Keeping your weight gain on the right track is one of the key ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby. Eating nutritious healthy food and partaking in regular exercise will boost* your sense of well being during the next nine months, along with the assurance of maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight.
Ideally, your weight gain over the next nine months will be constant and at a steady rate, but at the same time remain within safe boundaries.
Your week by week pregnancy weight gain can be regulated by you more easily if you practise the following guidelines.
1. What is a Healthy Weight Gain?
A healthy weight gain depends on how many pounds your body was carrying prior to becoming pregnant. Your BMI (body mass index) is a number calculated based on height and weight, and is an important factor in determining the ideal weight gain for you during your pregnancy. It is always best to discuss diet, exercise, nutrition and your BMI with your doctor when you go for a prenatal visit.
If you are a woman of average weight for your height at time of conception, you should realistically gain 25 to 35 pounds over your nine month pregnancy journey.
The weight breakdown is made up of the following components:
- the average newborn weight is 7 to 8 pounds
- the placenta will weigh between 1 and 3 pounds
- your enlarging uterus can add 2 to 4 pounds
- added breast tissue weighs 2 to 3 pounds
- increased blood supply will bring approximately 4 pounds in weight gain
- amniotic fluid weighs 2 to 3 pounds
- Your body will store 5 to 7 pounds of fat in order to retain nutrients and prepare the body for breastfeeding.
If you are carrying one child and are of a healthy weight, you should gain between 1 and 5 pounds in the first trimester, and 1 to 2 pounds weekly in the second trimesters and third trimesters. If you are carrying twins or multiples, your doctor will carefully monitor and advise on your weight gain.
2. What If I am Presently Underweight or Obese?
Both scenarios can cause complications in your pregnancy. If you start out the first trimester of your pregnancy as being underweight, you may find it difficult to gain the required amount to maintain the health of you and your baby over the next two trimesters.
The weight you add on to your frame during pregnancy is essentially a tool for providing nourishment to your baby as he grows, as well as storing fat for breastfeeding after he is born.
Women who suffer from extreme morning sickness or other complications may find it difficult to gain the recommended weight for a normal pregnancy. If you start out as being significantly underweight, you should aim to gain between 25 and 40 pounds over the nine month period. Not putting on enough weight could cause you to have a low birth weight baby, or a premature delivery.
If you need to gain weight, consume foods such as peanut butter, cheese and yogurt which supply healthy calories. Avocados and olive oil contain good fats and plenty of nutrition.
A woman who starts off her pregnancy as considerably overweight for her height or even obese, should try to maintain a weight gain of between 10 and 25 pounds only. Gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and increased risk of cesarean section are just a few of the complications of excessive weight gain in a woman who is already overweight at the beginning of the pregnancy.
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In both cases, whether underweight or overweight, the advice of a dietician or nutritionist can help you to manage the extra (and necessary) pounds you put on over the three trimesters of gestation.
3. How can I be Assured of a Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain?
While gaining the proper amount of weight during pregnancy is vital to delivering a healthy baby, it is wise not to obsess over the pounds as they continue to appear on the scale. Exercising, getting enough rest and taking prenatal vitamins are significant determinants which also ensure your fitness, and thus a positive experience.
Consider these tips as you work towards the optimum health of both you and your baby over the next nine months:
- Do not let your healthy habits fall to the wayside. If you find that symptoms such as nausea prohibit you from eating as you would like, consult your doctor for help.
- You will not need to consume extra calories in the first trimester. Continue an eating regimen of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains and lean proteins.
- In the second trimester, add between 300 and 350 extra calories per day to your diet. In the third trimester, adding 350 to 450 calories per day is the norm.
- Try not to give into unhealthy cravings. A treat* now and then is fine, but keep it as a treat* not a daily food item.
- Be selective in your food choices and be sure to include foods that contain omega 3’s and iron.
4. Can I Diet While Pregnant?
Pregnancy is undeniably not the time to go on a diet. However, managing your weight by not eating for two is preferred.
If you feel that you can manage your weight gain by following a controlled diet, this is entirely permissible providing that the eating regimen contains the necessary calories needed to ensure a healthy baby, and all of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for every stage of your baby’s growth.
Many women who are at risk of gaining too much weight during pregnancy choose to keep a food diary. Journaling your food intake on a daily basis is a good way to establish healthy habits and monitor your consumption of necessary nutrients such as calcium, protein and folates.
Be certain to contact your doctor if you are suddenly losing or gaining weight in a rapid fashion, as this could be an indication of another underlying problem.
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