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Is It Okay to Lose Weight During Pregnancy?

The subject of weight gain and weight loss during pregnancy has always been a hotly contested one. For years, doctors advised their patients to keep their weight gain to no more than 25 pounds during their pregnancy with many doctors aiming for even less weight gain for women who are overweight or obese before becoming pregnant. In 2009, the Institute of Medicine lowered the recommended weight gain during pregnancy from 15 pounds to 11 pounds or less for obese women, and a pilot study was working on a zero weight gain during pregnancy study. The recommendation concerns some doctors, who fear that the advice meant for obese women could be misconstrued by women of average weight and lead them to believe that dieting during pregnancy is healthy. So what's your best option?

Follow Dietary Recommendations

Healthy babies require specific nutrients in specific amounts during your pregnancy. The USDA has set out specific dietary recommendations for the number of and types of food portions that you should eat during your pregnancy for a healthy baby. Instead of focusing on how many pounds you gain or lose while you're expecting, concentrate on eating the right foods in the right amounts. If you stick to the recommended guidelines, you'll be eating the right amount of calories and the right mix of nutrients to feed yourself and your baby properly during your pregnancy. If you're obese, that may indeed lead to a weight loss rather than a weight gain, but as long as you're eating within the recommended guidelines, you should be fine.

Discuss Your Plans with Your Doctor

Your doctor or midwife should know what's going on so he or she won't be alarmed by your weight loss. Make it clear to your medical professional that you're not on a restrictive diet and are eating the recommended amounts and nutrients. If she's still concerned, keep a food diary to show her that you are, indeed, eating a healthy diet.

Unplanned Weight Loss During Pregnancy

There are many things that can cause weight loss during early pregnancy, including morning sickness and nausea. If you can't eat because your tummy is always queasy, you'll probably lose weight. Talk to your doctor about your concerns. He'll want to know how your appetite is and may recommend that you drink protein shakes or something similar to ensure that your body and your baby are getting the nutrients they need for a healthy pregnancy.

Lose Weight After Pregnancy

One of the big concerns of most pregnant women is how to lose weight after the baby is born. Typically, after a pregnancy with a "normal" weight gain of 25 to 30 pounds, you'll end up with about 5 pounds to lose after the birth and the normal adjustments your body makes. If you breastfeed, you may find that the weight drops off without you having to do anything at all to encourage weight loss after your pregnancy because breastfeeding uses up lots of additional calories.

If you're intent on losing weight during your pregnancy, consult your doctor and a nutritionist to make sure that you're getting all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients you and your baby need for a healthy and happy pregnancy.

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