Weight gain during pregnancy is a lot like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” There are women who are afraid they will gain too much weight, women who don’t care how much they gain and women who want to be just right. Two of these tactics, though, can lead to health problems and possible miscarriages. It’s important to get a healthy and realistic idea of how much weight you should gain to avoid problems later on.
The extra weight that you are gaining isn’t just fat. Most of it is fluids and developing tissue needed to grow a healthy baby. For example, the blood weighs 3 pounds, the womb weighs 2 pounds, the placenta weighs 1 1/2 pounds and the amniotic fluid weighs 2 pounds. Your breasts will also enlarge to prepare for breast-feeding. This creates about 2 more pounds. Don’t forget to add the baby to the weight gain. The baby will end up weighing in 6 to 8 pounds by the end of your third trimester. In fact, the only fat that you will gain will be around 7 pounds total. The rest of any excess weight is retained water.
How much weight you gain during pregnancy depends on how much you weighed before you got pregnant. A woman who weighs a healthy amount before she gets pregnant will typically gain 25 to 35 pounds. This is about 4 to 6 pounds in the first three months and a pound a week until the baby is born. Women who were overweight before pregnancy should gain less weight than an average-sized woman of the same height. In this case, the mother-to-be should gain only 15 to 25 pounds. Women who are underweight before getting pregnant should gain more weight than an average-sized woman of the same height. Overall, the underweight woman should gain 28 to 40 pounds.
Women who have gained too much weight can develop conditions that may threaten the baby’s, and their own, health. Some conditions that may occur are high blood pressure, prenatal diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Women who don’t gain enough weight during pregnancy can have an underweight baby, according to research done by the March of Dimes. Small babies are more prone to health problems.
There is no need to eat for two when pregnant. A woman only needs an extra 100 to 300 calories a day to fuel the baby’s growing process and to gain the proper amount of weight.
Always follow your doctor’s advice when it comes to weight gain or loss during pregnancy. Failure to do so could lead to serious health complications.