Here's Why You Should Never Try To Lose Weight While Pregnant

Though it can be a shock seeing the scales jump up so fast, losing weight intentionally can be harmful
Pregnant woman home alone with a headache
Dobrila Vignjevic via Getty Images
Pregnant woman home alone with a headache

Gaining weight in pregnancy can be difficult to accept, despite it being very normal. On average, most women gain around 10kg – 12.5kg during their pregnancy, according to the NHS.

However, the weight gained during pregnancy is not because you are ‘eating for two’ — it actually comes from your baby growing and your body storing additional fat to help with milk production after birth, and it is completely normal and healthy.

Though it can be a shock seeing the scales jump up so fast, it is never advised to lose weight while pregnant. In fact, intentionally losing weight by dieting or exercising outside of your norm can be dangerous for both the mum and the baby.

Kate Hilton, a clinical dietician at FeelGut says: “For most pregnancies, the focus should be on maintaining a healthy balanced diet to support the baby’s growth and development.

“There are risks when trying to lose weight during pregnancy, the chances of delivering a baby with a low birth weight are increased. Restricting calorie intake can also lead to inadequate intake of essential nutrients required for foetal development, such as folic acid, iron, calcium, and protein, crucial for your baby’s development.

“My advice would be to not make any drastic changes to your diet during pregnancy, instead; engage in regular moderate physical activity which can support overall health during pregnancy without the goal of weight loss.”

It can be mentally, emotionally and physically challenging to accept your new body, but personal trainer and nutrition coach Sarah Campus of LDN mums fitness is a huge advocate for being strong and fit for birth, but NOT loosing weight unless told by your GP.

She said: “Trying to lose weight whilst pregnant is not advised because you could be depriving your growing baby of nutrients that they need to grow and develop. It is advised to go for healthy weight gain with good nutrition and exercise while pregnant.

“Being pregnant is not the time to be dieting, restricting calories, hitting personal bests. It is a time to nurture your body and that of your growing baby.”

Sarah explained that though obesity or being overweight during pregnancy can lead to problems such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia and issues with blood clotting, you should not go to extremes during your pregnancy.

She advises: “The best way to have a healthy pregnancy is to optimise your health prior to pregnancy. During pregnancy it’s advised to focus on healthier foods, including vegetables, proteins, whole carbs, as opposed to processed foods. It is ok to monitor your weight and make adjustments to your eating habits throughout your pregnancy, but good to be guided by a health care professional.

“Continue to exercise to keep your entire body healthy and strong. Talk to your health care professional about safe exercise, especially after the 12th week of pregnancy.”

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