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Can You Be on Weight Watchers While You Are Pregnant?

author image Rebecca Slayton
Rebecca Slayton is a Registered Dietitian and has worked in the nutrition field since 2006. Slayton received the 2005 Betty Feezor Scholarship Award for her studies. She holds a Master of Science in food and nutrition from East Carolina University.
Can You Be on Weight Watchers While You Are Pregnant?
The Weight Watchers Program is not designed for pregnant women. Photo Credit: Barry Austin/Photodisc/Getty Images

Weight Watchers is a weight-loss program that has been around since the 1960s. The program offers tools, motivation and education to help participants in making the right decisions about food and exercise. If you are trying to get to a healthy weight before you conceive or want to lose weight after delivery, Weight Watchers can help. However, if you are currently pregnant, Weight Watchers is not for you. The program does not offer any services to pregnant women.

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Calories Needed During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is not the time to start restricting your caloric intake. Babies need nutrients from your diet to grow and develop. According to the Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, if you are of normal weight and engage in physical activity less than 30 minutes weekly, you will need approximately 1,800 calories in the first trimester, 2,200 in the second trimester and 2,400 in the third trimester. These calories should come from nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.

BMI Recommendations

The newest weight gain guidelines for pregnancy were introduced in 2009 from the Institute of Medicine, or IOM. Recommended weight gain during pregnancy is based on your weight before pregnancy. Using this weight, your doctor can calculate your pre-pregnancy body mass index, or BMI. A BMI between 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight. If you were normal weight before becoming pregnant, IOM recommends you gain 25 to 35 pounds. Any BMI less than 18.5 is classified as underweight; IOM recommends individuals who were underweight prior to pregnancy gain between 28 and 40 pounds. An individual with a BMI of 25 or more should gain only 11 to 20 pounds, IOM suggests. Follow your physician’s recommendations on weight gain.

Weight Loss During Pregnancy

Some women do lose weight during pregnancy due to morning sickness -- nausea and vomiting that 70 to 80 percent of pregnant women experience typically from four to 16 weeks gestation. Morning sickness combined with decreased appetite can result in weight loss. Discuss options for managing morning sickness with your doctor.

Gaining Too Much

Gaining weight too quickly during pregnancy can lead to problems for both you and your baby. The best approach to high gestational weight gain is to focus on eating healthfully and staying active. Never go on a diet during pregnancy, even the Weight Watchers Program. If you feel that you are gaining too much weight with your pregnancy, consult your doctor so you can come up with an eating plan that works for you.

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