In earlier times, if you were pregnant, it meant gaining weight and ‘eating for two’.
Nowadays however, there is an increasing awareness among women about the weight they gain during pregnancy and most importantly, how to lose all of it post delivery.
Weight gain during pregnancy depends on how much you weighed before pregnancy, your age, your appetite, the body’s metabolism and whether you are carrying twins /multiples.
There is increasing evidence that the risk of encountering problems during pregnancy and delivery is the lowest, when weight gain is in the healthy range. Obesity during pregnancy could result in gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension (high blood pressure), Cesarean birth, baby with birth defects and sometimes even fetal death. So it is best to put on only what is necessary.
Know your Body Mass Index (BMI)
The BMI or the relationship between your height and weight has a lot to do with monitoring pregnancy weight gain. If you’ve had a healthy Body Mass Index before pregnancy - that is between 18.5 to 24.9, you should gain not more than 10 kgs to 12 kgs through your entire pregnancy. The weight gain should be 12 to 15 kgs if your BMI has been below 18, 7 to 10 kgs if BMI is between 25 to 29.9 and 5-9kgs if you were obese.
The weight gain requirements are different for women carrying multiples.
Where Does all the Weight Gain come From
Here’s a breakdown based on a weight gain of 10 to 12 kgs during pregnancy:
From the above, it is evident that a lot of the weight will be instantly lost while giving birth including the weight of the baby, amniotic fluid, the placenta and umbilical cord.
Gaining the right amount of weight
If you gain a healthy weight through pregnancy, then shedding those baby pounds post delivery will be much easier. Here’s what you need to take note of:
Physical Activity: Exercising during pregnancy has immense benefits, including optimal rate of weight gain, prevention of gestational diabetes, reduced levels of stress and easier labor. The activity guidelines for pregnant women are 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, at least three days of the week.
Most women decrease exercising during pregnancy, so it is important to consider any change in calories burnt due to a different exercise plan. You should always consult your physician before beginning an exercise regimen while pregnant.
Supplements: In addition to increasing calorie intake during pregnancy, there are a number of other key nutrients that you need to consume during pregnancy.
Protein: Protein intake increases by 25 gms/day during pregnancy in order to support the growth of maternal and fetal tissues. This requirement can be reached by consuming three 1 cup servings of milk / yogurt / cottage cheese /dal / 2 eggs per day which will also provide additional calories and calcium.
Folic acid: One of the most important vitamins to consume during pregnancy is folic acid. Folic acid intake is critical during the first month of pregnancy for preventing neural tube defects in the foetus. In fact, it is now recommended that you should increase your intake of Folic Acid if you are of childbearing age or are planning to conceive, so that the developmental needs are taken care of even in case of an unplanned pregnancy.
Iron: During pregnancy, your body makes additional blood to carry nutrients to the developing baby. To help make new blood cells, iron requirements also increase. Your doctor may recommend iron supplements. They are generally absorbed better when consumed with foods high in vitamin C. In addition to folic acid and iron, your body will need slightly increased amounts of most vitamins and minerals which can be met through increased caloric intake or with a prenatal vitamin.
Postnatal Weight loss
Do remember that healthy weight loss occurs at a slow rate with a combination of exercise and well-balanced eating. Keep healthy!
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