OK, so now that we’ve covered healthy weight gain during pregnancy in Part 1, it’s time to talk about how to avoid gaining excess weight and how to shed the pounds post-baby (which may sound like a daunting task if you’re currently pregnant, but if you set realistic expectations and give yourself time, it can…and will…happen).
As I mentioned in Part 1, if you began your pregnancy at a healthy weight, you should expect to gain between 25 and 35 pounds (remember the fun diagram I posted? The extra weight is vitally important, so love your new curves!). For many women, staying within this healthy weight gain range can be a challenge. Heck, I’m an avid gym-goer and a (relatively) healthy eater and I’ve certainly found this challenging!
Knowing that this can be a challenge (and “Knowing is Half the Battle” – thanks for the reminder, GI Joe!), I think the best thing we as Moms and soon-to-be Moms can do is be informed, be prepared, and be realistic. Numbers aside, the most important thing we can do is lead healthy lives to set the best example possible for our children.
Here are some tips for being healthy during pregnancy and how to avoid excess weight gain:
- Remember the “Golden Rule” of Pregnancy – You are NOT eating for Two
- As I mentioned in Part 1, this was the VERY first thing my doctor told me – remember, you only need to consume an additional 100-300 calories a day to meet the needs of your growing baby
- Exercise Regularly – Your body (and mind) will thank you!
- For some ideas and tips, check out 10 Low Impact Exercises for Pregnancy
- Choose Healthy Snacks and Drink Plenty of Water
- Being well nourished is extremely important during pregnancy. Just make sure you’re making smart choices!
- There’s an App for That – Go Digital!
- If you’re tech savvy or love your smart phone, utilize the tools that are out there!
Now that we’ve covered how to avoid excess weight gain during pregnancy, let’s think about the future…the post-baby future…
Aside from everything else that will be going on in your life (learning how to breastfeed, doctors appointments, family and friends visiting, trying to find time to sleep, etc.), your body will be transforming yet again. As if it hasn’t been through enough in the past 40 weeks, right?
Well, according to my research at Baby Center[i], “much of the weight you’ve been accumulating will be gone pretty soon after you give birth. Mothers usually lose half of their pregnancy weight gain in the first six weeks after delivery. The baby accounts for about 7.5 pounds (more or less), and the amniotic fluid, placenta, and extra body fluids and blood in your body add up to another 8 to 12 pounds.”
That’s not a bad start, right?
The rest of the weight, however, will take some hard work. And while I’m still working on the growing part (34 Weeks down…6 to go!), I am ready to take on the challenge! And this is where setting realistic expectations comes in (and I guarantee my Husband will force me to re-read this article when I’m being hard on myself post-baby)…
JUST REMEMBER – it took 40 weeks to put on the weight, and it can take just as long or longer for it to come off.
With that said, keep things simple – a healthy diet combined with regular exercise is the best way to not only shed the pounds, but to keep them off. But “don’t start cutting back on calories right away. Being the mother of a newborn requires lots of energy – and that means giving your body all the nutrition it needs. If you’re patient and give your body a chance to do its work, you may be surprised at how much weight you lose naturally, especially if you’re breastfeeding.”
Believe it or not, it takes 1000 – 1500 calories a day to produce milk! That means that if you’re planning on breastfeeding, the act alone will use up the stores of fat deposited by pregnancy very quickly.
Bottom line: It’s all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, remaining positive, and setting realistic expectations – Before Baby, During Pregnancy, and Post Baby. And as I mentioned at the very beginning of Part 1, “women are pretty darn unbelievable.” Never forget that! If we can give birth to another life, we can most certainly achieve our goals when it comes to Pregnancy and Weight Gain!
[i] Research completed at WebMD, Baby Center and March of Dimes