One of the inevitable things about pregnancy is that you will gain weight. Many women have the mentality that they are eating for two. While this is partially correct, however, it does not mean eating for two full-grown adults. The health of the baby and it’s weight at birth are directly related to how much weight you gain during pregnancy. Gaining too much or too little weight can lead to serious problems for you and your baby.
How much you weigh – specifically your BMI – indicates how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. Begin by determining your Body Mass Index (BMI). Use this calculator from the CDC.
So how much weight is the appropriate amount?
Any information you find here is superseded by your doctor’s recommendations. AND you need to remember that each pregnancy is unique to you! General guidelines (again, you are unique!) recommend the amount of weight you should gain is based upon your BMI, which you figured above. The following table will allow you to find your BMI and the total amount of pounds you should gain.
The rate at which you gain weight is just as important as the total amount of weight you gain.
During the 1st trimester of your pregnancy you should gain a total of 2 – 6 pounds – depending on your pre-pregnancy BMI. During these first three months you will not need to increase your calorie intake. But you need to focus on consuming healthy foods to meet your nutrient needs.
Note these are general guidelines. Morning sickness, expanding blood volume, among other things can play a huge role. So discuss these guidelines with your doctor.
During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters you should gain approximately ½ -1 pound per week, keeping your weight on a steady increase. During the 2nd trimester you should increase your total calorie intake by about 300 calories per day. The best way to monitor caloric intake is by your weight gain. During the 3rd trimester you should increase your total calories by about 400 calories per day. If you are exercising you will want to increase your intake more than 400 calories.
While adding foods, be sure to add healthy foods that enhance the balance and variety of your diet…read more about Prenatal Nutrition.
It is also important you exercise during pregnancy.
Where does the weight come from?
You’ll put that amount of weight on in nine months time. And you might ask yourself where all of this weight comes from and the answer is that a majority of it comes from the baby itself (7 to 8 pounds) and your increasing muscle tissue and fluid (4 to 7 pounds). Other sources of weight gain are from the placenta and amniotic fluid that protect the baby (3 to 4 pounds); increased size of breasts (approximately one pound); increased size of uterus (2 pounds); increased blood volume (3 pounds); and finally increased body fat (5 or more pounds).
How will I lose the weight?
The good news, is that anywhere from 12-20 pounds can be lost in the first month (based on a 30 lb. weight gain). This loss comes from: baby, amniotic fluid, placenta, blood volume, breast tissue, fat storage urination and the uterus involution. With all of this in mind, notice how hard your body will be working in the first few weeks postpartum, it is delicate time for your body. So do the proper postnatal exercise to get your body back! If you need help, we’ve got you covered in our Postnatal Program.