Is it ok to eat at a deficit if you're overweight and pregnant?

MelAb8709 Posts: 140 Member
I recently found out I'm pregnant, about 6 week along now. I am 36, 5'5", about 184 lbs. I was doing TDEE - 500 calories before I got pregnant which usually put me around 1600-1800 depending on how active I was that day.

I don't think creating big deficits is something I should keep focusing on, or is it still ok to do that because I have so much weight to lose? I am focusing on just eating healthier, making better choices, but it's HARD. I'm always hungry and seem to be gravitating toward carbs.

First doctor's appt not for another 2 weeks!


  • Ninkyou
    Ninkyou Posts: 6,666 Member
    I would not do a deficit while pregnant UNLESS your doctor specifically tells you it's alright. Typically they say that your baby needs no additional calories in the first trimester, but that is assuming you are maintaining your weight and not dieting. I would bring your calories up to maintenance, at least until you speak with your doctor.

    I also want to add, I got pregnant overweight and was also losing weight when I got pregnant. The moment I got my positive test I started upping my calories. I went from losing to maintain mode. After I deliver I'll work on continuing where I left off.
  • kathyk519
    kathyk519 Posts: 197 Member
    Eat healthy (or as healthy as you can, depending on when morning sickness hits), eat when you are hungry, and get plenty of rest and water. I found that the first few weeks, I was still eating about the same (a slight deficit), but when the morning sickness kicked in, I ate more carbs as that was the only thing that helped me not to get sick. I was overweight when I found out too and it is hard to go from one mentality to another, just listen to your body. You will have days when you can't get enough food, and others that you will barely eat. It happens to all of us. If you can keep exercising, and if you can't because you are exhausted, then don't beat yourself up over it.
  • ColeCake292012
    ColeCake292012 Posts: 247 Member
    Unless you're severely overweight...which you aren't, I wouldn't eat at that much of a deficit, if at all. What would probably work is easing up into maintenance. Depending on how you and your doctor feels about your current weight, and your future weight gain, you may be able to just stay at maintenance, instead of factoring in the added 300 calories needed above that for later in pregnancy. You should definitely bring it up with your OB or midwife when you see them, but for now, I wouldn't eat at a 500 calorie deficit...unless its just because you can't stomach food from morning sickness, of course. ;)
  • ischmelle
    ischmelle Posts: 206 Member
    I am a similar height and weight to you (34 years old, 5' 3" and 185 pre-pregnancy) and I struggle with the same thing. I recently just had my first appointment (I'm 11 weeks along) and the midwife told me that due to my BMI she wants me to gain no more than 15 pounds! Yikes! In the first semester I've already gained 2! So, I am going to eat as much whole food as I can (although sugar is a struggle right now!!) and keep my calories about 200 below maintenance. I've also upped my exercise, which has been extremely difficult with the fatigue right now. I'm not sure how else I can only gain 15 pounds. The baby at it's largest only needs about 300 extra calories and the beauty of the way our bodies are designed is that the baby will get what it needs first. The body is built to protect the baby. I'd say stick to whole foods and up the activity level and you should be fine. And don't worry, all I craved was carbs for the first 6 weeks too! I couldn't even look at a raw vegetable or plain meat! It gets better. And, at my first appointment, the midwife offered me the opportunity to see a dietician, so if you are really curious how to balance your weight with your nutrition it might be good to talk to one. Good luck!
  • MelAb8709
    MelAb8709 Posts: 140 Member
    Thanks ladies for the advice! It's so hard, as someone who has always been overweight and very often on a "diet", to suddenly stop that mentality of "well, I ate xxx calories today so I better go run 4 miles and burn 500 calories and then I'll still have this many for dinner." I'm worried I'm going to gain a ton of weight so it's important to me to continue to count my calories. I'm one of those people who has no idea how many calories she's eating if they're not recorded.
  • Ninkyou
    Ninkyou Posts: 6,666 Member
    I still log/count calories. I just don't have a deficit anymore (unless I'm sick or whatever). Nothing wrong with tracking them and making sure you're getting adequate nutrition, just keep the deficit out of the picture temporarily.

    I totally get it though. Even now it freaks me out seeing the scale numbers go up, especially since I worked so hard to lose 58 lbs this year. But, I try to remember that this is all temporary and I can just pick up where I left off after baby is born. :)