Pregnancy comes with weight gain for almost every new mom. Many first-time mamas are concerned and nervous about how much weight they will gain, while more seasoned mothers know weight gain will happen, and do the best they can to manage how much. General guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy suggest 25lbs - 30lbs as a healthy weight gain in general. Most of that weight is fluid and the baby, while the rest is fat stores for breastfeeding. Still, pregnancy can make it seem like weight gain is totally uncontrollable, and sometimes it is. Some mothers genetically want to carry extra weight during pregnancy, while others don't. There is a large genetic factor that is involved in how much weight you will gain, but most of it is your lifestyle. After all, you can change your gene expression strictly through a healthy diet. So, despite how much weight your genetic code wants you to gain, you can control your weight gain during pregnancy with a healthy diet and activity level. Let's go over exactly how you can control your weight gain during pregnancy, AND, how you can safely lose weight during pregnancy if you've gained too much (and yes, you can safely lose weight during pregnancy if needed).
Important health benefits to maintaining pregnancy weight gain:
Keeping weight gain at a minimum for pregnant women is more important than just physical appearance. The health of the baby in utero is affected by weight gain, blood sugar levels and insulin levels. This is why every pregnant mother is tested for diabetes with the special blood sugar drink during pregnancy. Sometimes a mother will get gestational diabetes due to pregnancy, and not weight gain, but often times gestational diabetes develops due to gaining too much weight. There is in fact, a full list of complications that arise during pregnancy when a mother gains too much weight.
Complications and issues during pregnancy from excessive weight gain:
According to the CDC, there are a number of issues that arise from gaining too much weight. Here is the list:
- Baby becomes too large, causing issues with delivery or necessary C-section
- Delivery complications
- Obesity during childhood for the baby
- Higher risk for hyptertension (high blood pressure including preeclampsia and eclampsia)
- Higher risk for postpartum weight retension
- Higher risk for issues with lactation
There is a great study that outlines all the increased risk for issues during postpartum as a result of increased weight gain during pregnancy. According to a study done by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, "In the postpartum period, potential consequences include weight retention and lactation performance. Weight retention can lead to higher weight status in subsequent pregnancies predisposing the woman to more adverse reproductive outcomes (creating a cycle of risk) and other long-term maternal health consequences such as increased risk for type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and mental health issues."
As you can see, weight gain during pregnancy affects the baby's health and your health as the mother, so it is really important to take the time, and focus on how you can eat healthy and nutrient-dense during pregnancy. Your health care provider will help guide you on how much weight is appropriate for you, so you have a good number to follow. Some woman can gain a little more because they were under weight, where as other may need to gain less because they were over weight when they got pregnant.
How to manage weight gain during the first trimester:
The first trimester can be the most difficult for a pregnant woman mainly because of the morning sickness (or all day sickness), cravings, fatigue and neasuea. Some mothers lose weight during this trimester because they are too sick to eat or throwing up. If this is your case, you may notice more weight gain during the second trimester, and if not, your doctor will advise you on how to properly stay nourished. As for many pregnant mothers, the first trimester leads to eating a lot of carbohydrates, crackers, and other foods that are easy on the stomach. These foods are low in nutrition, and often cause blood sugar and insulin to rollercoaster, which is detrimental to weight management. Because of the intense surge in the HTC hormone during the first few weeks, there are a lot of cravings for ice cream, fries, burgers and other foods that are really hard to control. Because this is a short time, eating a healthy diet as much as possible (without making yourself puke!), and focusing on getting back to healthy habits in the second and third trimester is okay.
Milk Dust has a great prenatal protein powder, Bump Dust, that tastes amazing, and can be a HUGE help for nourishment and getting through the first trimester. It is easy to mix with water or milk, or make in a banana smoothie. A banana oatmeal smoothie made with Bump Dust can help reduce nausea and get your nourished with the necessary protein to help with baby's growth and development.
Did you know that many of the prenatal vitamins you find over the counter can make nausea worse? This is because they are hard on the stomach, and have folic acid rather than folate. Folic acid is the synthetic (and cheaper) form of folate found in the majority of the prenatal vitamins. L-Methylfolate, the methylated form of real folate is the best, and that is what Bump Dust has. L-Methylfolate is easier to absorb, and mothers with the MTHFR gene mutation (many woman have this and don't know!), can't absorb folate without being methylated! This is really important and more doctors need to be advising their prenatal patients on this.
Once you get through the first trimester, the second trimester often offers a burst of energy and feeling better, which can really help you get back on track for healthy eating and exercise. Your healthcare provider will advise you on if you've gained the right amount of weight so far, or if its already too much.
How to manage prenatal weight gain during the second trimester:
The second trimester is your chance to get back on track, and use all the extra energy for eating a balanced diet and exercising. Depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, and how much weight was gained during the first trimester, you may even lose some weight during this trimester. This is because the hormones are leveling out and you are feeling much better. This is your opprotunity to start eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of protein. Protein is an essential nutrient during pregnancy, that is hard to get enough of. We will get into the importance of protein soon, but there are few action items to take during the first trimester to manage weight gain:
- Reduce the additional calories you may have been eating in the first trimester
- Start focusing on protein, vegetables and fresh fruit
- Add in more activity (walking, strength, swimming, biking etc.)
- Take out empty-calorie foods
- Eat small meals and a variety of foods
Just starting with these tips can help you get very far when watching your weight gain. Brisk walking is a great way to add in more activity overall, without causing any injuries or issues as your baby grows. The most important thing to remember is that you are eating healthy and exercising for your baby, not just to lose a few pounds.
The importance of protein for weight management during pregnancy:
Protein is one of the most important nutrients during pregnancy, and it is really helpful for weight management. During pregnancy, you should get a minimum of 60 grams of protein a day, which will account for approximately 20 percent to 25 percent of your calorie intake. This is a general number, and may be different depending on your weight and height. Protein is crucial for the growth of your baby during pregnancy, and Bump Dust offers 16 grams per serving, which helps tremendously to get to the goal of 60 grams. "Pregnancy complicates the already complex metabolism of amino acids. Expansion of blood volume and growth of the maternal tissues require substantial amounts of protein (Table 19-1). Growth of the fetus and placenta also places protein demands on the pregnant woman. Thus, additional protein is essential for the maintenance of a successful pregnancy," as shown in this study.
How to lose weight safely during pregnancy:
As a pregnant mama, weight loss needs to be done safely, so nutrients and energy aren't at risk. Pregnancy can bring some challenges for weight loss, some of them including sugar cravings and extreme hunger. Here at Milk Dust, we specialize in nutrition while pregnant and breastfeeding, specifically by offering a protein powder to help new mommies nourish their bodies, stop sugar cravings, lose weight and keep up their milk production. Protein powders are a great supplement to help with a healthy diet, and they add a great source of lean protein, but the overall diet needs to be full of nutrients. Bump Dust in particular is formulated to nourish pregnant mamas with the actual nutrients their bodies and baby's need during gestation. These are specific nutrients like vitamin B12 (methylated!), folate, protein, iron and superfoods like spirulina and chlorella. Nutrient needs increase during pregnancy, and Bump Dust fills these needs, which reduces cravings and hunger. The body often craves nutrients, but those signals come across as hunger and specific cravings. Once the nutrient needs are met, the body doesn't need to signal for more.
If you properly count calories, and ensure you are eating a nutrient-dense diet, you can safely and effectively lose any extra weight gained during pregnancy. Your doctor will monitor your health at your appointments, and hopefully be impressed with your healthy eating plan and lifestyle!
WHAT FOODS SHOULD A PREGNANT MAMA FOCUS ON FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT?
Eating the right foods is the secret sauce to managing weight gain during pregnancy. Calories do matter, but nutrients matter even more. Here are some very important, nutrient-dense foods that will help with weight gain, and even losing weight during pregnancy.
- Sweet potatoes
- Bump Dust (protein powder)
- Whole grains like sprouted wheat bread
- Healthy fats like avocados, fish and nuts
WHAT SHOULD A PREGNANT MOTHER AVOID TO LOSE WEIGHT SAFELY?
A pregnant mother can absolutely lose weight safely by eating the foods we listed and staying as active as possible.There are a few important points to keep in mind to lose the weight safely:
- Do not restrict calories to the point of extreme hunger
- Keep energy levels up with healthy carbs from fruits, veggies, sweet potatoes and oatmeal
- Don't fill up on crackers and chocolates
- Skip the fad diets that often limit food groups an nutrients
- Avoid deep fried foods, processed meats and breads
- Take out dairy because of the affects on insulin
- Take out white carbs like breads and potatoes
- Avoid calorie-dense cheeses and butter
By taking out many of the calorie-traps that fill your body with no nourishment, a pregnant mama can lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight gain.
If you want to solve your milk supply problems for good by correcting your nutrition and nutrient deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies are a major cause for low milk supply, and you can fix it through the right diet program. The right diet can help you effortlessly lose the baby weight, while actually boosting your supply. Grab this diet program to help you fix your low milk supply, eat the right foods, and completely transform your milk supply.
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STEPS FOR A PREGNANT MOM TO LOSE WEIGHT SAFELY (the best way!):
- Reduce carbohydrates and sugar intake
- Fill your plate with fruits and veggies
- Use the size of your fist for protein servings
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
- Focus on protein at every meal
- Add fiber-rich foods at every meal
- Walk 45 minutes a day
Following these simple steps can actually make a big difference. Prenatal weight loss is tricky because there are so many hormonal changes happening in the body that affect how weight is stored and used. Eating a diet that is rich in nutrient-dense foods also really helps with your energy level, which can reduce cravings from exhaustion too. The issue for many women is that they don't stay consistent. Consistency is the key in weight for anyone, and the same goes for weight loss while pregnant or breastfeeding.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN A NEW MOM LOSE DURING PREGNANCY?
Many pregnant mothers want to know right away how fast and how much weight they can safely lose. If calorie consumption is slightly reduced, to where the extra fat stores are needed, a pregnant mother can lose as much weight as necessary to get back to a healthy weight. Much of this depends on your metabolism, current weight, height and activity level, and how much weight gain you experienced during pregnancy so far.
IMPORTANT FOODS AND NUTRIENTS REQUIRED FOR PREGNANCY:
This is really important. There are specific nutrient needs that are great during pregnancy. Some of these nutrients include:
- Vitamin B 12
- Vitamin C
These are just a few nutrients that are in greater demand during pregnancy, but the great thing is Milk Dust is formulated (patent-pending) with all the specific nutrients a pregnant and breastfeeding mom needs for a healthy pregnancy and successful lactation. Protein in particular is linked to milk supply. Diets low in protein were linked to lower milk supply, and Milk Dust offers 16 grams of protein per serving. Milk Dust also offers L-Methylfolate which means it is Folate in the methylated format. This allows your body to absorb it, where as synthetic folic acid often isn't even absorbed at all by many women! Vitamin B12 is also shown to be needed in greater amounts during lactation, and Milk Dust has this in the methylated format as well! Milk Dust has additional superfoods shown to be essential for lactation, and known to increase supply. By putting together a powerful formula of vitamins and minerals, Milk Dust stops sugar cravings, increases milk supply and helps provide postpartum moms all the nutrients they really need. A nursing mom can be fully nourished on less calories, which is a game changer when it comes to weight loss.
It is really important to gain enough weight, for a healthy pregnancy as well. Overweight women need to watch how much they gain, while many women also need to ensure they gain enough to ensure their pregnancy is full of health! Don't get discouraged if weight gain is too hard to control. The most important thing is that baby is healthy and happy. From there, Milk Dust products are here to help you get yourself back on track when you are ready, whether that is during pregnancy or after.