Weight Management during Pregnancy

Gaining weight during pregnancy is indispensable. But, theres a way to do it, and there are checkpoints to watch over. Here are the important rules of weight management during pregnancy.

Last Updated: 22 October 2020

Weight Management during Pregnancy
Weight Management during Pregnancy

You will be measuring your body weight more often during pregnancy than any other phase of your life. As a matter of fact, weight is an important parameter to assess how your pregnancy is progressing. It is a known fact that pregnant women gain weight during pregnancy. You must also be aware of the recommended guidelines for weight management during pregnancy.

In the first few weeks of pregnancy, managing your weight may not be anything of your focus. Perhaps morning sickness bogs you down and losing weight during pregnancy bothers you. However, as the pregnancy progresses and with the regular eat-sleep cycle returning back in your life, you may feel like to grab down food thinking to compensate on all that you lost and may be to grow your baby bigger. Though you have the right to cherish your palate after weeks of deprivation, know that you do not want to gain weight during pregnancy in disproportionate levels.

How much weight must a pregnant women gain during pregnancy?

You might have heard how important it is to eat for two during your pregnancy. But in actuality, you do not need to eat for two. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an appropriate weight gain during pregnancy along with right nutrition and exercise is critical for a healthy pregnancy. Most importantly, unwanted excessive weight gain during pregnancy must be avoided.

The chart below lists gestational weight gain recommended by the Institute of Medicine, according to the weight category of women, calculated based on the pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI):

 

Pre-pregnancy Weight 
Category

Body Mass Index

Recommended 
Range of 
Total Weight (lb)

Recommended Rates
of Weight Gain in the
Second and Third
Trimesters (lb)
(Mean Range [lb/wk])

Underweight

Less than 18.5

28–40

1 (1–1.3)

Normal Weight

18.5–24.9

25–35

1 (0.8–1)

Overweight

25–29.9

15–25

0.6 (0.5–0.7)

Obese

30 and greater

11–20

0.5 (0.4–0.6)

 

Pregnancy Weight Gain Recommendations by the Institute of Medicine

An additional 300 calories (600 calories if you are carrying twins) per day is what you need for effective weight management during pregnancy. And it does not require too much eating. A woman of average weight needs to gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. The recommended weight gain in the first trimester is 1-4.4 lb and 1 lb per week in the second and third trimesters. In the case of twins, the recommended gestational weight gain is 37-54 lb.

What makes up your weight gain during pregnancy?

A newborn on an average weighs around 8 pounds only, but the total weight gain during pregnancy is three to four times of the baby’s weight. So, what makes up the extra weight during pregnancy?

 

·         Baby

·         Placenta

·         Amniotic sac

·         Growing breast tissue

·         Increased blood volume

·         Protective fat storage

How to manage weight during pregnancy?

Here are some general tips to manage your weight during pregnancy:

·         Weight management during pregnancy should not be equated to weight loss or dieting. Do not try to go on a diet or do other specific weight loss practices during pregnancy.

·         Gaining weight during pregnancy should not be due to unhealthy snacks. Instead, focus on nutritious food, nuts, fruits and plenty of water in your everyday diet.

·         It is good to have a discussion with your OB about how much of weight gain is truly necessary at every stage of your pregnancy.

·         If you were overweight or underweight before pregnancy, you may have to gain weight slowly or rapidly according to the recommended weight gain measures. Always have a watch on your body mass index (BMI).

·         Practicing safe pregnancy exercises is important not only to stay fit and active throughout pregnancy but also for effective weight management during pregnancy.

 

·         Though your body undergoes continuous change in shape and size, keep away from worrying about healthy weight gain during pregnancy. After you deliver your baby, you can get back to your pre-pregnancy weight with a healthy lifestyle. 

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