Gaining the correct amount of weight when you're pregnant can be difficult, but it can be even harder if you're a plus-sized woman to begin with. Sophia Pachella, American Baby Contributor and Founder of www.EatStrong.com, has some tips for staying healthy the full nine months.
While some weight gain during a pregnancy is good, gaining too much can be dangerous for both mom and baby. Extra baby weight can lead to a whole host of problems, but "The two that doctors are going to look at hypertension and gestational diabetes," says Pachella. If you are a plus-sized mom-to-be, you should aim to gain around 15-25 pounds, depending on your pre-pregnancy weight. Of course, always consult your doctor to find out what amount of baby weight is best for you.
Extra weight can also make being pregnant more uncomfortable. "Anything which was uncomfortable before you got pregnant is probably actually going to get worse," says Pachella. "Chores... chasing after a toddler that you already have are just going to get more difficult."
If you're overweight, delivery can also be a challenge. "A mother who's carrying extra pounds might have trouble during delivery delivering her baby," says Pachella. If things aren't progressing as they should, doctors may perform a C-section, which comes with its own risks. "There's a lot more tissue to cut through. This could lead to infection and complications," says Pachella. In addition, there is also a risk for your baby. Overweight mothers tend to give birth to larger children, which can put them at risk for obesity later in life.
All is not lost, though. "After all, you are expecting a baby - it's an amazing thing!" says Pachella.
The first thing you can do to keep your weight in check is eat right. The old adage that you're "eating for two" isn't truthful. "You're eating for 1.1," says Pachella. Work with your doctor to develop healthy meals and eating habits.
Your doctor may also suggest a moderate exercise routine to keep your metabolism up throughout your pregnancy. Common exercises include walking, swimming and light weight lifting. Some gyms even teach prenatal yoga classes. Try to work exercise into your everyday life as well. If your ever-growing belly isn't too cumbersome yet, take the stairs instead of the elevator or take a leisurely walk around the block during your lunch hour. Little changes can add up to big results.
Finally, maintain perspective. "This actually is an opportunity for you to turn a fresh page and really adopt a healthy lifestyle - for you going forward and your child," says Pachella. Even if you are carrying a few extra pounds during your pregnancy, it's never too late to adopt a few healthy habits.
For more information on having a healthy pregnancy, as well as additional parenting advice, click here to visit www.AmericanBaby.com.
By Erin Petrun
Copyright 2008 CBS. All rights reserved.