We all know pregnancy comes with weight gain. But how much should be the weight gain? How much weight gain is healthy? What should be the minimum or maximum limit? Are there any complications with too much or too little weight gain? What to eat and not to eat during pregnancy? Let us have a comprehensive look at how and why pregnancy causes weight gain.
How much should be the pregnancy weight gain?
Let us divide it three categories, depending on how much you weighed before pregnancy.
If you had a healthy weight before getting pregnant 25-35 pounds gain should suffice.
If you were underweight, try to gain a minimum of 28-40 pounds.
If you were overweight before pregnancy, a maximum of 15-25 pounds would be enough.
Now if you are expecting twins or multiples, your ideal goal weight goes up.
Gain 37-54 pounds if you started with an average weight.
Gain 50-62 pounds if you started underweight.
Gain 31-50 pounds if you started overweight.
And 25-42 pounds if you fall in the obese category.
What is the extra weight during pregnancy?
The average of 25 to 30 pounds that we gain can be divided into the following weight gain reasons,
Baby: 7.5 – 8 pounds
Placenta: 2-3 pounds
Amniotic fluid: 2-3 pounds
Maternal breast tissue: 2-3 pounds
Maternal blood volume: 4 pounds
Stored fat for delivery and breastfeeding: 5-9 pounds
Uterine enlargement: 2-5 pounds
What happens if you gain too much weight during pregnancy?
Gaining too many pounds and can increase your chances of gestational diabetes, hypertension and complications during labour. If you gain more than four pounds in any week of your second trimester, check with your gynaecologist, as it could be a symptom of preeclampsia. Gaining more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy can put both the mother and the baby at risk for health problems both during and after pregnancy. Your chances of needing a C-section also goes up. The baby can be born premature or too small, along with other pregnancy complications. An excess weight gain amounts to excess skin postpartum which gives way to stretch marks plus and saggy skin.
What should be the pace of weight gain?
Gradual weight gain is important in pregnancy, as the number of pounds you gain is in relation to the nutrients and calories needs of the developing fetus. The amount of weight you should gain in each trimester depends on your Body Mass Index (BMI).
During your first trimester, gaining around three to four pounds of pregnancy weight is more than enough. In females suffering from morning sickness, weight gain of only up to a pound is normal. In those with severe cases of morning sickness, a weight loss could also be seen, which is normal, as long as your appetite picks up in the second trimester.
In your second trimester, your baby starts to grow in earnest. Your weight gain should pick up so that you gain about 14- 15 pounds, which includes the first-trimester weight gain. An average of 300 extra calories per day is considered optimal during the second trimester.
In your third trimester, the baby’s weight gain will pick up and move to around 7-8 pounds. Hence to compensate for the baby’s weight your net gain should be about 10 pounds. The total weight gained should be around 24-25 pounds. It can vary for different females depending on their body type.
You might need more gaining in pounds as mentioned above if you’re having twins or multiples. Extra pounds should be put slowly and steadily. Be regular with your gynaecologist and work with your healthcare practitioner to check on the developing foetus and meet your weight goals accordingly.
How to gain ideal weight during pregnancy?
1.Eat about five to six small meals every day. Have a side of salad with low-fat dressing with every meal.
2.Munch or snack on nuts, raisins, almonds, cheese and crackers, dried fruit, carrot sticks, avocado, eggs, hummus in between meals. Never starve yourself.
3. Avoid whole milk products, add non-fat powdered milk instead. Have a minimum of four servings of milk products every day. You can also opt for low-fat yoghurt. Include cheese in diet but avoid bleu cheese and other cheese with listeria.
4. Cook food with healthier alternatives like baking, broiling, grilling, and boiling. Frying and cooking in oil, ghee or butter will increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
5.Limit the number of carbonated drinks, soda and sugary drinks. Opt for water, vegetable or fruit juices, herbal tea and smoothies instead.
6. Limit the amount of salt when cooking. Salt causes water retention which can lead to excessive swelling in your legs. Too much salt and weight gain can lead to gestational hypertension.
7. Limit sweets and high-calorie snacks. Cookies, candies, doughnuts, cakes, honey, and potato chips have extra calories and very little nutrition. Replace them with healthier nutrition bars instead.
8. Vegetables and fruits should be compulsorily included in the diet. Legumes, sweet potatoes, broccoli and dark, leafy vegetables provide the required nutrition. Avoid raw and undercooked meat and uncooked seafood.
9. Having a daily of your prenatal vitamins is essential. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements like cod liver oil are also crucial during pregnancy. Consult your gynaecologist to get your prescription.
10.Moderate exercise can help burn excess calories. Walking or swimming is considered safe for pregnant women. Various yoga asanas for pregnant ladies not only helps maintain weight but also aids in ease of delivery.
Will the pregnancy weight come off?
Many women fear that they won’t be able to lose their pregnancy weight once the baby is born. But this is not the truth. Breastfeeding post delivery makes you lose weight. To get back in shape, all you need to do is the exercise in moderation and follow the lactating mom’s diet. You can join a gym after three months post delivery. Gaining in the right way will also help you shed the pregnancy weight in an orderly way. Do give in your cravings but also be watchful about the weight. Regular visits to the gynaecologists are of utmost importance to avoid any weight-related complications.