Pregnancy Weight Gain: What Is A Healthy Weight Gain Level During Pregnancy? – Expert Reviews & Guide

Pregnancy Weight Gain What Is A Healthy Weight Gain Level During Pregnancy

Pregnancy weight gain is one of the most worrisome issues for mothers during pregnancy, primarily because they are worried about losing extra weight post-delivery. However, in this blog, we will not only discuss healthy pregnancy weight gain but also about how you should not worry a lot about losing the weight at a later stage.

Pregnancy, one of the most rewarding experiences of a woman’s life, can also be one of the most indulging experiences because you can finally eat guilt-free! there’s no worry about gaining too much weight because, well, come on, it is for the baby after all! Also, with so much going on in your life during the pregnancy term, keeping a check of the weight might also seem difficult. However, you need to understand that though pregnancy weight gain is not necessarily problematic, it sure needs to be kept a check on for your own health as well as the health of the baby.

While pregnancy weight gain is okay, too much weight gain might create unsolicited issues in the term, and hence, keeping the gain under control or at a healthy level becomes a must.

What Is The Recommended Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

Typically, a gain of about 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy is considered normal. However, this range does depend majorly on one’s own body mass index (BMI) and 25 to 35 pounds is recommended for women who fall in the “normal weight” category prior to conception as per the BMI. Hence, in order to determine the ‘healthy’ gain for yourself, it is necessary to first determine your body mass index or BMI.

As per the guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, here is the recommended weight gain during pregnancy :

Pre-Pregnancy Weight Body Mass Index Recommended Total  Weight Gain Recommended Weight Gain in 2nd and 3rd Trimester
Underweight Lower than 18.5 28 to 40 pounds 1 to 1.3 pounds per week
Normal Weight 18.5  to 24.9 25 to 35 pounds 0.81 to 1 pound per week
Overweight 25 to 25.9 15 to 25 pounds 0.5 to 0.7 pounds per week
Obese 30 or more 11 to 20 pounds 0.4 to 0.6 pounds per week

What is the recommended weight gain for twin pregnancies?

As for mothers with twins baking in their tummies, the following is the recommended weight gain-

  • Underweight moms (Preconception) – 50 to 62 pounds
  • Normal weight moms (Preconception)-37 to 54 pounds
  • Overweight moms (Preconception)- 31 to 50 pounds
  • Obese moms (Pre-conception)- 25 to 42 pounds

Pregnancy Weight Gain Trimester on Trimester

While we already have established the recommended weight gain for women of all body types, it should be noted here that the key to a healthy weight gain is ‘gradual’ weight gain. as the baby develops, their requirement for nutrition and calories also develops and that is fulfilled by the weight a mother gains. The weight gain is also affected by factors like one’s own metabolism, activity level, and genes. However, your health care provider will likely recommend ways to keep a check on it through the term.

For women who have a normal BMI pre-pregnancy, here are the term-on term weight gain recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)-

  • Trimester 1

Since the baby is still very tiny in trimester 1 and is just beginning to make sense of development inside, mothers are not recommended to gain more than 4 pounds in total. It should also be noted that for women who suffer from severe pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness during their first term, gaining even 4 pounds might be a task but that is absolutely okay if you can cover up for it in later days.  However, if you tend to gain more than 4 pounds in the first trimester itself, it is necessary to keep a check on the gain in future stages to ensure the baby’s and your own good health.

  • Trimester 2

Trimester 2 of pregnancy is always power-packed. During the second trimester, since the symptoms of pregnancy begin to fizzle out and the baby starts development at a faster pace than trimester 1, the weight gain should consistently increase. The total gain recommended in the second trimester is 12 to 14 pounds.

  • Trimester 3

The baby starts to gain weight of its own in the third trimester. And hence, your own net weight gain might start to taper. The ideal gain should be about 8 to 10 pounds at this time. It should also be noted that the weight in the 3rd trimester might tend to stabilize towards the end and some women might also see themselves losing a few pounds.

How To Maintain A Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy ?

In order to ensure that your gain during pregnancy is controlled and consistent as against aggressive and unhealthy, here are a few measures you could take-

  • Weight Check

Weigh yourself at a set time of the day, every day, preferably without clothing and on the same weight scale. you’d know it’s time to take action or to take professional consultation if the gain is off or under recommended limits

  • Watch what you eat

While it is okay and justified to give in to pregnancy cravings like junk food (who does not like a tub of black currant ice-cream at 2 am!?), ensuring that you eat a well-balanced diet is important too. Try to maintain the calorie intake approximately the same each day.

How Many Extra Calories Do I Need During Pregnancy ?

Since you will be ‘eating for two’ during pregnancy, you obviously will need to up the number of calories consumed as compared to what you consumed pe-pregnancy. Here is the recommended additional calorie intake for each trimester in your pregnancy-

  • First Trimester

Since the first trimester is when the baby is still in very initial stages, you should not need to necessarily gain too much weight and hence, do not necessarily need to up the calorie intake. However, if you happen to be underweight pre-conception, you should increase the take to achieve a normal body mass index (BMI).

  • Second Trimester

The second trimester is when the baby actually starts to take control and starts to develop, hence, an additional 300-400 calories per day is recommended.

  • Third Trimester

The third trimester is all the more crucial since your body also starts to prep for the overtime it would have to undertake for the delivery day. Hence, it is recommended to increase the calorie intake to an additional 500 calories as compared to pre-conception.

How To Avoid Unhealthy or Excessive Weight Gain During Pregnancy ?

In order to ensure that the amount of weight you gain during pregnancy is consistent and healthy, you need to ensure that you do not eat mindlessly. Try avoiding junk food and foods that are fried, sugary, and are sources of empty calories like sweets, carbonated drinks. Instead, try to eat right.’ Focus on foods that-

  • Are nutritious (greens and pulses)
  • Are rich in healthy fats (nuts, legumes, fatty fish, lean meat, dairy, poultry)
  • Fibrous (veggies, fruits, whole grains)

Besides, as some bonus, eating healthy does not only ensure consistent, healthy pregnancy weight gain but also helps to reduce or at least manage pregnancy symptoms. Healthy, nutritious foods also boost baby organ development.

Final Thoughts- Losing Pregnancy Weight

Pregnancy weight gain naturally tends to bother women during pregnancy as there’s always a “what if I cannot lose this weight after delivery?” However, please give yourself a break and understand that. a lot of weight would anyway go once the little one pops out. For the rest, here are some quick tips that can help lose the bothersome pounds as a result of pregnancy weight gain-

  • Continue focusing on eating nutritious foods instead of empty calories post-delivery
  • Indulge in exercising. You could also use the active-time for baby-bonding by taking your baby on your power walks
  • If you are not into walks and jigs, you could even try joining power yoga classes hosted by several mom groups online
  • Breastfeeding also helps burn calories (as many as 500 calories a day)

Just remember, as long as your pregnancy weight gain has been gradual, consistent, and healthy, there is nothing to stress about. Just take some precautions, keep a constant check, do not overindulge, and take the help of your health care provider for professional weight gain recommendations if necessary. Above all, do not spend your initial post-pregnancy days on managing weight loss, instead spend this time taking care of your little one as you always wanted to!

FAQs- Pregnancy Weight Gain: What Is A Healthy Weight Gain Level During Pregnancy?

1) Where extra weight goes during pregnancy?

You might have been wondering where all the extra weight that you put on goes during pregnancy as it cannot be possible all in the stomach? For every 30 pounds that you put on, here's how it is distributed- Baby: 7.5 pounds Placenta: 1.5 pounds Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds Uterine enlargement: 2 pounds Maternal breast tissue: 2 pounds Maternal blood volume: 4 pounds Fluids in maternal tissue: 4 pounds Maternal fat stores: 7 pounds

2) Is it normal to crave carbohydrates during pregnancy?

Craving not only for carbohydrates but the most random of foods, that you never even liked pre-conception, especially in the first trimester, is a common situation most mothers find themselves in. However, though it is okay to treat yourself during pregnancy, it should be remembered that over-indulging in calorie rich foods might cause an unhealthy pregnancy gain. If the amount of weight you gain has been a little too much and against the recommended guidelines, try to balance it out in your following semesters.

3) Is sudden pregnancy weight gain harmful?

The healthy kind of pregnancy weight gain is the kind that is consistent across the term. If you have a reason to believe that your gain is sudden and hyper, it might be indicative of preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys). it's the best to reach out to your health care provider and/or to look for professional weight gain recommendations. Setting a pregnancy weight gain goal could also keep you on track.
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