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Maintaining a Healthy Weight During Pregnancy

by Bump, Baby & You

In honour of National Obesity Awareness Week, I thought a guide to maintaining a healthy weight in pregnancy would be handy!

I’m a hypocrite, really, I hold my hands up. I gained a whopping 6 stone during my pregnancy with Max, partially because I was SO hungry all the time and didn’t make the greatest dietary choices…

In hindsight, a guide like this would have really helped me!

Meal Planning

A good way to manage your calorific intake is to meal plan – not to sound patronising or to state the obvious!

  • Write your grocery list and STICK TO IT. I find online shopping is a good way to avoid chucking crap into the trolley.
  • Try to avoid those ‘fuck it, let’s order a takeaway tonight‘ moments by making sure you have ‘fakeaway food‘ in! It’s super easy to make a kebab yourself (there’s an amazing recipe HERE), or even a nice pizza from the ‘finest’ section at the supermarket with a nice fresh salad is better than greasy takeaway pizza. These little substitutions really do make all the difference!
  • If you’re on maternity leave and are bored, meal prepping is a good way to kill time and keep healthy. Freeze portions in tupperware, for when baby is here and you’re knackered. You’ll be so thankful and less likely to cave in to Just Eat…

Healthy & Filling No-Fuss Recipes

These recipes are all very simple, not expensive and take very little prep. They’ll fill your belly and nourish you but are still healthy!

Beef Casserole

This slow cooked beef stew from A Sweetpea Chef is simple to make, healthy & nutritious, and requires little prep. Click the image for the recipe.

Chicken & Vegetable Curry

This chicken and vegetable balti from BBC Good Food is written with health in mind and requires less than 30 minutes preparation. Served with brown or wholegrain rice, it would be a perfect healthy dinner. The chicken could be substituted for tofu for vegetarians! Click the image for the recipe.


These flavourful chicken fajitas are 350 calories per serving and are chocked full of veg. For extra calories for a growing baby, guacamole or chopped avocado would be fab. Click the image for the recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup

This Slimming World butternut squash soup is syn free and is a perfect meal for lunch. A warm brown or seeded roll would go nicely with this rich, warming soup. Click the image for the recipe.

Chicken, Bacon and Leek pie

This chicken, bacon and leek pie from BBC Recipes is healthy, filling and nutritious without being overly fattening. It takes less than 30 minutes to prep! Click the image for the recipe.

Is it Safe to Diet During Pregnancy?

In short, no. The entire focus of a diet is to lose weight and generally it isn’t safe to lose weight intentionally when you’re expecting. Ladies with a high BMI who follow healthy lifestyle choices may find that they naturally drop a few pounds without issue though.

  • Slimming World; this is seen as a healthy lifestyle plan rather than a diet. It encourages healthy choices and substituting unhealthy cooking methods & ingredients for healthier alternatives – there is a specific pregnancy pathway that you can follow for optimum health for mama and baby that doesn’t encourage weight loss. Slimming World is endorsed by the Royal College of Midwives!
  • Other plans like Weight Watchers etc aren’t safe and won’t allow a pregnant woman to join or attend meetings.
  • Meal replacement plans such as Juice Plus and the Cambridge Weight Plan should absolutely not be used during pregnancy as their meal replacement products contain amounts of certain vitamins that are toxic to growing fetuses. They also don’t contain the fat and calorie content required to sustain a healthy pregnancy. If a seller encourages you to buy, you should report them to HQ.

 Exercise During Pregnancy

I suffer with a genetic condition known as Ehlers Danlos syndrome, which causes me to dislocate and subluxate daily. Pregnancy often makes it worse, so as you can imagine I didn’t get much exercise. In hindsight (such a wonderful phrase…) I wish I’d got more exercise. There are plenty of low-impact forms of movement I could (and should) really have done…

  • Swimming; such a great way to exercise without putting undue strain on your pregnant body.
  • Gentle walking – even a meander down to the shops and back will benefit your body.
  • Lifting light weights is a good way to maintain muscle tone. The definition of ‘light’ is subjective and depends on your own level of activity before pregnancy. Never lift more than 25 lbs, and if your activity levels weren’t that high before pregnancy, stick to a weight that makes you feel only a slight amount of resistance, like a can of baked beans in each hand for some bicep curls.

The NHS website has some fantastic exercise advice for pregnancy here!

I hope that this guide helps! Take it from someone who wishes they’d bothered… it’s so important to keep fit and healthy when you’re pregnant. You don’t need to be over the top or deprive yourself though.

Tell us in the comments; how did you maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy?

I wish you all a happy and healthy pregnancy!

Love from Katie. Xx

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