Don’t panic if you indulged in a little too much during pregnancy, lots of women have oops moment at the end of the first trimester and discover that they have gained a dozen pounds instead of the roughly one to four pounds of recommended weight gain during pregnancy.
According to a 2015 report, 48% of American mothers gain too much weight during pregnancy. The problem arises when one gains above and beyond the recommended weight gain during pregnancy.
How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
It depends on the pre-pregnancy weight and BMI but the general recommended pregnancy weight gain for normal-weight women is between 25 and 35 pounds. The doctor is the best one to assess the weight, metabolism, and BMI and tell what should be gained during pregnancy and trimester.
How do I get my pregnancy weight gain back on track?
Talk to the doctor
The doctor or midwife can help to come up with a plan to watch the scale and what to eat. A nutritionist is also suggested for proper management.
Skip the diets
Dieting to lose weight during pregnancy is never a good idea. The baby needs a steady supply of nutrients, especially in the second and third trimesters. Also, avoid appetite-suppressing drinks or pills which are dangerous.
Cut empty calories
The emphasis is on empty, need to eat enough of the right kinds of calories to keep the baby growing. After all, the idea isn’t to lose weight but to slow the rate at which the weight is gaining. Easy, nutritious, calorie-reducing strategies can be taken to make a big difference. Try and make smart substitutions such as skim milk or 2 percent for whole milk, fresh fruit for dried, baked potatoes or yams for french fries, grilled white meat chicken without skin for fried dark meat chicken with skin. Other calories that can be limited are sugary treats.
Fill up on nutrients
Keep the pregnancy diet by eating the right quantities of the right, nutrient-packed foods and watch the portion sizes, a serving of any given food may be a whole lot smaller than what restaurants have led you to believe.
Choose foods that are big on bulk (so fill the body) but low on calories such as fresh vegetables (especially leafy greens) and fruits (especially ones with a high water content like melon), lean poultry, meat and fish, and oatmeal (is better than granola which tends to pack a lot of sugar and calories in a tiny serving). Also, fill up on water, not juice or soda.
Focus on smart fats
Somewhere around 25 to 35% of all the daily calories should come from healthy fats to fill up and build the baby. However, not all fats are created equal. Take plant-based monounsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and nut butter as well as polyunsaturated fats including salmon, trout, flaxseed, tofu, walnuts, soya beans, canola oil, and sunflower oil. The latter are also good sources of omega 3 fatty acids which help build the baby’s heart, immune system, brain, and eyes. Try to limit to about 6% saturated fats (low-fat beef and high-fat dairy like butter and hard cheeses) in the daily diet. Also, minimize the consumption of trans fats present in cookies, packaged baked goods, frozen pizza, crackers, and fried foods since these are empty calories that aren’t so healthy for mother and baby.
With the doctor’s okay, make regular exercise a part of the pregnancy. Joining a prenatal yoga or exercise class is a great way to get and stay motivated, small amounts of activity add up fast, and all count toward the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity. So, add some movement to the everyday routine.
Risks of gaining too much weight during pregnancy
Less accurate ultrasound results
If one is overweight during pregnancy and has too much body fat, the doctor will have a harder time looking at the baby (and diagnosing any problems that might require treatment) during the ultrasound examination.
Excess weight gain can result in or aggravate everything from backaches and leg pain to overall exhaustion, not to mention varicose veins, calf cramps, heartburn, hemorrhoids, and achy joints. If too many extra pounds follow labor, it can be a tough experience.
High blood pressure
Having gestational hypertension which is diagnosed in the second half of pregnancy can cause issues during delivery.
This condition can lead to liver and kidney problems, also increase the risk of intrauterine growth restriction (iugr), placental abruption, and other complications.
Being overweight or gaining too much weight during pregnancy puts one at risk of gestational diabetes, which in turn puts in a higher risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes later in life.
A large baby
The heavier the mother, the larger the baby (macrosomic baby) at birth, and having gestation diabetes also increases the risk of having a big baby. Macrosomia increases the odds that a vaginal delivery will require the use of forceps or vacuum. It also increases the chances of delivering by c-section (which also makes for a trickier recovery after the baby is born). Larger babies are also at high risk of childhood obesity.
The higher the pre-pregnancy BMI and the more weight gained during pregnancy, the more likely the baby is to be born prematurely. It also increases a baby’s risk of several health issues including breathing difficulties, eating challenges, and sometimes developmental and learning problems later in life.
Babies born to obese mothers are at higher risk of birth defects including heart issues and neural tube defects.
Obesity and ongoing health issues
It is possible to get the weight gain under control with help from a doctor to modify the diet and exercise routines. So, if you put too many pounds during pregnancy then take the necessary steps to get back on track as soon as possible.
- gaining too much weight during pregnancy (whattoexpect.com)
- weight gain during pregnancy: know what to expect (firstcry.com)