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Weight Loss Programs for Pregnant Women

By Layne Wood ; Updated July 18, 2017

Pregnancy weight loss requires special concerns and precautions for the safety of both the mother and the baby. Many pregnancy resources, such as, advise against intentional weight loss while pregnant. If weight loss during pregnancy is medically necessary, your physician or obstetrician can make specific recommendations for safe, healthy methods.


Women typically gain weight during pregnancy due to the weight of the fetus, the placenta, uterine and breast growth, amniotic fluids and the additional fat and protein stores required to nourish the growing baby. The National Women’s Health Information Center recommends that even obese women should gain 11 to 20 lb. during pregnancy. You should lose weight during pregnancy only at the advice of and under the supervision of a medical professional.


Some women lose weight during pregnancy because they eliminate alcohol and consume less junk food than they did before conception. Cornell University nutrition professor Kathleen Rasmussen, quoted in a 2009 New York Times article, believes that pregnancy is often a good opportunity for obese mothers to make positive health changes, since “doing it for the sake of the baby” is a strong motivator. However, expectant mothers need to be conscious of adequate, balanced nutrient consumption even if they have been instructed to lose weight. recommends using a pregnancy nutrition diary to ensure that your diet meets your and your baby’s needs.

Cardiovascular Activity

To prevent pregnancy complications such as preterm delivery, opt for low- or no-impact cardiovascular activity, such as swimming, cycling, low-impact aerobics and walking. If you participated in higher-impact activities before pregnancy, such as jogging or tennis, seek medical approval before continuing these activities. Pregnant women should get about 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity, according to the March of Dimes website.

Activities to Avoid

Some physical activities can put you and your developing baby at risk. Though not a particularly common fitness choice, scuba diving is expressly advised against. Scuba diving can introduce gas bubbles in the fetal blood supply, creating numerous health problems for your baby. Other unsafe activities include any sport that poses the risk of a blow to the abdomen, such as soccer or kickboxing. Activities that may result in a fall, such as horseback riding and skiing, are also dangerous. High-impact workouts, such as jumping rope, increase your risk for joint injuries.

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