How to Lose Weight Quickly Before Pregnancy

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Lose Weight Quickly Before Pregnancy
Lose Weight Quickly Before Pregnancy (Image: Image by M. J. Doran)

Losing weight quickly before pregnancy is an idea that occurs to many women. You may be hoping you'll regain your slim shape more quickly after the baby is born. Or you might want to lose weight to improve your health for the sake of the baby. Either way, your weight loss goal should always be centered on health rather than appearances. Never is this more true than in the months before you become pregnant.

See your doctor for a complete check up. Tell your doctor you are trying to lose weight and also that you want to become pregnant. Your doctor will advise you on how long you should wait after losing weight before trying to conceive.

Lose no more than 2 pounds a week. If you doctor advises you to lose weight more slowly, abide by her recommendations. Any weight loss beyond 2 pounds each week represents some loss of muscle mass, which will make it harder to lose baby weight after pregnancy.

Eat a highly nutritious diet that includes adequate protein for building and maintaining muscle mass, and plenty of carbohydrates for energy. The USDA recommends 46 grams of protein for women age 19 to 70, but you may need a little more if you are very active. Generally 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from protein, with 20 percent being a good estimate for the average active woman. You need about 5 daily servings of carbohydrates, which will amount to roughly 50 percent of your daily calories. The balance of your calories should come from fruits and vegetables--at least 5 servings each day. Eliminate foods from your diet that contain empty sugar and fat calories. Also, very high protein or low carbohydrate diets can stress your metabolic systems, and should be avoided prior to pregnancy.

Take a daily multivitamin recommended by your doctor. Many OB/GYNs will recommend you begin taking a prenatal vitamin even before trying to conceive. This way you can be sure your body has all the nutrients necessary for the formation of the placenta and your baby's fundamental body systems.

Exercise daily. At least 20 minutes of strenuous cardiovascular exercise, at least 4 days a week, is necessary for maintaining fitness. For weight loss, 45 minutes, 6 days a week is recommended. Cardiovascular exercise is the most immediately efficient calorie-burning activity. Walking, running, swimming, biking, dance and aerobics classes are all good aerobic exercises. Team sports and circuit weight training can also provide aerobic benefits as long as you are moving continuously. Resting periodically and allowing your heart rate to slow will significantly reduce the aerobic and calorie-burning benefits of your workout.

Incorporate strength training into your exercise routine. Building your muscle mass will increase your overall calorie consumption, even while you're at rest. Plus, your increased muscle mass will help you shed your pregnancy weight more quickly, as well as adding firmness and definition to your shape.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can, and should continue to exercise during pregnancy, provided you do not have pregnancy complications. Exercising during pregnancy is good for your overall health and will help you regain your shape more quickly after your baby is born. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen before or during pregnancy. Your doctor will counsel you on activities in which you can safely engage while you are pregnant.
  • Do not try to lose weight while you are pregnant, even in the first weeks. This will only rob your body of important nutrients necessary for the healthy development of your baby. Before becoming pregnant, do not reduce your caloric intake below 1,200 calories daily. Fewer than 1,200 calories daily may cause your body to consume its own muscle tissues as well as fat. Do not try to become underweight before pregnancy so that you won't have to lose weight after the baby is born. Birth defects, miscarriages and complications of pregnancy are more common in mothers who are underweight or malnourished.

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