Putting on extra weight while pregnant is, as we all know, part and parcel of the whole process. And it has it's plus points too - those bigger boobs make your hubby feel like a kid at Christmas! :)
But what is a normal and appropriate amount of weight to gain while pregnant? Are there any ways that we can safely lose weight while pregnant? What can you do now that will make your labour easier and help you get back to your pre-pregnant weight super fast when your little bundle of joy finally arrives?
Are you really overweight?
These days it's easy to get sucked into the media's image of what a mum-to-be should look like, what with all these celebrity toothpicks, as I like to call them, having no more than a small bump, whilst being on some faddy diet. I must stress that pregnancy is definitely not the time to be going on a strict weight loss diet. What you need is to ascertain what a suitable pregnancy weight is for you, and then take steps to try to maintain it and increase your health and the health of your baby.
Everybody is different, and every woman's body will react differently while pregnant. An average weight gain for a full term pregnancy is anywhere between 25-45 pounds, which includes the increase in the mother's blood volume, the size of the uterus, the placenta, various fluids and the baby. This is an average figure so there will be much variation either side. Check with your doctor for more advice on your optimum weight.
How to lose weight while pregnant Tip no.1 - Control Your Cravings
Cravings are one of the hardest things to deal with during pregnancy, and annoyingly, one of the biggest contributors to excessive weight gain. Waking up in the middle of the night yearning for chocolate, or ice cream with gherkins, is a well-known part of pregnancy. However, these cravings, while healthy and perfectly normal, can be controlled and there are even certain foods that can reduce your cravings. Eating foods with a low Glycemic Index (GI) can help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce the highs and lows that many women suffer throughout the day, due to their slow release of energy. This can help you in reducing the onset of any excess pounds and begin to help you lose weight while pregnant.
By craving foods with high sugar and glucose levels a vicious circle can be created because they will often make the cravings worse, affect your mood and contribute to excess weight gain.
How to lose weight while pregnant Tip no.2 - Eat More Often
"Hang on, didn't you just tell me to control my cravings Now you're telling me that eating more often will help me lose weight while pregnant? Are you out of your mind?"
This kind of sounds counter-intuitive doesn't it? The idea though is that you'll be eating smaller portions more regularly instead of 2-3 large meals a day. By doing this you're not consuming any extra unnecessary calories, but are feeding your body and the baby more regularly. This will help keep your metabolism and blood sugar at consistent levels and keep you energised throughout the day.
And yes, I am out of my mind but not because of this! ;)
How to lose weight while pregnant Tip no.3 - Exercise
Exercising regularly during pregnancy was once frowned upon, but now has seen to be a great way to stay in shape and lose weight while pregnant, avoid the aches and pains common with weight gain, and can increase energy, flexibility and make your labour significantly easier (thank goodness!).
Walking and swimming are excellent low-impact ways to keep you fit and healthy and maintaining a balanced weight while pregnant. The buoyancy you'll find in the pool will often come as a relief and an aid to your daily routine and let's you get some fantastic exercise without putting stress on your body or the baby's.
Stationary cycling is also a great way to get some low-impact exercise and build stamina.
Yoga and Pilates can be beneficial and effective ways to lose weight while pregnant but make sure you find a suitably experienced instructor who has specialised in dealing with pregnant women.
Again it's always best to check with your doctor on the intensity of your workouts, for instance, if you exercised regularly before you were pregnant then your workouts will be notably different to someone who didn't.