Is it Safe to Lose Weight When Pregnant?

measuring tape around pregnant belly

Check With Your Doctor

The first and most important thing to remember when considering what is safe and reasonable regarding your body, weight, and pregnancy, is to ask your doctor. If you are considering weight loss while you are pregnant, many variables will determine what and how much exercise or diet will be healthy, so talking with your physician about your specific conditions and needs is crucial.

nurse checking pregnant woman's blood sugar

Vitamins are Essential

Even under normal pregnant circumstances, issues regarding the lack of vitamins and nutrients that come about with dieting and fluids are of utmost importance. Even very minor malnourishment can lead to brain damage in the quickly developing fetus, creating lifelong negative effects. However, once you've discussed it in depth with your OB, there are plenty of ways you can stay healthy and fit while maintaining prenatal health. There are various guidelines and menus you can work with while pregnant; even Weight Watchers offers programs geared for pregnant women. As long as you are under professional supervision, you can know that you're doing the very best for your baby's nutrients and health while adjusting your weight.

Eat Healthily

The best thing to focus on when you are pregnant, even if you are overweight, is not to lose weight, but to be healthy. Simply eating healthy, low-fat, low-sugar meals and making smart food choices should be the priority of every pregnant woman. Never take any diet aids or over the counter weight-loss supplements while you are pregnant, as long-term case studies have never proven these types of products to be safe for pregnant women.

pregnant woman cutting up vegetables

Gain Less

Most doctors will recommend increasing calories while pregnant, not decreasing them, so your diet needs will most likely not be reducing calorie intake. Reckless dieting during pregnancy can cause the developing baby to be malnourished or underweight and is thus harmful. Again, the focus should be on committing to eating and being healthy, rather than how much you weigh. There are a number of health factors that play a role in weight and pregnancy, which is why most OB offices make it a point to weigh moms on each visit. If you are overweight prior to becoming pregnant, chances are good that your doctor will simply require you to gain less weight than average. For example, according to The March of Dimes, women beginning pregnancy at a healthy weight should gain 25 to 35 pounds over the nine-month pregnancy, and women who are obese should only gain 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy.

Take a Walk

Walking is nearly always a healthy option for pregnant women. Unless otherwise restricted by your OB, you should consider walking at least once a day as your body allows, carefully following cues for not overdoing it. Exercise programs, unless specifically approved by your doctor, are best avoided during pregnancy. Remember, your body is growing and supporting the development of a human being. Pushing yourself during this time has a greater risk than any possible benefit. There will be plenty of time, after the baby is born and mom has caught up on rest and healing, to set a realistic weight and exercise goal.