It’s not just about looking cute in maternity clothes and getting back into those favorite jeans. Several recent studies emphasize the importance for moms-to-be to keep weight gain in check during pregnancy and to try to shed the baby weight soon after giving birth. A large Irish studyshowed that two out of three moms gained an average of 10 pounds between their first and second pregnancies. If you’ve ever had a baby, you know that shedding that baby weight is no easy task, so it’s no surprise that many women keep more than a few pounds of fat stores.
Being overweight has multiple health risks in general, but for the expectant mom the risks are higher; her chances of developing prenatal health conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are increased if she is overweight. In addition to maternal health risks, a new study shows that baby is at greater risk as well, citing a connection with prenatal obesity and preterm labor.
Following the basic principles of a healthy diet and regular exercise can help you keep your pregnancy weight gain in the healthy 20-to 30-pound range, and help you to lose that weight quickly after baby comes. A diet high in protein, not-so-high in carbohydrates or fat, and rich in fruits and veggies helps maintain healthy weight gain during pregnancy and healthy weight loss postpartum. Try to load your plate with vegetables and lean proteins at every meal. Plus, women who exercise five times per week throughout pregnancy gain less weight than those who do not, and more easily lose weight afterward. Join a prenatal class at your local gym or do one online, walk around the block or your nearest park for 30 minutes, or find a local meet-up group of moms or moms-to-be who focus on fitness.