Maintaining a healthy weight before and after pregnancy isn't always easy, but it is important. With a few tips, however, you can achieve the ideal weight both during and after pregnancy. From healthy eating to simple fitness plans, you can maintain a healthy weight and then begin to drop off those pregnancy pounds after your baby is born.
Should I Eat for Two?
According to medical experts, pregnant women do not need to alter their healthy diet very much to accommodate their baby's needs. In fact, most women on average will only need to ramp up their caloric intake by about 300 calories. Moreover, it's important to make all those extra calories count nutritionally. Certainly, a piece of cake will account for those extra calories, but a half dozen almonds and a banana smoothie, for instance, will likely have more nutrients to offer per calorie.
Many women can expect to gain an average of 25-35 pounds during their pregnancy. Women who were underweight at the time they became pregnant might be advised to gain more weight during pregnancy. Healthcare providers do not typically advise women to entertain diets during their pregnancy; however, women should follow a well-balanced diet and try to stick to their prescribed plan as advised by their physicians. Some women, on the other hand, may be encouraged to entertain a strict diet. There may be health risks for gestational diabetes, for instance, that necessitate a strict meal plan. Only your doctor should advise you to lose weight during pregnancy in accordance with your medical profile.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight during Pregnancy
When trying to maintain a healthy weight level during pregnancy, it's ideal to eat small meals every day--between five and six. Ensure that you eat foods that satisfy your dietary requirements and fulfill your growing baby's needs too. Small meals keep your body well fueled and also keep your metabolism humming along.
Pregnant women should also speak with their healthcare provider about a fitness plan that is safe for both mother and baby. Generally, unless you are ordered to stay off your feet, walking and stretching are good forms of exercise for pregnant women. You should "ask your doctor or midwife to help you set up an exercise program that's right for you." (1)
Weight Loss after Pregnancy
Most doctors advise women to wait at least six weeks before embarking on a weight loss plan. Moreover, if you breast feed, you need to make sure that you are taking in enough calories to support your milk production. It's a good idea to start slow when you begin your workouts. You will likely be more comfortable if you wear a belly band for its support. Belly bands "work in the postpartum recovery process by compressing and supporting your muscles and tissue, encouraging retraction as you transition back to an active lifestyle." (2)
By following these tips, you can maintain a healthy body weight. Be sure to discuss your diet and fitness plans with your healthcare provider to protect your health and the health of your baby.
1. BabyCenter, "Pregnancy weight gain: What to expect," http://www.babycenter.com/0_pregnancy-weight-gain-what-to-expect_1466.bc
2. Band Specialist, “Atlas Maternity Support Belt,” http://www.thebandspecialist.com/why-cinch-atlas/atlas-product-description