Weight gain is normal during pregnancy. The average weight that is ideal in pregnancy depends on how healthy your pre-pregnancy weight and BMI.
BMI is calculated as weight in kg/ height in meters x height in meters.
Underweight (<18.5): 12.5 kg–18 kg
Healthy weight (18.5 – 24.9): 11.5 kg–16kg
Overweight (25.0 – 29.9) : 7 kg–11.5 kg
Obese (≥ 30.0): 5 kg–9 kg
If you’re having twins though, you might gain a little bit more.
Healthy weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9): 17 kg–25 kg
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9): 14 kg–23 kg
Obese (BMI 30 or more): 11 kg–19 kg
1. This weight comes from your beautiful baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, expansion of your organs to accommodate the extra work of nourishing your baby.
2. Most people gain more weight during pregnancy because they are advised to eat for 2 or more as the case might be. Your energy needs do not change in the first six months of pregnancy. Only in the last three months do a woman’s energy needs increase by around 200 calories per day.
3. This means that if you are at a healthy weight, you need to stick to the recommended daily allowance of 2000 calories for an average woman and in the third-trimester increase by 200 calories. 200 calories is mostly a snack, not a full meal.
If you’re overweight/obese you might need to calculate your caloric intake during pregnancy with the help of a Nutritionist so you don’t end up gaining more weight.
It is important to know that gaining too much weight during pregnancy especially if you are already overweight can increase your chances of pregnancy-related diseases such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Your baby is also at risk for stillbirth and congenital anomalies.
Obesity during pregnancy can also affect health later in life for both you and your child. For women, these risks include heart disease and hypertension. Children have a risk of future obesity and heart disease.
4. Now that you know healthy weight gain in pregnancy, how do you go about losing the pregnancy weight aka snatch your sexy back?
1. Be patient with yourself
One of the reasons why I encourage eating healthy even before pregnancy is because it makes losing the pregnancy weight easier. Particularly if you already know some of the rudiments such as meal prep, how to count calories etc. Please be patient with yourself, dear new mum. Don’t let Instagram put you under unnecessary pressure. You are your own competition.
2. Resume healthy eating as soon as you can.
I’m being realistic here by saying as soon as you can. Our pregnancy journey differs. Some new mums get discharged from the hospital the day after the delivery while some get discharged after weeks of hospital admission.
After delivery, your house is probably filled with a lot of people. From your mother to your mother – in – love, cousins, aunties, etc. Sometimes these people are in charge of grocery shopping and cooking while you the new mum rest and feed your baby. Your choices might truly be limited, therefore please resume healthy eating as soon as you can. What you can do in this situation is to watch your portion, please don’t eat for 2. Excess food intake is not going to nourish your baby, rather it will be filling up your waist.
3. Eat healthy meals that are high in fiber, vegetables, and healthy proteins.
Bulking up your foods with vegetables will allow you to eat more food without exceeding your caloric intake. Some people think that eating vegetable will affect their baby but it’s mostly a myth. Even if your child is passing more stool, all you need to do is identify the offending vegetable and eliminate it from your diet. Fiber and healthy proteins have been shown to help reduce belly fat.
4. Breastfeed your baby
Breastfeeding has amazing benefits for both mother and baby. For you as a new mum, breastfeeding helps to reduce the size of your uterus by helping it contract and return to its normal size faster after birth. It also supports weight loss because it helps you burn calories.
5. Drink adequate water
I encourage you to drink about 2.5 – 3 L of water especially while breastfeeding. Most times we feel we are hungry when all we actually need is water. Hydration also helps the flow of breast milk and help to reduce water retention.
6. Be active
I’m not saying you should go and lift weight in the gym immediately after delivery but please be active. You can walk around the block or dance with your baby. You can listen to audio messages while walking or create a dance playlist.
Please do anything other than sleeping, eating and feeding your baby.
7. Sleep when your baby is sleeping.
As a new mum, you’re under a lot of stress already. Stress increases your risk of weight gain because there’s an increased release of stress hormones such as cortisol. Sleep is an amazing weight loss strategy. This might not be easy since there are many things you will want to get done while your baby is sleeping but try your very best. Your baby and your body will thank you for it.
8. Ask for help
Dear new mum, perfection does not exist. It’s absolutely okay to ask for help. There are so many things to get done and you can not do it all on your own. Please as for help. Sometimes we are wary of help because we think the task will not be done the exact way we want it. But trust me, it’s okay. You can explain how you want it done. Look around you, there are amazing people around you who want to be of help. They just don’t know what to do. Let these people help you.
Losing the pregnancy weight can be a struggle especially when you’re a new mum with little or no support system but it is possible. Focus on being intentional in your daily choices and take as much time as you need.