Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy – Most Common FAQs For Expecting Moms

Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy – Most Common FAQs For Expecting Moms

Nearly every woman experiences the dreaded thought of gaining too much weight during pregnancy. However, weight gain is totally normal and in fact, a necessity in these 9 months period. But before you take the liberty of those milkshakes, let’s get through the complete guideline of weight gain during pregnancy.

Why healthy weight gain is important during pregnancy?

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is extremely important during the gestational period. This is the phase which is considered as the solid foundation or a stepping stone towards healthy life of your child. It helps your baby get all the essential nutrients required for the healthy growth.

What if I don’t put on adequate weight during pregnancy?

If you don’t gain enough weight during this crucial phase, your baby might be born too small and unhealthy. This can potentially increase the risk of breastfeeding problems and delay in development. On the flipside, if you gain too much weight, there are chances your baby is born large (macrosomia) resulting in several labor and delivery complications.

Undernourished babies might face developmental problems later in life.

What should be the ideal weight gain pregnancy? BMI chart

There is no one fix rule and the adequate weight gain depends on various factors including body mass index (BMI) and pre-pregnancy weight. BMI is a method of estimating a person’s weight based on his/her weight and height. You can calculate your BMI using below formula.

Metric BMI Formula - weight (kg) / [height (m)]2

Example - Weight = 65 kg, Height = 170 cm (1.70 m)

Calculation - 65 / (1.70)2 = 22.49

Weight gain in singleton pregnancy

Your gynecologist is the best person who will guide you to healthy weight gain. Generally, below guidelines are followed in case of single pregnancy.

Weight gain in twins and multiple pregnancies

If you are expecting twins, you are likely to gain more weight during pregnancy. Again, it will be best to consult your doctor about what is right for you.

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When does a woman start gaining weight during pregnancy?

Typically, a woman should gain about 900 grams to 1.8 kg during the first three months and then about 450 grams/week for the rest of the pregnancy phase. The first trimester weight gain is minimal especially in the first month when the baby is just a small ball of cells. In fact, pregnant woman lose weight in the first trimester due to morning sickness.

  1. First trimester – Around 1.6 kg
  2. Second trimester – Around 5.5-6.5 kg
  3. Third trimester – Around 5kg

Again, these are just estimates and the actual weight gain will depend on your BMI.

I am pregnant with twins; do I need to take extra care?

It’s very important to put on the right of amount of weight if you are carrying multiple babies. The amount of food you eat and your weight will directly affect the babies. And most importantly, as most twins and multiples are born before their due date, they should get adequate nutrients during their 9 months journey inside the womb.

This will ensure healthy birth weight of your babies. Depending on your general health and what your doctor recommends, you might need between 3000-5000 calories every day if you are expecting twins.

Where does the extra weight go in pregnancy?

Obviously, your baby will not weigh equal to the amount of weight you gain during pregnancy. So where does the extra weight go during the pregnancy? Below is the approximate value for the weight distribution in the womb.

  • Fetus – 3.62 kg
  • Placenta - 900 grams-1.36 kg
  • Amniotic fluid - 900 grams-1.36 kg
  • Breast tissue - 900 grams-1.36 kg
  • Blood supply - 1.81 kg
  • Stored fat for delivery and breastfeeding – 2.26 kg-4 kg
  • Larger uterus - 900 grams-2.26 kg
  • Total – 9 kg – 13.5 kg

Does overweight woman need to lose weight while pregnant?

Carrying excessive weight before pregnancy can bring health complications when you get pregnant. It increases the chances of miscarriages, high blood pressure (preeclampsia), gestational diabetes, c-section, and stillbirth. If you are overweight when you conceived then your doctor might suggest you a diet plan to maintain a healthy weight. This would be strictly under the guidance of your doctor.

Generally it is not recommended to lose weight during pregnancy as it will negatively affect baby’s health.

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How to maintain healthy weight gain?

Some women think that they have no problem in staying within their weight gain range, but they don’t know how quickly the weight can build up. A woman just needs extra 300 calories during the pregnancy phase. So instead of paying attention to quantity, one should focus on quality foods.

  • Stay clear of junk foods. They just add bulk of weight without any nutritional benefits.
  • Exercising moderately five days a week can bring a range of benefits to your body.
  • Eat 5-6 six small meals daily including quick easy snacks containing nuts and dried fruits
  • Use fat foods in moderation.
  • Have at least 4 servings of milk products every day.
  • Getting enough of six essential nutrients is very important. These include folic acid, iron, calcium, protein, iodine, and vitamin A.

When should we see the doctor regarding weight concerns?

Irrespective of your starting weight, the goal should be to maintain the gain as balanced as possible. Your baby needs a daily dose of healthy nutrients and those are derived from what you eat. So weight gain becomes inevitable. However, sudden weight gain can be a sign of a serious condition known as preeclampsia.

The weight can fluctuate from week to week and it’s completely normal. But you must contact your gynecologist if you experience sharp increment or decrement in your weight. The doctor will help you keep a close watch on your weight by either suggesting a diet plan for boosting calories or scaling back, as required. The doctor can also guide you to lose weight properly post-partum.

Sources

1. Pregnancy and birth: Weight gain in pregnancy(2018, March 22). Pubmed Health read more
2. Weight Gain During Pregnancy(2018, May 17). CDC read more
3. How much weight will I put on during my pregnancy?(2015, December 21). NHS Choice read more 
4. Healthy weight gain during pregnancy(2014, June 20). Ministry of Health NZ read more