Like a lot of women, I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my weight. The modern, self-confident, body positive woman in me says the scales don’t matter and that I should love my body for what it is, jiggly bits and all. But it’s not always that easy, especially when there’s the dreaded photo at the wrong angle that’s highlighted your multiple chins for all to see. And for some women, pregnancy can make that number on the scale weigh even heavier on their mind. While it’s a given that you will get a bit heavier (you are carrying another human inside you after all), I’ve put together some tips for managing your pregnancy weight.
However, I want to preface this blog by saying that, as long as you and your baby are healthy, you really shouldn’t worry about changes to your weight during pregnancy. Your body is doing something absolutely amazing, and that often means changes beyond your growing bump. That doesn’t make you any less beautiful, or any less worthy. Wear your tiger stripes with pride and try to embrace your amazing new curves! You’re a champion! Girl power rant over, on with the blog…
how much weight should you gain in pregnancy?
The average weight gain in pregnancy is between 10kg (22lb) and 12.5kg (28lb). However, this will change depending on your pre-pregnancy weight. If you are on the lighter side, you should be aiming to put on more weight than this, and if you’re a bit heavier, you might try to put on a bit less. If you are severely under- or overweight, you will be aiming to put on weight outside of these limits.
Gaining too much weight during your pregnancy can lead to complications that put you and your baby’s health at risk. It can contribute to high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, fatigue and backache. It can also increase the weight of your foetus, which can lead to delivery complications. If you are choosing to breastfeed, high storage of fat around the milk glands can decrease your ability to secrete milk. Equally, being underweight during pregnancy can cause problems. It can slightly increase the chances that you’ll have a premature birth or your baby will be underweight.
when and where do you gain weight during pregnancy?
If you’re a bit of an overreactor like me, you may on occasion have seen the scales go up a bit and thought you might be pregnant. Alas, I’ve always had to admit that the only baby in my stomach is a food baby. But it begs the question, can you gain weight in the first month of pregnancy? Yes, but you’ll only gain around 0-2kg (4.4lbs) in the whole of your first trimester, so it’s unlikely you’d even notice much of a change. From the second trimester onwards, your pregnancy weight gain month by month will be much steadier, around 1-2kg a month.
It can be scary to know that you’ll be carrying all that extra weight by the time you give birth, but it is interesting to know where you gain weight in pregnancy. And it’s reassuring to know that lots of that weight will be pushed out when you give birth, along with your gorgeous new bundle!
• The average baby will weigh around 3.4kg
• The placenta weighs about 0.5kg
• The amniotic fluids weigh between 4 and 5.9kg
• The muscle layer of the women grows to weigh from 0.5 to 1.1kg
• Your breasts will grow and weigh 0.5 to 1.4kg heavier
• Your blood volume increases, weighing 1-1.8kg
• Your body increases its fat stores to provide extra energy for breast feeding by around 1.0-3.6kg
managing your weight during pregnancy
Crash dieting is an absolute no-go during and after your pregnancy. You need to be eating well when you’re expecting so you can fuel your baby’s healthy development. If you think you are perhaps heavier than you should be, adjusting your diet to be more balanced can help you get the scales back on track. Think more fruits and veggies instead of fewer meals and counting calories. You can also engage in some light exercise during pregnancy to get the blood flowing and tone your muscles. Getting into healthy habits before birth makes it much easier to be healthy once your baby arrives.
I hate to possibly be the one to tell you, but finding out you’re pregnant isn’t actually the excuse you’ve always dreamed of to eat for two. Don’t worry, I was very disappointed to find this out too. In fact, you don’t actually need any extra calories till around the third trimester, when you only need around an extra 200 calories a day. To give you a rough idea of what that looks like, it could be some yoghurt with granola or a fruit smoothie.
healthy eating after pregnancy
Losing weight after pregnancy is very similar to losing weight at any time – eating a healthy diet and using more energy that you consume. Keeping healthy, taking time to prepare a yummy, balanced meal or doing some postnatal exercise is a great way to practice self-care. However, you will feel a difference returning to exercise after pregnancy. Muscles can feel weaker due to the relaxin that your body releases to loosen ligaments in preparation for birth. Take it easy and pay attention to what feels right for your body so you don’t injure yourself.
A great way to keep up a healthy diet after your pregnancy is to prepare some healthy meals and freeze them. Especially in the early days as you adjust to taking care of a new baby, you might find yourself too busy or tired to cook something delicious and nutritious, so it’s handy to have something easy to pop in the oven. All the convenience of a takeaway, without the extra calories or spending!
For those of you who choose to breastfeed, it’s worth knowing that your body will burn around 330 extra calories a day. You will need to make sure you are getting those extra calories and nutrients, as this is what will be fuelling your new babe! However, breastfeeding should not be used as a weight loss technique. Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, make sure to avoid low-calorie diets as your body needs plenty of energy to help it heal and recover. And the quicker it does so, the sooner you’ll be able to get back to your usual routine and try exercising with your newborn!
losing weight after pregnancy
One of the most important, and difficult, parts of losing weight after pregnancy is being patient with yourself. It’s so hard to give your body the time it needs to get “back to normal”, especially when we’re bombarded with pictures on social media and in magazines of mums who’ve regained their abs 3 months postpartum. From growing bump to burbling baby, your body has been changing for around 9 months, it’s perfectly fair to give it at least 9 months to recover.
So, take care of yourself, talk with your partner about how you’re feeling and remember what an amazing thing it is to make a baby. You might not look exactly like that Instagram-worthy photo taken two years ago, but now you’re so much more. You’re a mum, and not just anyone can say that!