This isn't my first rodeo. Four years ago we were expecting The Little Helping, at the time I was 100 pounds above where I began this pregnancy and had been losing weight for 6 months.
This year we found out we were expecting on Jan. 2. On Jan. 10, I received this note from a reader who is also expecting (it has been edited slightly for length):
"My husband and I are also on a weight loss journey together and we recently found out I am pregnant! We are thrilled, but as someone who has struggled with my weight all my life, the idea of being pregnant and gaining more weight scares me. I had always told myself I would "get skinny" before getting pregnant." Then she asks, "How much did you gain during your pregnancy? Any other tips on maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy or working toward the overall goal of weight loss when you can't really lose weight until after the pregnancy." - "A"
I really enjoy reader questions and the timing of this one couldn't have been better. When the note arrived "the bun" was still just a little secret between Mr. Second Helpings and myself, but I was spending quite a bit of time thinking about my current weight and how I was going to handle gaining the pounds necessary to have a healthy pregnancy. "A" didn't know it but she helped me to step back and give both of us some thoughtful encouragement.
Here is an edited version of my response to "A":
You are in very good company with many pregnant women who are above their goal weight. I have not written much about my weight journey during pregnancy. As you know, we were Weight Watchers members throughout our weight loss. Every care provider I spoke to during my pregnancy encouraged me to continue to use the basic guidelines. They advised me to make food choices that were mostly unprocessed, drink plenty of water, find ways to keep moving, and eat for fuel not comfort or as a boredom buster.
At that time the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists recommended a range of weight gain of up to 20 pounds for women with my BMI. I worked with a midwife who encouraged me to keep to my mindful food habits. I don't want you to get too wrapped up in my numbers because they may not fit your situation. I will say that when it came time to deliver I had stayed within the recommended weight gain for my size. Toward the end of my pregnancy I had to monitor my blood sugar levels. I am sure that keeping track of those numbers, and taking extra care in balancing carbohydrates with protein, helped me make healthier choices in the final months.
My midwife frequently likened preparing for birth to training for a marathon. To stay active and limber I had a couple of prenatal yoga workouts that I did at least once a week (This one was my favorite) and Mr. Second Helpings and I kept up our routine of taking walks as often as possible. I really enjoyed swimming as I got further along. Floating feels great on tired joints, I could stretch much easier in the water. Spending time in water also helps the body shed retained water, making life on land more comfortable for the next day or so.
After my son was born I was surprised to discover how quickly my body shed pounds. I had to increase my calories more during the immediate postpartum period than any other time during pregnancy and two+ years of nursing.
You are unlikely to find a care provider who will suggest dieting during pregnancy. It would be harder still to find one who wouldn't tell you to seek out the widest range of fresh colorful whole foods possible. This is a great time to experiment with new fruits and vegetables and find new sources of protein. It doesn't have to be all fancy organic and high end, frozen peas and carrots are one of my staples. Just think about eating mostly ingredients.
Healthy habits are always good and will benefit you, and your entire family, for years to come.
I like this Q & A on pregnancy weight issues: 9 Common Questions About Weight Gain During Pregnancy
You may also like babyfit.com where you can track your eating to help you stay on target with your calorie and other nutrient consumption.
Best of luck and please feel free to give me a shout anytime :)
Yours in Health,
Submit your nutrition & fitness questions for the upcoming pregnancy series: Use the comment section below or email OurLadyof2nds@yahoo.com. The series will run the week of May 12-18.
As always this post is a reflection of my personal opinions and experience. Please consult a health professional before making any changes to your health and fitness routine.
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