As your little one grows inside you, the numbers on the scale should start to creep up as well. Weight gain during pregnancy is a delicate balancing act–gain too much weight and you face complications during birth and run the risk of your baby being too big; gain too little and your baby has a higher chance of being born pre-term. You have to find the sweet spot, gaining just enough, but not too much.
Recommended Weight Gain
The amount of weight you should gain during your pregnancy varies, according to your pre-pregnancy weight. If you were an average weight pre-pregnancy, you should gain around 25 to 35 lbs. However, if you were underweight, you’ll need to gain more weight–28 to 40 lbs. If you were overweight, you’ll need to gain less–15 to 25 lbs. If you are carrying twins, you’ll need to gain somewhere in the 35 to 45 lbs. range.
Adding It Up
For those who are concerned about their figure, the great part about this pregnancy weight gain is that–assuming you gain the recommended amount of weight–most of the weight you gain is not actually fat. About 8 lbs. is the baby. The placenta, amniotic fluid and breast tissue are 2 to 3 lbs. each. Increased blood supply is 4 lbs.; and increased uterus size accounts for 2 to 5 lbs. The last 5 to 9 lbs. is for maternal fat stores, which you need to breastfeed your baby.
Hitting Your Weight Gain Goals
Though people often say that you are “eating for two,” this is hardly the case. You do need to eat extra calories to support your baby’s growth, but you only need about 100 to 300 extra calories per day–fewer in the first trimester and more in the second and third trimesters. Choose healthy foods for these extra calories rather than using it as an excuse to eat dessert every night. However, you shouldn’t actively try to diet or limit your calories. If you are concerned about your eating habits and weight gain, ask to speak with a nutritionist, who can help you to plan your meals.
If You Gain Too Much Weight
You won’t always gain exactly half a pound a week for the duration of your pregnancy. One week you may gain 2 lbs., while another you may gain none at all. However, if you do see that the scale is moving upward a lot faster than it should, assess your eating habits and try to choose healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables, instead of junk foods.
Losing Weight During Pregnancy
In very rare cases, if you are overweight, your doctor may allow you to lose weight during your pregnancy, but you should not follow a strict low-calorie diet plan to try to lose weight. You should only lose weight under your doctor’s supervision.
It is normal, however, to lose a few pounds during the first trimester, especially if you have moderate-to-severe morning sickness that makes eating difficult. In these cases, you will catch up on your weight gain later in the pregnancy.