Pack it in, Pack it out

Pack it in, Pack it out

The right type of pregnancy weight gain benefits both you and your baby. Happily, the right type of weight gain is also the kind that turns out to be easiest to shed, according to research published in the November 2003 American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. We’ve known for awhile that the right amount of weight gain is important. Too little, and your baby doesn’t get all she needs to grow.

But too much may lead to gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or a difficult delivery. For most healthy American women the best amount is between 25 and 35 pounds. But not all weight gain is the same. During pregnancy you add both lean body mass (protein and water weight) and fat. It’s normal and healthy to add some of both. It turns out, though, that the added lean body mass is the weight that has been shown to benefit you the most, your baby the most, and to disappear easily after pregnancy.

In this study, gains in lean body mass literally vanished, having no effect on post-pregnancy weight. Gaining weight too quickly or without enough exercise leads to packing the extra weight on as fat storage. But gradual weight gain accompanied by moderate, weight -bearing exercise throughout pregnancy can help pack the extra weight on as lean body mass – a great gift to yourself and your baby.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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