Pregnant and Gaining Weight After Knee Injury

Alexandra Powell Allred's picture


Dear Fitness Expert,
Hello. This is probably not a mainstream question. I recently (past 5 months) lost 40 pounds with exercise and diet and "accidentally" got pregnant.

Before I realized I was pregnant, I hurt my knee with what my doctor seems to think is a cartilage tear (we can't do an MRI to determine because of pregnancy).

I have gained back 10 pounds in the past two weeks because I can't do my routine which was 4 days/week of 35 minute elliptical trainer and then 30 minutes of upper body weights.

What can I do now that my knee is injured? My doctor says to swim, but I don't know that I can commit to a swimming regimen of at least 4 days a week and if I could, would swimming have all of the benefits of the previous workout?

Could I continue also, doing the low carb diet? Will that affect my baby's health?

I appreciate any helpful advice you might have.



Hi. And welcome to the world of mommy-woes.

I'm sorry to hear you injured your knee. Without knowing the extent of your injury or age (it matters), I can tell you that taking care of your knee now is very important for your knee's future. The absolute best thing you can do right now, given the uncertainty of the injury, is swim. The second best routine would be to swim. These are both exercises that you will be required to do in rehabilitation as well. Again, with little information about your personal situation, your best bet would be to join a gym or YMCA that has both a pool and workout room. Throughout the pregnancy, you can alternate swimming and bike routines that I would be happy to set up for you. We can make your routines challenging and different so that you don't get bored.

You can continue to lift weights during your pregnancy.

Now, what I don't want you to do is focus (or fret) over weight gain. You will and should gain weight. The question is, what kind of weight will you gain? If you continue on a low-carb diet, your body will continue to lose muscle mass and will store too much fat. In the end, you will have done far more damage to your body than good. In addition, there are all kinds of physical fallouts to low-carb dieting that can be harmful to your unborn child. At this point, you need to focus on a well-balanced meal. (Please note that we have a registered dietitian who can answer questions about your caloric needs while pregnant).

In addition, low-carb-ing wreaks havoc on your emotional state and during pregnancy, you do not need to feel depressed or short-tempered. A few states have actually passed legislation for school boards that allows them to "heavily discourage" school teachers from doing the Atkins diet because so many teachers have reported feeling short-tempered, depressed and exhausted when working with children. It's just another reason to eat a reasonable, well-balanced diet for both you and your baby.

Again, you will gain weight. But by working out throughout your pregnancy and eating well, the weight you gain will come off more easily after your baby is born.Finally, remember that many women who work out have the initial "boom" weight -- that is, put on a fast 10-20 lbs. in the first trimester. Many times, a woman will feel panic. "Oh, my gosh! Am I going to put on ten pounds a week for the rest of my pregnancy?!?"

No. Stay true to your workout and proper nutrition.

Keep us posted!

-- Alex