Ten Things to Do BEFORE You Try to Lose Pregnancy Weight – Part 2

Did you know that 50-70% of women gain too much weight during pregnancy and on average retain 40% of that weight one year later. After going through three pregnancies myself, I frequently thought worried about my weight (and dreaded those weekly weigh-in’s during the last month). If I could go back in time to the start of my very first pregnancy, there are some simple steps I wish I WOULD HAVE TAKEN to get a better grasp on what to expect, how to prepare and when to be concerned. Many other moms (new and veterans) have expressed similar feelings. With that in mind, let’s focus on what you can do before the baby arrives to set yourself up for post-pregnancy weight loss success.

Postpartum Fitness Checklistthe plan before your plan

The Postpartum Fitness checklist that follows offers ten steps to take BEFORE you begin your post-pregnancy weight loss efforts. A few might be obvious, but hopefully these will make a difference and keep you from becoming a statistic. In the last post, we started off with #1 — talk to your doctor about weight gain, fitness and nutrition early in pregnancy. Step 2 in the series focuses on staying active during pregnancy. WAIT!! Hear me out!! I’ve been there…I’ve heard that…and every time I’m pregnant (yeah, it feels like I’m pregnant a LOT), I cringe a little bit when I hear that mantra. But, let’s dig deeper on why it’s important to stay active BEFORE baby arrives.

Postpartum Fitness Checklist

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The Recommendations

There are times when it is NOT ok to exercise during pregnancy – please always talk with your doctor about this for you and listen to your body. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) writes guidelines that your Ob/Gyn will likely reference. If you have any of these conditions you should not be trying to be active:

Absolute Contraindications to Aerobic Exercise During Pregnancy

  • Hemodynamically significant heart disease
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • Incompetent cervix/cerclage
  • Multiple gestation at risk for premature labor
  • Persistent second- or third-trimester bleeding
  • Placenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation
  • Premature labor during the current pregnancy
  • Ruptured membranes
  • Preeclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension

Otherwise, or in general, exercise is thought to be beneficial for pregnant women. How much? Here’s what ACOG says:

In the absence of either medical or obstetric complications, 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week is recommended for pregnant women.

The Reality

I’ve been there. Some days, you just feel miserable, exhausted or both. It takes a lot of work to grow a person so I think for many people it may seem difficult to get in a daily 30 minute workout.

Do Your Best

Despite the headwinds, if you can fit in 30 minutes a day even just walking, you’re helping maintain activity and fitness. If you’ve already talked to your doctor about fitness during pregnancy, then you know this isn’t something you shouldn’t let slide. Additionally, you’re keeping a good habit going so once baby arrives you’ll be more used to carving out that workout time. If you haven’t been working out consistently before getting pregnant, it’s ok. Talk to your doctor and seize this as an opportunity to turn things around. If you have, keep it going. With my first baby, I was able to do a 5k while I was six months pregnant. Not everyone will be able to do that (note I didn’t do it with #2 or #3), but don’t be too afraid to stay active.

Important to note that ACOG also offers some signs that indicate you should STOP exercising and contact your doctor:
Warning Signs to Terminate Exercise While Pregnant

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Dyspnea prior to exertion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf pain or swelling (need to rule out thrombophlebitis)
  • Preterm labor
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Amniotic fluid leakage
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