Can you safely lose weight during pregnancy? We asked a doctor.

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When Teen Moms 2 star Chelsea DeBoer (nee Houska) announced her partnership with a weightloss company on Instagram this month, many of her fans raised an eyebrow.

Just a week earlier, the US mum had posted an update on her third pregnancy, saying she was expecting a girl and due later this year.

“So your on a diet and trying to lose weight while pregnant? I am confused.” one follower commented.

It seemed many thought the mum was promoting losing weight during pregnancy and were quick to criticise. However, Chelsea’s post actually said that she used the program to lose weight after having her toddler son Watson and was now using this knowledge to make “better choices” during this pregnancy.

So did her followers have a right to be concerned if the mum was trying to lose weight while pregnant? It’s common sense that pregnant women are supposed to gain weight instead of lose it, right?

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Well, while Dr Joseph Sgroi tells Mamamia he would never advise a pregnant woman to go on a shake diet (such as the one Chelsea is promoting) he says losing weight during pregnancy isn’t always a bad idea.

“We’d be encouraging women who are overweight to be modifying their diet and improving their exercise in order to reduce the chances of diabetes and high blood pressure,” the Melbourne-based obstetrician and gynaecologist says.

Dr Joseph Sgroi tells Hello Bump how soon after pregnancy you can start exercising again and what forms of exercise you should be choosing. Post continues.

However, Dr Sgroi recommends pregnant women concerned that their weight may be at an unhealthy level should work with a dietician to ensure any weight they lose is lost safely.

“It’s not dieting, it’s actually looking at your diet with a proper dietician to determine what are the actual requirements during pregnancy in terms of caloric intake and also what are the vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy.”

“They would go to a dietician who would actually tailor a specific pregnancy diet that would be suitable for them.

“It may result in weight loss… but to calorie-restrict yourself, do a 5:2 diet, or a shake diet, that would not be recommended during pregnancy.”

But what if you lose weight during pregnancy and you didn’t mean to?

Dr Sgroi tells Mamamia women shouldn’t be concerned if, due to morning sickness, they lost weight during their first trimester.

“If that’s what happening you don’t need to stress. The baby will take whatever nutrients it can off mum, it becomes the priority.”

“Even just taking a multi-vitamin and the small amount of food that you can will suffice in terms of the growth and development of baby.”

Of course, anyone who is concerned about weight loss or gain during pregnancy should chat to their GP. But the emphasis on a mum’s weight in terms of the health of the baby has shifted, Dr Sgroi says, to the point where doctors no longer weigh women during antenatal appointments.

New mum Khloe Kardashian said back in 2016 that her weight loss was gradual. Post continues.

Video by Live Kelly and Michael

“It doesn’t mean that because you’re putting on weight during pregnancy that your baby’s necessarily healthy, so, therefore, there’s no reason to weigh a woman during her pregnancy.”

Instead, the focus is on eating well.

Dr Sgroi says women already following a healthy diet should increase their food intake during pregnancy – but not by as much as many of us think.

“In the first trimester, we would say have an additional snack a day – because you’re not really eating for two. And then in the second and third trimesters, you’re having an additional two snacks a day.”

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