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Normal Weight Gain in Pregnancy

September 4, 2018
Photo Credit: Time.com

Some might think weight gain needs not to be given due importance during pregnancy because that obviously what happens when you house a little growing life inside of you.

Truth is, from promoting your baby’s development to paving the way for post-pregnancy weight loss, weight gain is an important matter and needs to be addressed.

The first thing that pops into the mind of mothers who wish to address weight gain during pregnancy is that what exactly is the normal range of weight that can be gained during pregnancy without fearing any harm to the mother and the baby.

The answer is tricky and is different for all expecting mothers. Here are however a few guidelines that you need to keep in mind:

Like it or not, eating for two is an old wives tale. Really, it just isn’t a license to eat twice as much as usual. This is because it will only result is more than needed weight gain. Pregnancy does not mean you necessarily have to be as big as a air filled chinese balloon. A mother can simply opt for healthy lifestyle habits to manage the pregnancy in addition to gaining weight which is normal and sufficient. This is not only a way to keep the mother mobile and at ease during the 9 hectic months but also a way to ensure baby’s health and make it easier to shed the extra pounds after delivery.

Find out more about health education for pregnant mother

Truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to pregnancy and its accompanied weight gain. The normal weight gain for mothers to be depends on various factors, including the pre-pregnancy weight and body mass index (BMI). Of course, the health of the mother and the developing baby also plays a pivotal role.In any case, the healthcare provider can guide the expecting mother on whether she has any health complication leading to weight gain or not.

An important thing to note is that if someone is carrying twins or other multiples, they will likely gain more weight and will actually need to eat more. Again, work with your health care provider to determine what’s right for you. However, for yourself to be aware, here’s what you need to consider.

When you’re overweight

Being overweight before pregnancy increases the risk of various pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure disorders of pregnancy, including preeclampsia, and the need for a C-section. Although a certain amount of pregnancy weight gain is recommended for women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy, some research suggests that women who are obese can safely gain less weight than the guidelines recommend. Further study is needed.

Work with your health care provider to determine what’s best in your case and to manage your weight throughout pregnancy.

When you’re underweight

If you’re underweight before pregnancy, it’s essential to gain a reasonable amount of weight while you’re pregnant. Without the extra weight, your baby might be born early (premature birth) or smaller than expected.

When you gain too much

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can increase your baby’s risk of health problems, such as being born significantly larger than average (fetal macrosomia), and complications at birth, such as the baby’s shoulder becoming stuck after the head is delivered (shoulder dystocia). Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can also increase your risk of postpartum weight retention.

Where does pregnancy weight gain go?

Let’s say your baby weighs in at 7 or 8 pounds (about 3 to 3.6 kilograms). That accounts for some of your pregnancy weight gain. What about the rest? Here’s a sample breakdown:

  • Larger breasts: 1 to 3 pounds (about 0.5 to 1.4 kilogram)
  • Larger uterus: 2 pounds (about 0.9 kilogram)
  • Placenta: 1 1/2 pounds (about 0.7 kilogram)
  • Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds (about 0.9 kilogram)
  • Increased blood volume: 3 to 4 pounds (about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms)
  • Increased fluid volume: 2 to 3 pounds (about 0.9 to 1.4 kilograms)
  • Fat stores: 6 to 8 pounds (about 2.7 to 3.6 kilograms)

Putting on the pounds

In the first trimester, most women don’t need to gain much weight — which is good news if you’re struggling with morning sickness.

If you start out at a healthy or normal weight, you need to gain only about 1 to 4 pounds (0.5 to 1.8 kilograms) in the first few months of pregnancy. You can do this by eating a healthy diet — no extra calories are necessary.

Steady weight gain is more important in the second and third trimesters — especially if you start out at a healthy weight or you’re underweight. According to the guidelines, you’ll gain about 1 pound (0.5 kilogram) a week until delivery. An extra 300 calories a day — half a sandwich and a glass of skim milk — might be enough to help you meet this goal. For overweight and obese women, the guidelines translate to a weight gain of about 1/2 pound (0.2 kilogram) a week in the second and third trimesters. Try adding a glass of low-fat milk or an ounce of cheese and a serving of fresh fruit to your diet.

Working with your healthcare provider

Your health care provider will keep a close eye on your weight. Do your part by eating a healthy diet and keeping your prenatal appointments. To keep your pregnancy weight gain on target, your health care provider might offer suggestions for boosting calories or scaling back as needed.


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