Although it’s completely natural to gain weight during pregnancy, it can be a little worrying when you start to see those pounds piling on.
Weight gain is one of the main concerns women have when they become pregnant. It’s understandable, as the weight you put on during pregnancy can considerably alter your appearance. However, what you need to remember is that weight gained during pregnancy is usually temporary and will start to fall off within the months following the birth.
However, this really depends upon how much weight you gain, as well as the cause. Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about how much weight you can expect to gain during pregnancy and what’s considered normal.
How Much Weight Should I Gain?
The exact amount of weight you can expect to gain during pregnancy will depend upon numerous factors. Your pre-pregnancy weight, height and how many babies you’re carrying will largely determine how much weight you can expect to gain.
You’ll need to determine your BMI before you can see what’s considered normal weight gain during pregnancy. If you have a BMI of under 18.5, you can expect to gain between 28-40 pounds. If your BMI is 30 or over, you can expect to gain 11-20 pounds. It appears the higher your BMI, the less weight you can expect to gain.
Obviously, if you’re carrying more than one baby, you can expect to gain more weight. The above are simply estimates of how much weight you should look to gain, but don’t be too concerned if you discover you weigh slightly more or less than the recommended guidelines.
There are free online calculators you can use which will provide an estimate based upon your measurements. However, the most accurate way to determine how much weight you’ll gain is to chat to your doctor.
Can I Prevent Too Much Weight Gain?
If you’re worried you’re gaining too much weight, there are things you can do. Under no circumstances should you attempt to go on a diet. Your baby needs good nutrition in order to develop healthily in the womb. If you go on an extreme diet, or cut out any food groups, you’ll be putting not just your baby at risk, but your own health too.
Some pregnant women find it useful to see a nutritionist. They can tell you exactly what you should and shouldn’t be eating. They can also help you to create a healthy, balanced diet to fit your individual needs. However, if you can’t afford a nutritionist, there’s plenty of advice online and your doctor will be able to give you detailed information on what you should be eating to meet your weight goals.
In fact, it’s really important to avoid making any changes to your diet without first consulting your doctor. Remember, everything you put into your body gets passed onto baby.
As well as ensuring you’re eating a balanced diet, you’ll want to make sure you maintain a gentle exercise plan. Again, only do this after being given the OK from your doctor. Many women assume they shouldn’t work out once they become pregnant. However, while plenty of rest is needed, exercise doesn’t need to be avoided completely. In fact, a little exercise can be really good for you and baby and help to prevent too much weight gain.
Shouldn’t I Be Eating For Two?
We mentioned eating a balanced diet is important, but it can be difficult to know how many calories you should be focusing on. It’s a common belief that you need to eat for two when you’re pregnant. There is some truth in this, but you don’t have to eat as much as you might think.
It’s estimated you should eat approximately 300 additional calories when you’re pregnant. The number of calories you should be consuming will also depend upon which trimester you are.
As a general guideline, if you have a normal weight range and you get less than 30 minutes exercise each week, you’ll want to aim for:
- First trimester – 1800 calories
- Second trimester – 2200 calories
- Third trimester – 2400 calories
Again, this is a general guideline and your doctor will be able to tell you whether this is accurate for you. The main takeaway point here, is that you don’t need as many additional calories as you might think, even when you are eating for two.
Is It Bad To Gain Too Much Weight During Pregnancy?
Although your main concern might be how the additional weight gain will make you look and feel, what you might not realize is that it can actually be bad for you and baby.
Firstly, you’ll be at a higher risk of developing conditions related to high blood pressure. If this occurs, you could end up having a preterm birth. Excess weight also increases the chances you’ll need to have a caesarean delivery and it can increase the size of your baby (which could make natural delivery even more painful).
What If I’m Not Gaining Enough Weight?
Being underweight can also be problematic during pregnancy. If you started out underweight, there’s a chance your baby could b born with a very low birth weight. This can affect their blood sugar levels, as well as make it difficult for them to feed. It’s also likely they may need to stay in hospital a little longer.
If on the other hand, you started out your pregnancy being 50 pounds or more overweight, not gaining the recommended amount of weight throughout the pregnancy could actually lower the risk of complications. This doesn’t mean you should try to eat less however. Always follow your doctor’s guidelines to ensure your baby isn’t at risk from your dietary restrictions.
Overall, some weight gain is expected during pregnancy, but it does depend upon numerous factors how much you can expect to gain. Talk to your doctor and see what they suggest and if possible, you may even want to seek advice from a nutritionist.