SolveYourProblem Article Series: Pregnancy
Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know

     

     

Pregnancy: How Much Weight Gain is Too Much?
   

If you think pregnancy is an excuse to eat all kinds of things you couldnít before, think again. If you think losing weight is hard, losing baby weight is even harder if you gain too much. You can actually harm your baby by gaining too much or not enough weight. Your pre-pregnancy height and how much you weighed before getting pregnant will determine how much you need to gain. Your babyís health depends on you gaining the right amount of weight. If you donít gain enough you could have a very small baby, but gain too much, you risk the chance of a premature baby, a large baby or gestational diabetes.

You should gain around 25-35 pounds if you were normal weight when you got pregnant. Most doctors recommend increasing your diet by 300 extra calories a day. Basically adding a snack or two will be enough to gain the right amount of weight. A 4-6 pound weight gain is normal the 1st trimester, but many women lose a few pounds due to morning sickness, too. The 2nd and 3rd trimester you will probably gain around a pound per week, sometimes more and sometimes less. The weight adds itself in spurts as the baby grows.

You probably want to gain more weight if you started out underweight. You need some extra padding to be able to maintain your changing frame and supply the baby with enough nutrients and protection. A 28-40 pound weight gain is considered normal and healthy. Because you probably wonít gain much weight the first trimester, try to gain about a pound and a half per week in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Adding Ensure or instant breakfast to your diet can help you gain that extra weight and has plenty of vitamins and minerals.

If you started out overweight then you probably donít want to gain more than 15-25 pounds. Whatever you do, donít diet. It isnít necessary or healthy. You will use your own fat stores to energize your body, so you might even find that even though you gained some weight you look slimmer. Once the baby is born you may find yourself weighing less than before and have an easier time losing more weight.

Gaining the right amount of weight will make it easier to shed pounds after delivery and will prepare your body for breastfeeding. If you're expecting twins, you want to try to gain more weight to accommodate for more babies. The consensus says between 35-50 pounds is normal. Many women will gain more due to genetics. If you have bigger babies than gaining more isn't so bad. Your doctor will monitor your weight and size and keep you informed on what is good.

Make sure you put weight on slowly and steadily to avoid stretch marks. But don't worry if you gain less than four pounds in the first trimester, and make up for it later, or vice versa. Also, many women have one or two "growth spurts" during which they gain several pounds in a short time period, and then level off. The important thing is to keep an eye on your overall gain. A healthy diet and careful monitoring will ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Fluid Retention

It might be hard to know exactly how much weight you are gaining if you are retaining water. If you are swelling in your face, ankles, or feet call your doctor, he or she might want to weigh you more often to make sure you arenít retaining too much. It is common to hold some water during pregnancy, having your rings not fit or slightly swollen ankles after being on your feet all day is normal. Just make sure that the swelling goes down once you have sat or lain down with your feet elevated for a while.

Higher Risk Pregnancies

For women dealing with high-risk pregnancies, there is no known idea weight gain. It will depend on why you are high-risk and how much you weighed before getting pregnant. For pregnant teens a higher weight gain is good. The teenagerís body is still growing and maturing from puberty, a pregnancy requires more fuel to allow both mother and baby to grow. The younger the girl, the higher the pregnancy risk and, generally, the higher the weight gain recommendation.

Why Gain Weight

Some women dread the thought of gaining weight. It is important to gain enough weight to have a healthy baby. More of the weight goes into baby and other functions than just fat. Where does it all go?

Approximate breakdown of a weight gain of 29 pounds

Where does it all go?

Approximate breakdown of a weight gain of 29 pounds:

  • Blood 3 pounds
  • Breasts 2 pounds
  • Womb 2 pounds
  • Baby 7.5 pounds
  • Placenta 1.5 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid 2 pounds
  • Fat, protein & other nutrients 7 pounds
  • Retained water 4 pounds

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