Weight gain is a natural part of pregnancy. Your growing belly accommodates your baby, but your weight also increases with other fluids and body changes. The increased numbers on the scale causes anxiety in some pregnant women. As long as you eat a healthy diet and stay within the recommended weight gain ranges, remember that the weight is necessary for your baby’s healthy development.
Amount of Weight Gain during Pregnancy
Your pre-pregnancy weight influences the recommended weight gain for the entire pregnancy. Women who are overweight should gain less than women who started out the pregnancy underweight. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who are overweight need to gain about 15 to 25 lbs. A woman within the normal weight range should aim for between 25 and 35 lbs. An underweight woman might need to gain 28 to 40 lbs for a healthy pregnancy. You shouldn’t restrict calories during pregnancy with the intention of losing weight, but talk to your doctor if your weight gain seems to be higher than recommended for your size.
The weight you gain is distributed to various areas. The average baby accounts for between 7 and 8 lbs of the pregnancy weight, although your baby could weigh more or less than that range. The placenta weighs around 1 1/2 lbs, and the amniotic fluid is about 2 lbs. The blood and fluid levels in your body also increase, with an extra 3 to 4 lbs allotted for each. Your uterus and breasts also grow with the pregnancy. Increased uterus size might add 2 lbs to your weight, while your breasts could increases by 1 to 3 lbs. Your body also increases its fat stores by about 6 to 8 lbs.
The first trimester is usually uneventful for weight gain. The Mayo Clinic recommends only a few pounds of weight gain during this part of the pregnancy. The second and third trimesters see continual weight gain to support your growing baby. A gain of 3 to 4 lbs per month from the second trimester on is common.
Effects of Weight Gain during Pregnancy
The weight you gain during pregnancy affects your baby and your body. Gaining too much weight might increase your chances of having a cesarean, according to Babycenter. Your baby might be larger, causing delivery difficulties. You also end the pregnancy with more weight to lose.
Too little weight gain can also negatively affect the pregnancy. A preterm delivery or a baby with a low birth weight are possible outcomes if you don’t gain enough weight.
Your calorie intake affects your overall weight gain during your pregnancy. In the first trimester, you only need an extra 150 to 200 calories each day, according to the Mayo Clinic. During the second and third trimesters, you might need to boost your calorie intake by about 300 calories, especially if you were underweight to start. The extra calories don’t mean you should reach for a bag of chocolate or potato chips. Healthy weight gain is key and makes it easier to lose the weight after your baby is born. Eat a balanced diet throughout the pregnancy to reach the recommended weight gain.
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