It is always best if you can get to a healthy weight before you become pregnant. If you are overweight once you become pregnant, it is not recommended that you try to lose weight during your pregnancy.
Cutting back on food to lose weight can mean that your baby misses out on key nutrients or simply the calories needed to grow. The best advice is to try to limit how much weight you gain – although even an obese mother needs to gain about 14 pounds (6.3kg) over the course of her pregnancy.
The best approach is to eat as healthily as you can to keep any weight gain during your pregnancy at around the one stone mark. You don’t need to cut out a lot of foods, just focus on the foods that will give you and your baby the best nutrition. Choosing more high-fibre foods can help to keep weight at healthy levels. Go for lots of fruit and vegetables, high-fibre cereals, and wholegrain breads, as well as beans (e.g. low-sugar baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans) and lentils.
Be aware of what foods you choose for snacks, as you can end up eating a lot more than you realise. You will find you naturally get a little hungrier towards the end of your pregnancy, but in the early days, your normal portions will be enough. As a rule of thumb, your lunch and dinner should be one-third lean meat, such as chicken, fish, eggs or beans; one-third carbs such as pasta, rice, potatoes or bread and one-third salad or vegetables.
One of the best ways to manage weight during pregnancy is to be active. Starting to walk every day, even for 10 or 15 minutes will help to limit how much weight you gain as well as keeping you fit for labour and birth. In an ideal world, 30-40 minutes of exercise five times a week is recommended.
Body Mass Index
- Underweight: BMI is less than 18.5
- Normal weight: BMI is 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight: BMI is 25 to 29.9
- Obese: BMI is 30 or more
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