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How to Not Gain Weight During Pregnancy: Tips to Manage Pregnancy Weight Gain

how to not gain weight during pregnancy

Gaining weight during pregnancy is crucial for the growth of the baby in your womb. But already being overweight when you conceive or gaining a lot of weight too soon by relishing unhealthy snacks won’t be wise. Your pregnancy diet should be such that it promotes healthy weight gain every month without making you fat. Wondering how to not gain weight during pregnancy when everyone around you is pampering you with yummy delicacies and advising you to eat all the time?

What Makes You Gain Weight During Pregnancy?

how to not gain weight during pregnancy

Pregnant women gain weight as their bodies need to accommodate the developing fetus. So, if someone witnesses healthy weight gain, it is not fat. For instance, if a woman has gained 16 kilograms throughout her pregnancy, this is what it means:

  • Baby’s weight: 3.5 kilograms/ 8 pounds
  • Placenta: 1-1.5 kilograms/ 2-3 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid: 1-1.5 kilograms/ 2-3 pounds
  • Breast tissue: 1-1.5 kilograms/ 2-3 pounds
  • Blood supply: 2 kilograms/ 4 pounds
  • Fat stores: 2.5-4 kilograms/ 5-9 pounds
  • Uterus growth: 1-2.5 kilograms/ 2-5 pounds

How Much Weight Gain During Pregnancy Is Normal?

Weight gain during pregnancy depends on various factors like your body type, your metabolism, overall health, the baby’s health etc. However, if your BMI remains less than 18.5 during the first trimester and second trimester, you may be underweight. If BMI is between 19.5 to 24.9, then it is considered normal weight. Lastly, if your BMI is between 25 and 29.5, you are clearly overweight.

So, to know exactly how much weight during pregnancy you should gain based on your age, height, and overall health, talk to your health care provider to set up weight gain goals and have a healthy pregnancy.

Importance of Managing Weight During Pregnancy

Only 32% of pregnant ladies put on weight according to the weight gain recommendations advised by doctors. Nearly 48 percent women end up gaining a lot more weight that advised during their pregnancy. Did you know that gaining so much weight can have adverse effects on you and your baby? Studies have revealed that being overweight during the first, second, and third trimesters puts a person at a higher risk for issues and complications like:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Cesarean birth
  • Gestational hypertension
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Preterm birth
  • Delivering a large baby and having difficulty while delivery
  • Giving birth to a baby prone to having childhood obesity

Let us now learn how to avoid gaining excess weight for a healthy pregnancy.

Pregnancy Weight Gain: How to Keep Obesity at Bay?

Since we have mentioned what will happen if you don’t count your calories, scroll down to learn how to lose weight during pregnancy.

1. Get rid of pre-pregnancy weight

Once you find out you are pregnant, you will have to eat more for yourself and your baby. So, you will be gaining weight steadily and you will also have food cravings even in the middle of the night. So, the moment you think you are ready to become a parent, set up a healthy eating routine and workout daily. If you aren’t sure about how much pre-pregnancy weight you need to lose, book an appointment with a renowned gynecologist. Your doctor will take note of your BMI (body mass index) and suggest a weight loss plan (if necessary).

 2. Start the day with wholesome breakfast

Having sumptuous breakfast in the morning is crucial as it is the most important meal of the day. As our body fasts when we are sleeping, having food within a hour after waking up is essential to feel energetic and cheerful throughout the day. Moreover, when you fill up your tummy with plenty of nutritious food, you won’t feel like snacking now and then and end up gaining extra calories.

If morning sickness makes it difficult for you to eat properly in the morning, try to have two small meals in the morning instead of one large meal. Avocado toast, whole fruits, smoothie, boiled eggs, and breakfast cereals are some of the best options.

3. Exercise daily

While heavy workout at the gym during pregnancy is not recommended, sufficient physical activity is necessary. Exercising regularly is important to feel positive, keep excess weight gain in check, aid digestion, reduce body aches, and sleep soundly at night. So, you can do some light aerobic exercises, take a 30-min stroll in the park, or go swimming. Prenatal yoga is another amazing option that will help you regulate the amount of weight you gain, alleviate labor pain, and make delivery less difficult.

4. Focus on keeping blood sugar levels stable

You can stay full and keep blood sugar levels stable by having regular meals along with satiating snacks. Understanding the GI (Glycemic Index) will give you some idea about how fast a particular food spikes the blood sugar levels. Medium and low GI foods keep releasing energy slowly and so, they won’t make your blood sugar levels fluctuate. On the other hand, the body breaks down high GI foods quickly, causing a speedy increase in the blood sugar levels. So, your aim should be to consume more medium and low GI foods that will release energy gradually and these include:

  • whole grain, rye, multigrain, sourdough bread, granary seeded bread
  • new potatoes in their skins, sweet potato, yam, cold boiled potatoes
  • wholewheat pasta and noodles
  • brown rice, long grain rice, or basmati rice
  • barley, quinoa, bulgur wheat, couscous,
  • muesli, low-sugar oats, porridge, bran-based cereals.

According to the British Dietetic Association, here are some higher GI foods that your health care provider will ask you to avoid:

  • sugary foods and sugar
  • white bread
  • sugary soft drinks
  • white rice
  • potatoes

Additionally, lower in GI and high in fiber foods such as peas, porridge, fruits, veggies, lentils, and beans are excellent options to be included to your daily diet so that you don’t gain too much weight in pregnancy.

5. Drink sufficient water

It is mandatory to have adequate water during pregnancy to avoid getting dehydrated. There are many other benefits of having water at frequent intervals and staying in shape is one of them. That’s because when you have water between meals, you won’t snack too often as you will remain satiated. Drinking water will also give you relief from constipation which is among the side effects of pregnancy.

But how much water should you drink per day? According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a pregnant lady should have 8-12 cups (equivalent to 3 liters) of filtered water every day. One way of ensuring that you have been drinking enough water is by noticing the color of your urine. If it is yellowish, it is a sign that your body is not properly hydrated.

The Bottom Line

Lastly, we would like to remind you that every pregnant person has her unique motherhood journey and puts on weight differently. So, instead of comparing your weight gain to other expecting moms, you should just ensure that your weight is healthy and safe for you and the baby. And we have already shared some effective tips on how to not gain weight during pregnancy.If you follow these guidelines, you won’t be gaining too much weight. At the same time, you should not be too desperate to lose postpartum belly fat immediately after delivery. So, eat well, keep exercising, and enjoy this exciting phase of your life!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What causes excessive weight gain during pregnancy?

Excess intake of unhealthy foods and sugary drinks and insufficient physical activity are two of the biggest reasons behind too much weight gain during pregnancy. So, to gain less weight, you must be mindful of what and how much you consume.

Q. Is it OK not to gain weight during pregnancy?

No, not gaining any weight is not a good sign for someone who is expecting. 25-35 pounds of weight gain during pregnancy is advisable as not gaining weight might lead to health complications for the baby and the mommy.


Weight gain in pregnancy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

When you need to gain more weight during pregnancy: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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