Losing Weight While Pregnant: Is It Safe?

Are you considering losing weight while pregnant?Losing Weight While Pregnant

If so, there’s a lot to consider before you take that step.

The first thing you should do is speak to your OB-GYN, doctor or midwife, but in the meantime, we have collected lots of handy information for you so that you feel a little bit more in the know about this tricky topic:


Why Are Women Losing Weight While Pregnant?

Around 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and that unhappiness does not go away just because pregnancy occurs, leading some women to start to, or continue to lose weight regardless of their condition.

In fact, if your relationship with food and exercise goes beyond body image and you have an eating disorder, pregnancy may well be a huge trigger because your body is naturally changing throughout.

If you are in recovery, it may well bring back some of those familiar struggles because of your growing size.

Many women may also want to be healthier for their baby, and hope to start losing weight while pregnant to shed excess pounds in order to be in better shape for their growing baby.


Is Losing Weight While Pregnant Healthy?

There isn’t a yes or a no on this topic, unfortunately. For this reason your first port of call if you’re thinking of losing weight while pregnant should be your doctor.

However, it does help to know that there are two lines of thinking on the topic, which we are going to take a closer look at below:

First Line Of Thinking – Losing Weight While Pregnant Is Not Healthy

The NHS in the UK takes the position that you should start losing weight while pregnant, even if you are obese as defined by your BMI (find a BMI calculator here).

This is because despite your increased risk of conditions or problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clots and miscarriage whilst you are pregnant and obese, trying to lose weight during this time will not reduce your chance of complications.

In addition, weight loss could cause even more risks.

Instead, the NHS suggests that you should attend all of your antenatal appointments and stay in contact with your doctor. So in the US, your OB-GYN should be offering you a gestational diabetes test, and they should discuss the kind of risks that come with being overweight and pregnant.

For example; if you are obese you are more likely to need the help of forceps or a caesarean when you give birth. Your doctor will need to discuss this with you as part of your birth plan.

The key is to ensure that you are monitored and under the best possible medical care during this time, and the NHS believes that by doing that, you’re doing the best for yourself and your baby and that does not involve weight loss during this time.

Second Line Of Thinking – Losing Weight While Pregnant Can Be Done Safely

Healthline suggests (with backing from scientific studies and medical insight) losing weight while pregnant can be healthy. This is not applicable if you are a healthy weight when you get pregnant because losing weight would then cause your BMI to drop to an unhealthy weight.

The trusted site suggests that it could be possible to experience weight loss during pregnancy in a healthy way,  and it could even be beneficial to lose weight if you carry excess weight when you get pregnant.

The line of thinking relates to the risks we mentioned above, that overweight and obese pregnant women have and so, the idea is that gradual, guided weight loss recommended by your doctor is safe and potentially quite a good idea.


How Much Weight Should You Gain Whilst You Are Pregnant?

If you are considering weight loss during pregnancy or you want to make sure you’re not gaining too much, there are guideline amounts you can follow so you know the baby is healthy, and you’re not piling on too many pounds. The CDC offers these guideline amounts of weight gain for pregnant women:

  • BMI under 18.5 (underweight) – a gain of between 28-40 pounds (50-62 pounds with twins)
  • BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 (average weight) – a gain of between 25 and 25 pounds (37-54 pounds with twins)
  • BMI between 25 and 29.9 (overweight) – a gain of between 15 and 25 pounds (31-50 pounds with twins)
  • BMI of 30 or more (obese) – a gain of between 11 and 20 pounds  (25-42 pounds with twins)

The CDC also states that around half of pregnant women gain more weight than they need to whilst they are pregnant. So even if losing weight while pregnant is not on the cards, it is good to know that you’re putting on a healthy amount during this time.


Losing Weight Before Pregnancy & Fertility

Losing weight before pregnancy is a much better path than weight loss in pregnancy, and it could boost your chances of getting pregnant in the first place. According to The American Society For Reproductive Medicine a BMI of below 18.5 could cause you to stop ovulating altogether, or at least experience irregular periods.

They also say that when you have a BMI over 30, which indicates that you are obese, your chances of getting pregnant are less than a person who is of a healthy weight.

This is also affected by the fertility of an obese partner. Diabetes, insulin resistance, thyroid issues and more can affect fertility and those issues are all more likely if you are obese.

If you are obese and trying for a baby, one of the best things you can do for your health and fertility is to gradually lose weight in a healthy way.


Pregnancy Weight Loss & Eating Disorders

If you are considering losing weight while pregnant and you have an eating disorder or have previously suffered from an eating disorder it is very important to discuss this with your doctor.

According to Tommy’s, a pregnancy and baby loss charity, there are multiple risks associated with eating disorders and pregnancy, including preterm birth miscarriage and postnatal depression.

By speaking to your doctor about your eating disorder when you are pregnant, you can get the support you need so that you and your baby have the best possible chance of optimum health.


Considering Weight Loss During Pregnancy? Speak To Your Doctor

Hopefully the information above has helped you feel a little more in the know about the subject of weight loss during pregnancy.

Your primary concern if you are thinking of losing weight while pregnant should be speaking to your doctor.

They will be able to monitor you and baby, making sure that you’re as healthy as possible during this important time.

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