If you’re reading this blog then you are trying to find out if it is safe for you to lose weight whilst you are pregnant. The straight forward answer is no, it’s not recommended to try to lose weight whilst pregnant, even if you are considered to be overweight or obese. Let’s delve a little bit deeper into this topic in order to understand why and what you can focus on instead to ensure you avoid harming the development of your baby and also feel like you are being the healthiest version of yourself.
Firstly, there are exceptions to the rule of losing weight whilst pregnant. Here’s a quick overview:
1. Starting your pregnancy when overweight
Let’s start by outlining the fact that the research surrounding weight management and losing weight whilst pregnant is fairly limited. However it’s a known fact that being obese and pregnant is associated with higher risks for mum and baby. Observational studies do show obese pregnant women can lose weight during pregancy due to the mother becoming more mindful of their nutritional intake and the increased energy demand of a growing baby. However intentionally losing weight whilst pregnant is not supported by enough evidence and research. This means that it is not something women should be setting as a personal target.
Morning sickness is one of those dreaded pregnancy symptoms. Just when you think you’ve got away with it, it hits you like a ton of bricks. It’s most common in the first trimester and can make you feel utterly horrific. Trust me, I’ve been there twice. It can cause serious food aversion which can lead to weight lose. According to research, weight loss is nothing to worry about in the first trimester.
So if you’re still wondering if it’s OK for you to intentionally lose weight whilst pregnant, here are some recommendations for you to focus on instead:
1. Focus on a healthy weight gain.
If you have read this far, and have looked into any of the links I have inserted into this blog, you will know that there is not enough research to support intentional weight loss during pregnancy. Instead you can focus on gaining a healthy amount of weight. The NHS recommends women gain a certain amount of weight depending on their starting point. Have a look at the table published by Rasmussen et al (2010) and see where you fit in.
2. Strive for goals that are non-scale related.
You don’t need to step on the scales everyday to seek validation that you’re having a healthy pregnancy. You can set other targets that will help keep your heart and muscles strong for your growing baby. Exercise goals are a great place to start. This could be aiming for completing two workouts per week or giving yourself a step count goal. Check out our blog on a first trimester workout here.
3. Try to fill your tummy with nutritional, voluminous food.
This is a lot easier than it sounds, especially if you have morning sickness, food aversions or random craving. However, if you can stomach the good stuff then load up on plenty of colourful vegetables and fibre. If that doesn’t sound like something you can manage, why not try our recipe for healthy pancakes, these were my saviour during my second pregnancy!
In conclusion, it’s probably not a great idea for you to try to lose weight whilst your pregnant due to the risks it poses to your baby. Instead, aim to stick to a healthy weight gain and improve other lifestyle factors such as regular exercise and eating nutrient dense foods. If you want any further guidance regarding training and nutrition during pregnancy then simply head back to our homepage and fill out the form you can find there.