For most women, pregnancy is a time of unbridled joy. But it’s also a time of anxiety, especially for new mothers. While it may not be a matter of life or death, one of the issues that women find most anxiety-inducing is weight gain. And that’s understandable — it’s difficult to adjust to radical changes in your body shape. You also have to walk a tightrope of sorts, making sure your baby has sufficient calories to develop while also ensuring you don’t gain unnecessary weight. When you factor in the dozens of other things pregnant women have to worry about, it can all be a lot to handle.
But it doesn’t have to be so stress-inducing. If you plan ahead and follow smart medical guidelines, managing your weight during and after pregnancy shouldn’t be a problem. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. So let’s take a look at some healthy ways to keep your weight in check.
Weight gain during pregnancy
There’s one thing that’s absolutely critical to understand when it comes to pregnancy weight: you’re going to gain it. And it’s OK. While that sounds obvious, it’s often difficult for women to accept that their bodies must change. It’s a psychological hurdle to overcome.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a discerning eater. When you’re pregnant, you have a built-in rationalization to eat whatever you want. But you also shouldn’t go overboard and eat when you don’t need too, simply because you’re pregnant. Gaining the weight may not matter now, but nine months later, the bill will be due. Even more importantly, overeating or eating unhealthily during pregnancy can result in medical problems like gestational diabetes.
Once you’re in a healthy frame of mind, there are some simple methods you can use to keep your weight in check during pregnancy. First, you may want to keep an accurate log of your meals and calories consumed. Your OB-GYN will be able to give you some guidelines showing how much weight you should gain per month and how much you should gain overall. In order to reach these targets, it’s important to have a good idea how many calories you take in, as most of us tend to dramatically underestimate our daily calories count. Other good ideas include eating smaller and more frequent meals to help boost metabolism, getting enough exercise, staying properly hydrated and avoiding empty calories.
Anyone who has dieted knows how difficult it is to lose weight. Now imagine trying to lose weight while being sleep-deprived, irritable and busier than you have ever been in your life. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? Well, there’s no sugarcoating it — it’s not fun at all. But there are things you can do to expedite the process and boost your chances of success.
First, let’s talk about exercise. At first blush, this might seem absurd — you’re going to be struggling to find time to sleep, let along walk or jog. But it’s important to exercise, even if you have to start very small and work your way up. Not only is exercise great for weight-control, it will also give you a much-needed emotional lift.
These emotional boosts are important. Post-pregnancy can be a challenging time, and if we don’t feel great about ourselves or the way we appear, it’s human nature to seek solace in food. This is the proverbial vicious circle — we eat more because we feel bad then feel bad because we eat more. So staying emotionally healthy is a key component in staying physically healthy. Being patient is another key — it took you nine months to gain the weight so it’s unreasonable to expect to lose it in a matter or weeks. Also, you may want to enlist the support of friends or family members who have been through the same process.
Unless you’re one of the genetically-blessed, managing your weight isn’t going to be easy. But it doesn’t have to be a major cause of stress, if you follow these guidelines and stay positive and focused on reasonable goals. If you want an extra bit of support or have any questions, please contact your doctor–that’s what we’re here for!