An important consideration during your pregnancy is monitoring and working on maintaining an ideal weight limit for your body. On average, women gain approximately 7 to 18 kgs of weight in their pregnancy. The reason for this range to be wide is because your bodies differ and there is no one ideal weight that can be considered as the ‘right’ weight, thus, understanding why you need to gain weight and how much weight gain is approximately recommended can help you through this journey.
Along with your own research, following it up with your doctor is the recommended advice for the health of you and your baby.
Why is gaining weight important during your pregnancy?
According to professor of nutritional science Kathleen M. Rasmussen, it is important to support the growth of your baby and to avoid birth complications such as premature birth or low birth-weight baby. This could also persist in the baby’s adult life in the form of learning disabilities or compromised immune functioning.
The extra weight helps in the development of your baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, body tissue, blood, larger uterus and stored fat for breastfeeding. This makes weight gain process a major indicator of your and your baby’s health. You have to give your body the energy to function and develop properly during this stage through proper diet, exercise and sleep.
How much weight gain is recommended?
There could be different reasons for differences in your weight gain during pregnancy, the two major reasons are carrying twins or triplets and your weight before the pregnancy.
Broadly, in the first trimester, you are not supposed to gain a lot of weight, on the contrary, you might even lose weight during this stage due to morning sickness, so don’t be worried if your weight gain process has not begun in the first trimester.
In the second and third trimester, you will begin the weight gain process. To understand more specifically on how much weight, you should gain for the health of you and your baby. Experts have talked about how you can calculate it according to your Body Mass Index (BMI) pre-pregnancy.
One such expert institution, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend the following:
- If you are under-weight as in your BMI is under 18.5, then you are recommended to gain around 13 to 18 kgs of weight.
- If your weight is in the normal range of BMI 18.5 to 24.9, then you are recommended to gain around 11 to 16 kgs.
- If you are overweight as in you have a BMI of 25 to 29, then you are recommended to gain 7 to 11 kgs of weight (Tommy’s, 2020).
The exact weight you must gain differs with each person and your health. Your bodies differ due to your health conditions, body types, lifestyle choices and at-risk factors, it is an individualised journey and planning is the key to this. You can use the above-mentioned method to calculate how much you should gain and get advice from your doctor.
Lastly, remember to keep in check with your doctor or midwife. Gaining too much weight could also lead to complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, baby being overweight or premature birth. However, if you are giving birth to more than one baby then you will gain more weight and more quickly which is completely normal.
How you should gain weight through a healthy routine
As the baby will receive nourishment from what you eat, eating a healthy balanced diet with loads of vitamins, minerals and nutrients are crucial to keep your body healthy and also to keep your growing baby healthy. Consider adding 300 calories extra to your normal diet every day from the second trimester. You can consider adding healthy fats to your diets such as nut butter, coconut milk smoothie, or grilled chicken. Additionally, avoid processed food, carbonated drinks, high glycemic index foods and sugar.
Keep yourself replenished and hydrated with lots of fluid every day. Additionally, doing 15 to 30 minutes of moderate exercises such as walking or pregnancy yoga will help you keep a healthy weight.
Gaining weight during your pregnancy is an individual and a personal journey. We hope we were able to do our part in helping you understand more about this part of your pregnancy. Take care of yourself, beautiful mamas!
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