Womens Health

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy weight gain is probably one of the least endearing of all pregnancy symptoms. Of course, a certain amount of weight gain is necessary to ensure proper development of the baby, but just how much is too much - or too little, for that matter?

Read on to find out why the amount of recommended weight gain for pregnant women varies according to whether she is overweight or underweight pre-pregnancy, and what you can do to prevent unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy.

How much weight gain is "normal" during pregnancy?

How much weight you should expect to gain during pregnancy varies depending on your pre-pregnancy weight. For example, pregnant women who had a "normal" weight before pregnancy (or for those with a BMI of 18.5 - 24.9), the recommended weight gain during pregnancy is anywhere from 25-35 pounds.

On the other hand, women who are underweight prior to conception may gain up to 40 pounds. This is especially important since underweight women stand to pose the greatest health risks to their babies.

Finally, women who are overweight should gain a maximum of 25 pounds. However, if you have been diagnosed as clinically obese, then it is recommended your pregnancy weight not exceed 15 pounds.

Of course, the amount of weight gain that is considered normal increases substantially for those carrying twins or multiple babies. In this case, the amount of recommended weight gain increases to about 45 pounds, depending on your pre-pregnancy weight and the amount of babies you are carrying.

In terms of when this weight gain will occur on a week-by-week basis, you should expect to gain about 5 pounds before you are 12 weeks pregnant. After that, you can expect a steady weight gain of about 1-2 pounds a week right up until the birth your baby.

However, how much weight you gain and how often you put on extra weight during pregnancy may vary for a variety of reasons. Being in regular contact with your doctor during pregnancy will help you to be sure what amount is right for you.

What is the weight made up of?

On average, weight gained during pregnancy is due to the following factors:

  • Your baby: 6-8 pounds (by the end of the pregnancy)
  • The placenta: 1.5 pounds
  • Increased fluid volume: 2-3 pounds
  • Uterus: 2 pounds
  • Increased storage of maternal fats, proteins and other nutrients: 4-6 pounds
  • Breast enlargement: 1-2 pounds
  • Blood volume: 3-4 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds

Are there any risks involved in having too little or too much weight gain?

Women who are underweight prior to pregnancy need to be extra cautious about gaining weight while pregnant. In fact, recent studies demonstrate that being underweight can pose a variety of health risks to the baby, including premature birth and/or the low birth weight.

Overweight women, on the other hand, should be aware that even though the amount of weight it is recommended for them to gain during pregnancy is lower than that of other women, weight gain is necessary regardless. That means absolutely no dieting during pregnancy. While you may associate dieting with better health, the fact is that your growing baby needs extra weight to support it as it grows.

Nevertheless, it's not a good idea to go over the normal amount of weight gain during pregnancy either, as this could cause serious health problems, including high birth weight (which means a more painful pregnancy), increased risk of obesity in the child and an increased risk of diabetes in both mother and child.

Can unnecessary weight gain be prevented?

While a little extra weight is necessary for a healthy pregnancy, how to gain weight (fragment). One of the best methods is to eat a healthy pregnancy dietfull of whole grains, fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins and dairy products, which will help you and your baby get the nutrients you need.

And don't be afraid to exercise! Regular, moderate exercise, including yoga, swimming and walking are great ways to keep yourself in shape and make post-pregnancy weight loss that much easier! Of course, you should always consult with your doctor regarding what types of food and fitness regimens are best for you.

Finally, don't forget that you are carrying a life inside you! While you may not be looking forward to weight gain, you should be view your growing pregnant belly as a sign that your baby is developing at a normal, healthy rate.

For more information on pregnancy weight gain and diet check out our pregnancy videos.

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