in order to ensure the well-being of their babies.
Pregnancy promotes weight gain. Every pregnant woman is well-aware of the random cravings in the middle of the night, limited activity, and an increased daily calorie count. It’s natural to put on a little weight while expecting, but the right kind of diet may help limit that.
Weight loss is often not the main concern during pregnancy, and it shouldn’t be. It’s more important for you to follow a healthy meal plan than to lose a few extra pounds. However, some women are told to lose weight by their doctors. If that is the case, dropping some weight might be beneficial to both you and your child.
There are ways for future moms to lose weight safely and without feeling cranky over missing out on your favorite meals. What are some of the best pregnancy diet tips?
Reasons to Maintain a Healthy Weight During Pregnancy
Many scientifically proven reasons suggest that maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy greatly lowers the risks associated with it.
Obesity makes getting pregnant more difficult in the first place and then continues to make things trouble after conception. It also comes with a number of dangerous complications during pregnancy and birth. All of those reasons contribute to many doctors advising their patients to try to lose a little weight prior, but also during, pregnancy.
Aside from the aforementioned issues, keeping a healthy weight will go a long way in making you feel better in general. This applies both to mental and physical health. Having a baby requires you to be as fit as you can, as soon enough you’ll be chasing a rambunctious toddler around the house!
Preparing to Lose Weight
It’s important to remember that you will, undoubtedly, gain a little weight during pregnancy — this is normal! Your body undergoes many changes up until the birth, and on top of the fact that there is a little human growing inside you, there’s also a lot of water retention that adds to the weight gain.
When you try to set a goal weight, take into account the fact that you are supposed to gain a bit of weight. Don’t aim for the impossible. Rapid weight loss is not a good idea under any circumstances, much less when you’re pregnant.
The amount of weight you are bound to gain while pregnant depends on your BMI from before your pregnancy.
- If your previous BMI was 30+, you may gain up to 20 pounds.
- If your previous BMI was 25-29.9, expect to gain up to 25 pounds.
- Lastly, if you were in the 18.5-24.9 BMI range, you may gain up to 35 pounds.
Factor that into your projected weight loss plan before you move on to the next steps.
Tips to Lose and Maintain Weight While Pregnant
The main thing for you to be mindful of is that this isn’t a race, and you shouldn’t allow yourself to fall for any fad diets during this special time. Think of your own well-being, your mood, and your health before weight loss, unless specifically told otherwise by a doctor.
What to Eat?
Pregnant women need to consume a lot of nutritious, high-quality foods. As such, it’s best to avoid high carbs, unhealthy fats, sweets, fast foods, fried food, and soda all throughout your pregnancy. It’s okay if you sometimes give in to a craving — we’ve all been there. But if you set yourself a goal and write down a list of things you shouldn’t eat, you will hold yourself accountable and make better choices for both yourself and your baby.
Remember that as a rule, pregnant women should never eat less than 1,700 calories a day. This is also adapted based on your current weight and height, so we recommend consulting a certified dietician if you’re unsure.
If you have a good idea of your calorie goal, it’s good to start implementing positive changes, and they all start with your diet. Making healthier choices will go a long way in keeping both you and the baby healthy. On top of keeping a pregnancy diet, it’s good to take some prenatal vitamins to supplement everything that you don’t get through your food.
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Instead of unhealthy snacks, try out the following:
- lean meats (poultry, fish)
- fruit (in moderation — keep track of your blood sugar levels!)
- whole-grain carbs
If you’re looking for meal plan suggestions, try not to take any suggestions that are not specifically catering to pregnant women. Consider picking up a pregnancy diet book that will help you plan out your meals.
- Sonoma Press
- Lang MD, Jennifer (Author)
Other Tips for a Healthy Weight Loss
Now that you’ve got your meal plan sorted, there are still a few more things you can do to lose weight while pregnant. Some of these are general rules that apply regardless of the pregnancy diet you choose to follow, so check them out.
- Cut your sugar intake — we’ve said this above in regards to fruit. Fruits are, obviously, okay to eat — in moderation. Pregnant women are susceptible to gestational diabetes, a condition that rises their blood sugar. As such, it’s important to not just avoid sugar as much as possible, but also keep testing your blood sugar levels per your doctor’s instructions.
- Eat regularly — it’s tempting to skip meals while on a diet, but don’t do that. Your body needs to be as healthy as it can be in this exciting, but also challenging, time. Eat on a schedule and don’t go hungry.
- Drink a lot of water — pregnancy, as a rule, makes you prone to fatigue and nausea, and not getting proper amounts of hydration only adds to that. For the sake of the baby as well as your own, make sure you drink between 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.
- Exercise safely — this is something that should first be consulted with your doctor. Not every pregnant woman is allowed the same type of exercise, so it’s good to clear this up before you start. However, many women find comfort in yoga or even a simple walk around the park — both of which are allowed in most pregnancies.
- Get lots of rest — sleeping while pregnant can be quite the challenge, but it’s crucial that you get your eight hours a night. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable due to the changes in your body, check out some pregnancy pillows.
Being pregnant is often regarded as the most exciting, but also most challenging, time in a person’s life. It’s fantastic that despite everything that’s going on around you, you still find the will to work on your eating habits.
Make sure that you take it step by step, don’t work yourself too hard, and keep in touch with your doctor or midwife if you ever have any medical questions. Making healthy choices today will benefit you and the baby tomorrow, so congratulations on taking that first step!