Weight Gain during Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, you might be worrying about which foods to eat and how much is enough is enough for you and your baby? People will advise you to eat more because you are supposed to be eating for two. But do you think eating twice as much as you normally do would help your pregnancy?

Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to eat all the time. Developing a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy food is all that you need during pregnancy.

weight gain in pregnancy

Healthy weight gain during pregnancy

Healthy eating habits will help balance out your pregnancy weight gain and support your baby’s health. When you gain weight during pregnancy at a healthy rate, it becomes easier for you to lose weight after delivery.

When it comes to pregnancy, every woman’s body behaves differently. How much weight you should gain during pregnancy, depends on many factors. It depends on the weight you have before pregnancy, your health, your baby’s health, and your body mass index (BMI).

healthy weight gain during pregnancy

Healthy weight gain during each trimester

For each trimester of pregnancy, your body demands different things. Similarly, the weight you gain during each trimester is also different.

Weight Gain during First Trimester

In the first trimester, most women complain about morning sickness. Therefore, in most cases, constant vomiting prevents weight gain in the first trimester.

If you have a normal and healthy weight when you get pregnant, you only need one to four pounds in your first trimester to keep your pregnancy healthy. A healthy and nutritious diet is all that you need during this time. Extra calories and fats can cause harm to you and your baby.

Weight Gain in Second and Third Trimester

Studies show that if you are healthy or underweight before you conceive, you just need about one pound (1/2 kilogram) every week during your second and third trimester until your delivery.

For a healthy weight gain, your body just requires 300 extra calories every day. A glass of milk and a half sandwich would be enough for you and your baby’s healthy growth.

If you are overweight, it is better to have just half a pound every week in the second and third trimester. You can add a glass of low-fat milk, an ounce of cheese, or some fresh fruits to your diet.

How do you know if you are underweight, normal weight, or overweight?

In pregnancy, keeping an eye on your BMI is very important. BMI is your weight in kilograms that indicates high or low body fatness.

This quick chart will let you know if your pregnancy weight is normal or not.

  • If the BMI is less than 18.5, it means you lie in the underweight category.
  • If the BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, it means you are normal and healthy.
  • If the BMI is between 25.0 and 29.9, it means you are overweight.
  • If the BMI is 30.0 or higher, it means you are obese.

If you are overweight before pregnancy

When you are overweight before pregnancy, you might increase the chances of various pregnancy complications. Being overweight before pregnancy can cause gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. These complications can result in a c-section.

If you think you were overweight before conceiving, ask your health care provider to suggest a diet and exercise plan to manage your weight while you are pregnant.

If you are underweight before pregnancy

Being underweight before pregnancy is also not good for you and your developing baby. Before you conceive, try to get to a healthy weight.

Healthy weight gain before pregnancy is very essential to prepare your body for the whole process. If you don’t have extra weight, it may affect your baby’s healthy growth.

When you gain too much weight during pregnancy

Gaining extra or too much weight during pregnancy is also not good for your baby’s healthy growth. It can cause health problems for the baby in the future.

If the mother gains too much weight in pregnancy, it can result in fetal macrosomia. This is a condition in which the baby grows larger than usual.

Too much weight gain during pregnancy puts you at risk of preeclampsia, pregnancy-related hypertension, and gestational diabetes. It can also result in a need for a C-section, prolonged labor, or delivery before your due date. In some cases, women have to suffer more than one of these pregnancy-related issues.

If you gain too much weight during pregnancy, your body has an increased risk of maintaining postpartum weight, and blood clotting during your postpartum menstruation cycle.

What is pregnancy weight made of? Where does the weight go?

Your weight gain in pregnancy is not just the result of a growing fetus inside your womb. In pregnancy, your body undergoes a lot of changes. Your muscles and tissues are developing and growing throughout your pregnancy to provide more room for the growth and movement of the fetus. Your breast enlargement also contributes to your increasing weight. Breast enlargement prepares you for breastfeeding after the delivery of your baby.

The following is how your increasing pregnancy weight is distributed:

  • Breasts: 1 to 3 pounds of weight gain
  • Uterus: about 2 pounds weight gain
  • Placenta: 1 to ½ pounds
  • Amniotic Fluids: 2 pounds
  • Blood Volume: 3 to 4 pounds
  • Increased Body Fluids: 2 to 3 pounds
  • Fats: 6 to 8 pounds

When does the weight gain start in pregnancy?

When you are pregnant, one of the first questions that every woman asks is when does the weight gain start in pregnancy? Your weight will increase rapidly during your second or third trimester.

But you will put on some weight in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In a healthy pregnancy, 1 to 4 pounds increases during your first trimester is normal.

How to avoid too much weight gain during pregnancy?

If you want to avoid gaining too much weight, you should keep track of how much and what you are eating on a daily basis.

Following are some of the tips that can help you to avoid gaining too much weight when pregnant:

Monitor Your Consumption

You should monitor your daily consumption during pregnancy. It will be easier for you to lose weight after delivery because you managed your weight gain. You should keep an eye on your caloric intake on a daily basis. Counting calories can help you in this regard.

Being pregnant doesn’t mean that you have to eat for two people. It’s a common misconception and you should ignore it. Just focus on a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables and you are good to go.

 Eat Nutrient Rich Meals

Eating a meal enriched with nutrients is what every pregnant woman needs. It is also the easiest and simplest way to gain moderate weight in pregnancy.

eat nutrient rich meals

Simply replace your snacks with fresh fruits and vegetables. You will feel fuller with the added bonus of less calories. The best snacks during pregnancy are berries, cottage cheese, carrots, hummus, and lettuce.

Protein shakes during and after pregnancy are also helpful in weight loss.

Walking is Key

Walking is very effective when you want to lose fat during pregnancy. Walking for 45 to 90 minutes a day, 5 days a week can help to avoid weight gain during pregnancy.

walking is key in pregnancy

Walking in pregnancy not only burns any unwanted fat but also speeds up your metabolism and strengthens your body.

Drink Lots of Water

Drinking water is the most common tip that you can find in every health and fitness article. In pregnancy, drinking water can do wonders for your body. Believe me, it is the easiest and simple way to keep yourself hydrated. Drinking water can balance your metabolism and helps keep you feeling full.

drink lots of water when pregnant

As your pregnancy progresses, it becomes harder for you to eat larger meals. Therefore, drinking a lot of water can help you to feel full and hydrated.

Ask Your Healthcare Provider

Following all these tips isn’t always enough. You should always go to your prenatal appointments and do as your doctor suggests.

Weight gain calculator for pregnancy

Follow this weight gain calculator to know which weight category you fall into and where you should be at the end of your pregnancy:

Pregnancy BMI Weight Category Total Weight Gain Range Total Weight Gain Range for Pregnancy with the Twins
Less than 18.5 Underweight 28 to 40 lbs approximately
Between 18.5 to 24.9 Normal weight 25 to 35 lbs approximately 37 to 54 lbs approximately
Between 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight 15 to 25 lbs approximately 31 to 50 lbs approximately
30.0 and over Obese 11 to 20 lbs 25 to 42 lbs 


Summary

Your weight before, during and after your pregnancy. is very important. It helps ensure your health, and your baby’s healthy development during pregnancy and afterwards. Managing the amount of weight you gain during pregnancy also contributes to healthy weight loss afterwards. Eating nutritious foods with not too many calories, staying hydrated and exercising are easy steps that you can take to help control your weight during your pregnancy.

Wishing you all the best and a healthy pregnancy.

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