Weighing in on Weight Gain:

What pregnant women need to know

What you need to know:

Here are the recommended weight gain guidelines for pregnant women:

If you are normal weight prior to pregnancy: Gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy.

If you are overweight prior to pregnancy: Gain 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy.

If you are underweight prior to pregnancy: Gain 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy (depending on your pre-pregnancy weight).

If you have a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets or more): See your health care provider. You will need to gain more weight during pregnancy depending on the number of babies you are carrying.

Gaining the right amount of weight will make it easier to shed pounds after delivery and will prepare your body for breastfeeding.

What you can do:

See your health care provider if you are concerned about your weight. She or he can help you determine the weight gain that is right for you.
If you are already pregnant and are overweight, do not try to diet.

If you need help planning a healthy diet that will help you gain the proper amount of weight, ask about seeing a dietitian or nutritionist.

Weigh to Grow

You’re pregnant, right? So you get to eat as many french fries as you want, right? Wrong! You need to be careful about how much weight you gain during your pregnancy. Gaining too much or too little can be harmful to you and your baby. How many pounds you need to add depends on how much you weigh when you become pregnant.

Women who gain the proper amount of weight are less likely to have a low-birthweight baby (less than 5 1/2 pounds). But try not to gain more than what’s recommended. Too many pounds can lead to discomforts—such as backaches and varicose veins and, possibly, health complications such as high blood pressure.

If you began pregnancy at a normal weight, you should gain 25–35 pounds over the nine months. Adding about 300 extra calories a day to your diet will help you reach this goal. (One extra healthy snack, such as four fig bars and a glass of skim milk, will provide these calories.) Most women gain four to six pounds in the first trimester, and then average a pound a week in the second and third trimesters.

If you began pregnancy underweight, you should probably gain a little more. That’s because underweight women are more likely to have small babies. A 28- to 40-pound gain is usually recommended, so you should try to gain slightly over a pound a week in the second and third trimesters.

If you began pregnancy overweight, you should gain only 15–25 pounds. This means you should put on one pound every two weeks in the second and third trimesters. While you don’t want to gain too much weight, you should never try to lose weight during pregnancy because that could harm your baby.

Where does it all go?

Approximate breakdown of a weight gain of 29 pounds:

Blood 3 pounds
Breasts 2 pounds
Womb 2 pounds
Baby 7.5 pounds
Placenta 1.5 pounds
Amniotic fluid 2 pounds
Fat 7 pounds
Retained water 4 pounds

If you’re expecting twins, you should probably gain a total of 35–45 pounds. That translates into about 1 1/2 pounds a week in the last two trimesters.

Putting on weight slowly and steadily is best. But don’t worry if you gain less than four pounds in the first trimester, and make up for it later, or vice versa. Also, many women have one or two “growth spurts” during which they gain several pounds in a short time period, then level off. Again, this is not worrisome unless it becomes a pattern. The important thing is to keep an eye on your overall gain.

Source: March of Dimes Birth

Defects Foundation web site: marchofdimes.org

Categories: Infant/Pre-School, Little Ones