Overweight women who gain more than the recommended weight gain during pregnancy, will find it very difficult to lose it there after. Obese and overweight women have a higher probability of retaining much of the excess weight gain even up to 1 year after delivery.
These findings were recently published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 1656 obese pregnant women participated in the study conducted by researchers at Kaiser Permanente. A woman was considered to be obese if she had a BMI of 30 and more. It was found that almost three out of the four women, gained more than 15 pounds during pregnancy. These obese women also seemed to had retained up to 40% of the pregnancy weight gain, up to 1 year after delivery.
As an example, if an overweight woman in the study had gained 20 pounds during the course of pregnancy, it was very likely that she was going to retain up to 8 pounds after 1 year of delivery. This was considerable weight retention. The researchers concluded in the study that obese women can be expected to retain o.4 pounds of every 1 pound weight gained during pregnancy.
The Institute of Medicine had set clear guidelines on the amounts of weight gain with respect to BMI when conceiving. A woman with normal weight will have a BMI between between 18.5 and 25. Women with normal BMI are given more leeway for weight gain. These women are allowed to gain between 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy. Overweight and obese women have much less leeway as they have a higher propensity to retain the weight.
Women going into pregnancy should ensure that they are in the best of health. This is to ensure that they have a healthy pregnancy. A fit mother will also give birth to healthier newborn. A recent study found that overweight mothers have a higher risk of giving birth to babies with congenital heart defects.
Ideally, an overweight woman should try to lose as much weight as possible before conceiving. She should try to reduce body fat levels as much as possible. The leaner she is going into pregnancy, the faster she would get in shape after delivery. The study referenced above, proves this to a certain extent. Women going into pregnancy with too much of weight to start with, will indeed have a big problem losing the weight that is gained during pregnancy.
One of the reasons for the challenges with losing weight could have a lot to do with dieting without exercise before pregnancy. Any form of dieting without exercise is going to set a woman up for rebound weight gain. This is because it makes the metabolism sluggish. Going into a pregnancy with a sluggish metabolism is a potent recipe for piling on weight during pregnancy.
While this study was conducted on overweight women, a lot of women with normal weight would also have the same problem. These women are able to keep the weight off via sheer willpower through diets of many sorts. While they may be able to get away with it in their younger years, the sluggish metabolism will catch up with them with a vengeance once they become pregnant. With the hormonal changes during and after pregnancy, meager dieting will not allow the weight loss that they would have achieved prior pregnancy.
It is vital for women to lose weight correctly via a sensible and healthy diet before becoming pregnant. This must be accompanied with weight resistance and cardiovascular exercises. This will help a woman to have a high metabolism and substantial muscle reserves that will help her lose weight after they deliver.