When you are pregnant, you don’t have to watch your waistline like you might have before you became pregnant. Being pregnant, however, does not give you license to feast on fast food and donuts all day long, either. Gaining too much or too little can be harmful for you and for your baby, according to the March of Dimes.
Not Too Little, Not Too Much
The best way to gain the proper amount of weight during pregnancy is slow and steady. If you gain too little weight, you increase your risk of giving birth to an underweight baby. If you gain too much, you increase your risk of delivering too early, delivering a large baby or delivering by cesarean section. Too much weight gain in pregnancy can also lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and varicose veins.
Your health care provider can tell you exactly how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. Typically, women need about 300 more calories per day during this time. The amount you need to gain depends on your pre-pregnancy weight. The March of Dimes offers a guideline to give you a general idea. If you were a normal weight when you became pregnant, you should gain 25 to 35 lbs. during the nine months. If you were underweight, you should gain about 28 to 40 lbs. If you were overweight, you should only gain 11 to 20 lbs. during your pregnancy.
While you can eat more calories per day, you should choose your calories wisely for the health of your baby. Select whole-grain bread instead of white bread. Have some fruit for a snack instead of a cookie, and drink juice that is fortified with calcium and other nutrients.
Why the Weight
Most babies are born weighing 7 or 8 lbs. That only accounts for some of your weight gain. MayoClinic.com explains that your larger breasts account for 1 to 3 lbs., your larger uterus weighs 2 more lbs., the placenta weighs 1 1/2 lbs., the amniotic fluid weighs 2 lbs., the increased blood volume accounts for 3 to 4 lbs., and you store about 6 to 8 lbs. of fat.
Losing the Weight
You will lose much of your pregnancy weight soon after you deliver. After six weeks, most women lose half the weight they gained. Caring for your baby requires a lot of energy, so you should not go on a starvation diet to lose weight, recommends the Baby Center website. Women who breastfeed tend to drop the pounds faster. If you can’t seem to get rid of the baby weight after nine months or so, you might consider going to a fitness trainer or seeing a dietitian.