Many women during their pregnancy will always be asked how much weight they have gained. Moderate weight gain during pregnancy is normal as your baby’s growth and development will depend on it. The extra kilograms will eventually be lost after delivery to reach your pre-pregnancy weight after some time.
You as a pregnant woman can gain an average of 12 kg (8-16 kg) to account for the baby’s weight and other tissues and fluids accompanying pregnancy. You should neither worry about that nor lower your caloric intake unless there is pre-pregnancy obesity or a high weight gain.
Here’s where the weight gain goes
- Baby: 2 – 3.4 kg
- Placenta: 0.5 kg
- Amniotic fluid: 4.0 – 5.9 kg
- Larger uterus: 0.5 – 1.1 kg
- Larger breasts: 0.5 – 1.4kg
- Increased blood volume: 1.0 – 1.8 kg
- Increased fat stores: 1.0 – 3.6 kg
Experts recommend that the weight gain during pregnancy will always depend on your body mass index:
|BMI||Recommended weight gain (kg)||Average weight gain per week after the 3rd month|
|Underweight (less than 19.8)||12.5 - 18||0.5|
|Healthy weight (19.8 – 26)||11.5 - 16||0.44|
|Overweight (26.0 - 29.0)||7 - 11.5||0.3|
|Obese (more than 29.0)||6.0 - 8.0||0.3|
*BMI = weight (kg)/height (m2)
Good to know
Did you know that it is not true when people say you should eat for 2 during pregnancy? The average increase in your calorie intake should not exceed 300 calories per day and that is after your first trimester!
The pattern of you to gain weight is as follows:
- In the first trimester, you do not need to gain much weight, only about 0-2 kg
- In the second and third trimester, steady weight gain is important for baby’s growth and development, which can be about 1–2 kg/month
As a result it’s preferred that your weight gain doesn’t exceed these limits as it would lead to several complications in pregnancy and delivery. Some of them could be high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, fatigue, backache, delivery complications due to increased fetus weight and less milk secretion due to the high storage of fat tissues around the milk glands. Another point pregnant women should not forget is that when they gain excess weight, they will find it difficult to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight.
Here are a few tips to follow to control your weight gain during pregnancy:
- Eat small, frequent meals distributed throughout the day; breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner
- Increase your fluid intake, especially of water
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, which increases the feeling of fullness yet are relatively low in calories with no fat
- Reduce to a minimum your intake of fried and sweet foods
- Try to cut down on junk and fast foods as they are high-calorie foods with no nutritional benefits for you or your baby
- Consume good quality proteins beneficial for building cells and tissues, like meats (all kinds), eggs, dairy products and legumes
- Increase your intake of high-calcium foods like milk and dairy products. These are not only rich in calcium but are high in proteins
- Do not always give in to you increased appetite especially if your food intake has increased remarkably, because this will put you at a higher risk of pregnancy complications