How to avoid unnecessary weight gain before and after pregnancy

  • Rhythma Kaul, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 18, 2015 14:48 IST

Like most new mothers, Kate Middleton does not need to work very hard to get back to pre-pregnancy fitness level. Here is why. Online tools and maternity clinics now offer exhaustive pre-natal and post-natal tips on pregnancy, nutrition, exercises, baby care and weight loss. In fact, hospitals and maternity centres these days have a dedicated team that helps plan a woman's lifestyle, before, during and after pregnancy to ensure she avoids unnecessary weight gain.

Those who have had a normal delivery can start exercising after two weeks and in caesarean cases, six weeks onwards. (Shutterstock)

According to gynaecologists, more than 70% women who want to have a baby or have conceived are troubled by the thought of gaining weight. "I have witnessed this trend over the past two-three years; women are very aware and do not want to put on unnecessary weight," says Dr Anuradha Kapur, senior consultant, department of obstetrics and gynaecology, Max Super-Speciality Hospital in Saket. According to Dr Kapur, it is normal to gain 10-12kgs during the entire nine months of pregnancy if a woman is thin to begin with. For overweight or obese women, the weight gain should not be more than eight kilograms.
"It is usually normal to gain a kilogram every 15-20 days," she says.

Eating right, exercise in the form of yoga, aerobics and an active lifestyle are the key factors responsible for maintaining healthy weight during and after pregnancy.

To begin with, it is advisable to maintain a healthy weight before planning for a baby. Experts say, some women are under the impression that almost all the kilos will be gone soon after birth although it is natural to lose about 4kg to 5 kg quickly post-delivery.


"The baby weighs about 3kgs and the placenta is about half-a-kg and the fluid in abdomen also has about same weight. Losing rest of the weight should be a gradual process," says Dr Kapur. Among all the women who come to her with plans to have a baby, 5% to 10% worry Anika Parashar, chief operating officer, Fortis Healthcare. "These are women who are obsessed with weight gain and are fit cases to undergo professional counselling. You have to make then understand it is no big deal," she says.

Parashar cannot fathom the fuss surrounding the weight gain.
"It is not so much there in the west as it is seen in India that women are so conscious about their image post pregnancy. I feel the society here is largely to be blamed as we are so worried about what people would say," she says. Parashar adds, "It takes about nine months to have a baby, we must at least give ourselves that much time to lose those kilos that have been piled on."

The group has a facility specifically dedicated to maternity care called MammaMia.
"We have designed postnatal weight loss massages for which we use special oils that increase body's metabolic rate significantly. The kind of strokes for the tummy, thighs, bums etc. lead to inch-loss. The only condition is that it needs to be done every day for two weeks for 40 minutes," says Parashar.

Those who have had a normal delivery can start exercising after two weeks and in caesarean cases, six weeks onwards. "It is not safe to crash diet as it can lead to nutritional deficiencies. It has to be a lifestyle change," says Dr Kapur. Agrees Monika Kapoor Singh, 31, who delivered a baby in October last year.
"I was also jittery about gaining weight and told my doctor so. I joined aerobics classes and also would do stretching exercises regularly. It's been seven months and I am losing weight gradually," she says.

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