Finding Balance in Pregnancy Weight Gain

PregnoFriday Finding Balance in Pregnancy Weight Gain

It may seem like sound reasoning not to worry about pregnancy weight gain, and every pregnant woman should gain weight. The question is how much should you gain? A common misconception is that when pregnant you need to “eat for two”. In reality, you only need to eat an additional 300 nutritious calories to support the healthy growth of your baby. Finding balance in physical exercise and a healthy diet contributes to proper pregnancy weight gain.

Determining healthy weight gain

The ideal place to start is reaching a healthy weight before getting pregnant. This will give your baby and your body the best chance for good health during and after pregnancy. Your pre-pregnancy weight gives a good indication as to how much weight you should gain throughout pregnancy.

Before getting pregnant, if you were:

  • Underweight, try for 28-40 pounds during pregnancy.
  • At a healthy weight, try for 25-35 pounds during pregnancy.
  • Overweight, try for 15-25 pounds during pregnancy.
  • Obese, try for 11-20 pounds during pregnancy.

Gaining too little

What happens if you don’t gain enough weight during pregnancy? Your doctor will check your weight at each prenatal appointment and if you’re not gaining enough, she may ask you to make adjustments to your diet. When adding calories, the key is to make sure they are nutritious calories. Not gaining enough weight during pregnancy can make you more likely to have preterm labor or a baby with low birthweight, which can have lasting effects on your baby. These sometimes include developmental delays, a weak immune system, and trouble with breastfeeding.

Gaining too much

It can put you and your baby at risk for a whole host of health problems if you gain too much weight during pregnancy. Excess weight gain can increase the chances of:

  • Having a baby prematurely.
  • Having an extra-large baby, a condition called fetal macrosomia. This is when baby weighs over 8 lbs. 13 oz. (4,000 g) and can make for a traumatic and challenging delivery for both you and your baby.
  • Cesarean delivery.
  • Childhood obesity for your baby.
  • Difficulty losing the weight after pregnancy. Carrying extra weight long-term means a greater chance of developing diabetes, poor heart health, and other medical problems.

Even if you do gain more weight than the recommended amount during pregnancy, you should never attempt to lose weight while pregnant. Try eating low fat dairy, meat, and condiments, consuming less fried and high-fat foods, drinking less soft drinks, and getting plenty of exercise to slow excess weight gain.

During pregnancy, the average woman carries about 10 pounds of extra fluid – not counting the baby and placenta, which together can be anywhere from 6-10 pounds. Recent findings indicate only 32% of women gained the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy – 48% gained too much, 21% too little. Talk with your doctor or midwife about making healthy choices throughout pregnancy and about ways to reach your weight goals. The more informed you are about how many calories you need and what is healthy for your body, the better you can take control of pregnancy weight gain.

What are some ways you strive to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy? Share in the comments below!


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