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Losing Weight while Pregnant: Are You Harming Your Baby?

Updated on July 16, 2011

I am sure I was not the first woman in this situation: I was fighting some extra pounds left over from my first pregnancy (well, that was the excuse I used, a ridicoulus one I have to admit, my daughter was six by then...), when I found out, I was pregnant again.

The first feeling was joy – I would be having another baby (actually two of them I found out a couple of weeks later). Then panic kicked in: I would gain more weight, there was no way around it. This was the point when I started to look for information about if losing weight while you are pregnant was and option. Here is what I found out!

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant you will put some weight on, your body just works this way. How much weightgain is good and normal for you, depends on wether you were skinny or rather overweight before gettin pregnant. Here is an article on how much weight is appropriate: the average weight gain should be between 25 to 35 pounds, for overweight women it is better to put on between 15 to 25 pounds.

The weight you put on is divided between the baby (8 pounds), the placenta (2 – 3 pounds), the amniotic fluid (2 – 3 pounds), an increase in breast tissue (2 -3 pounds, enjoy them while they last...), extra blood supply (4 pounds), fat you need for delivery and breastfeeding (5 – 9 pounds) and the growing uterus (2 – 5 pounds). (Source: webmd)

A study at Lingköping University in Sweden showed, that obese women had less problems like preenclampsia during their pregnancy if they controlled their weight gain. There was also a reduced rate of cesareans compared to the control group. So although you shouldn´t try to actually lose weight, you ar doing you and your baby a favor if you are keeping your weight gain under control.

How do you control your weight gain during pregnancy? If you are starving yourself, you are starving your baby. But that doesn´t mean you have to become a whale in a T-Shirt like I did during my first pregnancy, because I thought the weight would come off automatically after giving birth through breastfeeding – believe me, that is an urban myth!

And while restricting your caloric intake too much isn´t good for you or your baby, overeating isn´t either. Yet 40 % of pregnant women in America gain too much weight and have problems getting rid of the extra fat after giving birth. So, here are the factors that help you to control your weight gain during pregnancy:


A Healthy Diet

Yep, it is as easy as eating well... Some guidelines:

  • drink lots of water

  • chose sources of proteins that are low in fats, like chicken breast or fish

  • go for complexe carbohydrates and whole

  • eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, they will provide you with vitamins and other essencials

  • don´t eat sugary, salty or fatty snacks on a regular basis

  • same goes for fast food

  • treat yourself to a new cooking book

Craving is one of the chlichés associated with pregnancy. I didn´t have cravings, just the ones I have whether I am pregnant or not: for chocolate cake, onion-and-sourcream-chips, Lady Godiva chocolates... You get the idea. I didn´t have cravings, but I still used them as an excuse for eating more of all these things – after all I was pregnant, right?


Excercise - Get Moving!

Even though you might have been the perfect couch potato, you can start an excercise routine when you are pregnant. It will help you feel better and keep your weight under control. Just talk to your doctor t make sure there are no problems with your health and that you are choosing the appropriate excercise for your situation.

Which type of excercise should you chose?

In general you should take it easy if you are just starting out. Begin with 15 to 20 minutes and work your way up to 4´t 0 minutes. Excercise three times a week, give your body a day to rest in between workout days. Don´t forget to drink water while you excercise. Which excercises are safe for pregnant women?

  • Swimming: the water helps carrying your bodys weight, so swimming is easy on your joints

  • Walking: the perfect excercise if you haven´t practiced any sports before getting pregnant. It is easy, you don´t need any special equipment (apart from a good pair of walking shoes) and it is safe.

  • Areobics: there are special classes for pregnant women or you can buy a DVD with a aerobic program for pregnant women. If you decide to do areobics, it has to be low impact!

There are types of excerdcise you should avoid while pregnant: all sports that could result in falling or hard blows, like snowboarding, water skiing or horsebback riding. Riding a bike can also be dangerous and you should only go running if you have done so before getting pregnant.

When shouldn´t you excercise?

There are situations when it isn´t safe to excercise. This is the case if you

  • have a heart or lung disease

  • suffer from preenclampsia

  • carry twins or triplets and are at risk for preterm labor

  • suffer any kind of bleeding

  • suffer from pacenta previa

  • suffer from severe anemia

  • your water has broken (in this case get to the next hospital fast!)

Always listen to your body while excercising and stop if you don´t feel well. Your body usually tells you when you are overdoing it.


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    • Geolina profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Good luck!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i will try the tips & am sure it ill work.


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