How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time where the expectant mother tends to gain weight throughout the three trimesters, so it is important to know how much weight is normal during each trimester. Pregnancy weight gain has a direct impact on the health of the mother and the developing baby. At the beginning of pregnancy, check your Body Mass Index (BMI) and continue a healthy weight gain schedule accordingly.
What is BMI?
It is the measure of body fat based on the height and weight of adult men and women to determine whether they are underweight, normal, overweight, obese or morbidly obese. Based on the BMI, pregnant women will be suggested to watch over their weight gain and have a healthy balanced diet. BMI is simple to calculate. Divide the person’s weight in kilograms by height in meters squared or you can find any online BMI calculator to measure the value.
What Causes Weight Gain During Pregnancy?
On an average, pregnant women can gain 8-16 kg based on their BMI. This is not just the weight of the baby but also accounts for amniotic fluid, placenta, increased fat stores, blood etc. Here’s how the ideal pregnancy weight is distributed
- Baby - 2 – 3.4 kg
- Amniotic fluid - 4 – 5.9 kg
- Placenta - 0.5 kg
- Uterus - 0.5 – 1.1 kg
- Breasts- 0.5 – 1.4 kg
- Increased volume of blood- 1 – 1.8 kg
- Fat stores- 1 – 3.6 kg
How Much Weight Gain Is Normal?
Based on the BMI values, pregnancy weight changes from one pregnant mother to another. An ideal pregnancy weight gain includes 2-3 kg increase in the first 20 weeks then 0.5 kg every week till the baby is due, which comes to around 12 – 14 kg in total. The ideal weight gain range is 12.5 – 18 kg for underweight, 18.5 – 24 for normal weight and 25.0 – 29.9 for overweight. However, it differs in reality due to pregnancy symptoms, body type, individual’s lifestyle etc. Many women tend to put on weight in the first 20 weeks or lose weight due to morning sickness and poor appetite. After 20 weeks, the weight may increase gradually followed by losing 1 or 2 kg prior to labor. On an average, a woman’s overall weight gain during pregnancy ranges between 8 – 20 kg based on her body type and diet.
Healthy Diet During Pregnancy
You'll probably find that controlling your food intake is a lot harder during pregnancy as your baby is constantly ordering ‘womb service’ and now is definitely not the time to diet or try to lose weight. Instead, try to make healthy food choices as often as possible. Eat regularly throughout the day to control your hunger and keep your energy levels high. In addition to your three regular meals, you should have two or three snacks. Examples of healthy snacks include fruit, cheese and crackers, yoghurt, nuts and seeds. If you're used to restricting some food groups when you're not pregnant such as carbohydrates, it's time to include them in your diet again to ensure your baby is getting all the nutrients it needs. In particular, the requirements for folate, iron and iodine increase during pregnancy. You can choose foods that are rich in these nutrients or take a supplement but be sure to talk to your doctor before you do.