Pregnancy is a crucial event for every woman where various physiological and emotional responses are commonly experienced. Furthermore, it becomes more crucial, especially for women who are figure-conscious. Most often, body image (the way you see your body) changes during pregnancy as the woman views herself as becoming “bigger” in many aspects. That is why health and figure conscious women are always finding ways on how to keep their weight controlled during pregnancy without causing any hazards to their health and their baby.
Recommended weight gain during pregnancy
It is significant for every pregnant woman to know that weight gain should take place throughout pregnancy. The weight gain of a pregnant mother is usually associated with the course and outcome of the pregnancy. A weight gain of 11.2 to 15.9 kg (25 to 35 lbs) is ideal to be an average weight gain during pregnancy for women who have appropriate weight for their height. It occurs at approximately 0.4 kg (1 lb) per month during the first trimester and 0.4 kg (1 lb) per week during the second and third trimesters.
However, for women who are underweight, they should gain 30 to 40 pounds or 0.5 kg per month for the first three months and 0.5 kg per week for the succeeding months of gestation. Underweight women are recommended to gain 15 to 25 pounds while the obese ones are advised to gain less than 15 pounds. Pregnant women who have multiple fetuses are encouraged to gain 40 to 45 pounds.
Do’s and Don’ts to maintain weight during pregnancy
The process of maintaining your ideal weight during pregnancy is important. Labor and childbirth process is easier when the woman is healthy and the potential complications occurring during the pregnancy stage can be avoided. For your guidance, keep in mind these do’s and don’t’s while trying to maintain your weight during pregnancy to ensure a safe weight gain and weight loss control program for a healthy pregnancy.
Getting the proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle
- Do eat nutritious foods that are rich in protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals.
- Do include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Do drink four glasses of low-fat milk every day.
- Do take prenatal vitamins as prescribed by your physician.
- Do avoid smoking.
- Do exercise regularly (mild to moderate exercise such as walking will do everyday for 30 minutes).
- Don’t eat salty and fried foods.
- Don’t drink caffeine rich beverages as well as tea, chocolate, and soft drinks.
- Don’t consume alcoholic drinks.
Observe the appropriate physical activity
- Do participate in “low-impact” activities on a regular basis, at least three times a week and not intermittently.
- Do avoid extreme and stressful sports.
- Do stop exercising if you feel overheated, stressed and fatigued.
- Do drink plenty of fluids.
- Do avoid long periods of standing still.
- Don’t do lifting activities.
- Don’t get too sedentary. Walk once in a while to keep your circulation healthy.
- Consult physician before doing additional activities.
The benefits of maintaining weight during pregnancyThe ideal weight for pregnant women
The benefits of maintaining an ideal weight during pregnancy are numerous. Doctors always recommend getting the proper exercise and a healthy diet in order to avoid risks and other potential complications that may possibly arise during pregnancy until childbirth.
1. Reduced risk of mechanical complications at birth.
Greater-than-expected weight gain can lead to big infants that may result to birth trauma, the need for operative birth, emergency Cesarean section, postpartum hemorrhage, wound, genital tract, urinary infection and late fetal death.
2. Reduced risk of premature birth and small-for-gestational age infants.
Severely underweight women are more likely to give birth to premature or small-for-gestational age infants.
3. Returning to the pre-pregnancy weight is easier (or appropriate weight for height) within six months after birth.
Women who gained weight during their pregnancy often experience the difficulty of recovering their pre-pregnancy weight. It usually takes a longer time before the body regains back its normal physiological functions after the changes that have taken place during the pregnancy, making the recovery more difficult post pregnancy. By keeping your weight controlled while pregnant, it is easier to help the body to recover faster and regain back its ideal weight and shape.
4. Risk reduction of potential complications during pregnancy and childbirth
The excess weight gained during pregnancy may be difficult to lose after giving birth. That may lead to obesity and other complications such as diabetes mellitus, and hypertension.
Causes of excess or inadequate weight during pregnancy
- Inadequate dietary intake. Weight reduction diet is not a good time during pregnancy. This leads to decreased nutrient intake that may negatively affect fetal growth and development, and the mother’s own nutrition. Adequate protein and vitamin intake helps prevent complications of pregnancy.
- Excessive eating. Achieving good nutrition for a pregnant woman does not mean eating two meals of an adult, but just enough to provide nutrients to the fetus. This also emphasizes that the focus should be on increasing the quality of food intake rather than on the quantity.
- Development of PIH. Pregnancy-induced hypertension, also known as preeclampsia leads to the accumulation of fluids that may affect accurate monitoring of weight gain.
- Measurement or recording errors. The weight of the clothing and time of day the woman is weighed affects the accuracy of monitoring the weight gain.
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