Guest - posted on 05/29/2014
Yes! It is very possible to lose weight while pregnant if you are extremely overweight, but you do have to be VERY careful and work closely with your doctor.
Some exercises are not good for pregnant women for various reasons, but there are tons of exercises that are perfectly fine for pregnant women, and can actually benefit you during (a normal) pregnancy whether you are over weight or not. I put normal in parenthesis because certain complications during pregnancy can may some exercises that are usually safe unsafe.
If you are trying to lose weight during pregnancy, you need to be very attentive to your diet in order to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need without getting a surplus of calories or unhealthy fats and sugars. (You do need some fats and sugars!!)
You can get very specific diets by talking to your doctor, he or she can tell you exactly how much of each nutrient you need, and what foods are best to get them all. In general though, create your day around this model:
10% or less meats
10% whole grains
10% dairy, but make sure you get your calcium!
5% or less simple carbohydrates like white bread and starchy foods.
Talk to your doctor about how many calories you need to be consuming each day, then when you are choosing foods to eat, make sure the percentage of nutrients you are getting from it is at least equal to or higher than the percentage of your allowed calories per day that food will use up. Think of calories like money that you can spend throughout the day--do you want to spend them on junk like burgers and fries, or value packed foods like apples and snap peas?
I don't know what your current fitness routine looks like, but you will want to avoid most strength training until after your pregnancy unless you are already very skilled in that area. Yoga is a great, safe way to maintain strength during pregnancy. Check your area for yoga schools that have special classes for pregnant women, but if you cannot find the special classes just go to a beginner level class and let the instructor know that you are pregnant so he or she can alter certain poses for you. Go twice a week to replace whatever you are currently doing for strength training. And, it should go without saying, but check with your doctor first.
Most of your routine should focus on cardio for now (you will transition to a focus on strength training after the baby is born, during breastfeeding). Swimming is great, and is generally considered safe for pregnant women, and it has the added benefit of light strength conditioning without straining any muscle groups that might cause problems. It also helps with the joint discomfort that occurs due to spreading hips and ribs during pregnancy. Biking, LIGHT rowing, spinning, and walking are also safe options, but again, check with the doctor before you start anything new.
If you keep the intensity at a moderate level, an hour or so of cardio each day and the twice weekly yoga classes should be a sufficient start to working toward a healthy weight. If you choose walking, you may need more than an hour because it is very easy to slow down to a pace that really isn't doing any good in terms of weight loss--it is still good for the heart and other systems though, so even if you walk slow, keep walking!!
After the baby is born, and you are recovered, you can kick it up a notch or two :)
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