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In The Guide
Congratulations on your pregnancy! It is a blessing to be expecting and supporting a brand new life, whether it’s your first or your fourth.
Pregnancy naturally results in weight gain as your body adjusts to sustain the child growing inside of you.
However, if you are overweight, you may wonder how much weight you should lose, or IF you should plan to gain any lose at all.
There are many different opinions directed at pregnant women. And a plus-sized pregnancy only compounds the confusion, especially when it comes to weight gain.
As a mom of five children and a Certified Prenatal Trainer, I would never tell a pregnant woman to focus on weight loss.
I believe our bodies are smart. If our body was ready to get pregnant, we must do our part to give them‒our body and our unborn child‒what it needs to achieve a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
However, entering pregnancy in an overweight condition does bring with it increased risks.
Your job is to be aware of these risks and know what the best things to do are in order to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. Every day, overweight women give birth to healthy children.
It is never safe to restrict calories during pregnancy. In fact, calorie restriction is another risk factor for obesity later on in your child’s life.
Studies have shown that dieting in pregnancy changes your unborn child at the cellular level. If you want to give your baby a chance at a healthy life, be aware that their health begins when they are growing in your belly. Don’t cut your calories.
Under a doctor’s or registered dietitian’s supervision, eat a healthy diet full of whole foods and fibre.
Your doctor will likely suggest weight-loss guidelines – take it with a grain of salt. If your doctor suggests weight loss in a plus-sized pregnancy, I would advise you to find a new doctor who will work with you to make your pregnancy healthy and happy.
Before you begin any kind of exercise during pregnancy, it is always important to check with your doctor or midwife.
Know your body. If you have any medical conditions that are not under control, exercise may increase the chance of worsening your own or your unborn child’s health. Know what you can and can’t do.
If your primary care provider gives you the green light, find an experienced Prenatal Fitness Trainer. You can safely begin a light to moderate exercise program that can include walking or swimming.
You can also add a light resistance training program at the beginning of your second trimester. Find out what exercises you can do to reduce your pregnancy discomforts and prepare your body for birth.
It is dangerous to exercise at a high intensity during pregnancy. An elevated heart rate or gasping for breath puts your fetus at risk. A lack of oxygen and blood is dangerous for your unborn child and can result in a miscarriage or preterm birth.
When you exercise, monitor your exertion throughout your session. The simplest way to do this is by using the talk test. If you can talk in full sentences, you are probably working safely within your limits.
As I’ve already said, you can be overweight and have a healthy pregnancy.
Know your risks. Make a healthy pregnancy plan with your doctor that includes moderate exercise, a sensible diet of mostly whole foods, and perform specific exercises to ease pregnancy discomforts and prepare your body for labor.
You should also consider taking childbirth classes and hiring a birth coach, both of which will give you valuable information and help.
Above all, have confidence in your body. Enjoy your pregnancy and take this opportunity to establish lifelong healthy habits that will benefit you and your unborn child, from pregnancy until forever.
The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that an overweight, pregnant woman has nearly the same risks as someone who has uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, a regular smoker or drinker.
Before you panic, it is important again to note that overweight women give birth to healthy babies every day.
If you are already pregnant, the best thing you can do is talk with your doctor or midwife to assess your risks and make a plan for the healthiest pregnancy you can.
A lot of women begin to take better care of themselves during pregnancy, no matter what their initial weight is. We have another human being growing in us and they are dependent on our body.
Pregnancy is a great time to make permanent lifestyle changes that lead to a healthier life for you and your child.
Overweight pregnancies often result in longer labours.
It is important to speak with your doctor about your personal risks and then do what you can to have a healthy pregnancy and labor.
If you enter pregnancy as an overweight woman, your doctor will assess your risks. If he or she feels that your risks are significant, you will likely have more frequent prenatal visits to monitor you and your baby’s health.
Be prepared that you may have frequent testing for gestational diabetes and other conditions for both you and your unborn baby.
Angela Bergmann, BA, PTS, PFS, RKC, CFC, Mom of 5