7 Wrong Ways to Lose Weight While Pregnant – And Even Affect Your Baby

Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal and natural. But there are some cases when shedding the pounds may actually be beneficial to both mom and baby.

According to WebMD, losing weight during pregnancy can be good to the health of infants born to obese mothers with gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born.

That said, there are right and wrong ways to lose weight while pregnant. Later on this article, we’ll tell you the wrong ways to lose weight while pregnant so you’ll know what you should avoid doing

Before we get into the hows, let us take a look at why obese women should consider losing weight during pregnancy.

  • Gestational diabetes, which happens during pregnancy, increases the likelihood of delivery via C-section. Both mother and child also have a higher risk of developing diabetes in the future due to gestational diabetes.
  • Preeclampsia, which can occur during or after pregnancy, is a high blood pressure disorder that may cause the liver and kidneys to fail.
  • Babies born to obese mothers have a higher risk of congenital heart defects, neural tube defects, and other birth defects.
  • Obese women are more likely to miscarry than women of normal weight.
  • During an ultrasound exam, problems with the baby’s anatomy may not be spotted immediately if there is too much body fat.
  • Obese women experience more labor problems, and obesity can interfere with the use of epidural blocks and other pain medications.
  • Being obese during pregnancy increases the risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Problems associated with maternal obesity may cause the baby to be delivered early. Because preterm babies are not as fully developed, they may encounter various health problems later on.
  • Maternal obesity increases the risk of stillbirth.

Now that we know the risks of maternal obesity, here are the things that you should not do to lose weight while you have a bun in the oven.

1. Not having a plan

Just like any other goal, losing weight safely during pregnancy requires a solid, consistent plan. Not having one is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure.

A plan with a focus on gradual lifestyle changes will help you stay on track. Even if you do experience some bad days, having a plan makes it much easier to dust yourself off and pick up where you left off.

Not sure where to start? Consult your doctor – he or she can help you create a healthy pregnancy plan.

2. Restricting your calories

Not only is calorie restriction during pregnancy unsafe, it also increases your child’s risk of obesity later on in life. How so?

Well according to studies, unhealthy dieting during pregnancy affects your unborn baby at the cellular level. One very important piece of information to remember is that your baby’s health begins in your womb.

So eat healthy for you and your baby by consuming more vegetables and lean protein. In addition, avoid sugar, soda, and processed foods.

3. Skipping meals

Please do not skip meals just to lose weight faster. Doing so will restrict the nutrients your baby gets and can lead to birth defects or a miscarriage.

Not eating regularly also causes your blood sugar levels to fluctuate, and these changes are harmful to you and your baby. Instead, distribute your meals evenly throughout the day and eat smaller portions.

4. Doing high-intensity workouts

Unless you’re used to high-intensity exercises pre-pregnancy, it’s best to take it slow and steady during pregnancy.

Dr. John Higgins of Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center says, “In general, women can stick to their usual workout program during the first trimester. Exercise intensity should not exceed pre-pregnancy levels, however.”

Shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate can be dangerous for your baby. Your best bet is to find a reliable prenatal fitness trainer who can help design the right workout program for you – this may include activities such as swimming and brisk walking.

5. Focusing only on the numbers on the scale

No matter how much you weighed pre-pregnancy, you’ll still gain some weight during pregnancy. As we mentioned earlier, it is a normal and natural process.

Weight gain is necessary to sustain your growing baby. The healthy amount, however, depends on your weight before you became pregnant.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, obese women with a BMI of 30 and higher need to gain between 11 and 20 pounds; women who have a BMI between 25 and 29.9 need to gain 15 to 25 pounds; and those of normal weight with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 can gain 25 to 35 pounds.

6. Not talking to your doctor early on

A study published in the journal Obesity revealed that women who received weight management advice during weeks 7 to 21 of pregnancy were less likely to pack on the pounds during their third trimester.

Did you know that weight gain during pregnancy happens mostly in the second and third trimesters? Plus, babies grow quickly during their last two months in the womb.

While you can’t totally avoid weight gain, consulting your doctor earlier in pregnancy will give you the best chances of keeping excess weight at bay.

7. Not focusing on your health

Your overall goal shouldn’t be merely to lose weight, but to have a healthy pregnancy. Dr. Raul Artal of Saint Louis University School of Medicine wants people to know that pregnancy is not a time to overeat and be sedentary.

Pregnancy should be a reminder of what your amazing body can do! You have another human being growing inside you and this is a cause for celebration.

Ideally, the healthy habits that you establish as you work on losing weight during pregnancy will become lifelong behaviors that you uphold, even after you’ve given birth.

Remember to work with your doctor, prenatal fitness trainer, and other experienced professionals as you go on your weight loss journey. Avoid the wrong ways to lose weight while pregnant and you and your baby will enjoy good health!