If you overhear the conversation of two pregnant women, you will most probably hear the following questions.
“Do you feel that the baby is kicking you?” “When are you due?” “Did you suffer from morning sickness?”
And the most common question among all should be “How much weight do you gain?”
Every woman expects to gain weight during pregnancy (after whole life of losing weight). And indeed, gaining the right amount of weight is essential to growing a healthy baby. But how much weight should you put on progressively? How much calories are needed to “eat for two”? How fast should you gain it all? And when are you off-track? You will find all the answers in this article.
How Much Should You Gain?
Pregnancy seems to be one of the most legitimate reasons to pile on the pounds. But beware that piling on too much or too few pounds can spell problems for you, your baby and your pregnancy. So, what’s the perfect weight gain formula for pregnancy?
Actually since every pregnant woman, as well as pregnant body is different. The formula can vary a lot and mostly depends on how many pounds you are packing before pregnancy.
Ask your health care provider for how much weight you should gain. Generally speaking, weight gain recommendations are based on BMI of your pre-pregnant body.
- If your BMI is average (between 18.5 and 26), you will probably be advised to gain between 25 and 35 pounds, the standard recommendation of average weight pregnant women.
- If your BMI is overweight (between 26 and 29), your goal will be somewhere between 15 and 25 pounds.
- If you’re obese (with an BMI higher than 29), you will probably be told to gain a total of between 11 and 20 pound, or even less.
- If you’re super skinny (with BMI lower than 18.5), chances are your target will be higher than average — from 28 to 40 pounds.
Though you need some extra calories to put on weights, you don’t necessarily need to “eat for two”. For average pregnant women, you only needs to eat 300 more healthy calories a day than you did before pregnancy to gain the right amount of weight.
At What Rate Should You Gain?
Slow and steady doesn’t only help tortoise win the race — it also applies to strategy of pregnancy weight gain. Indeed, the rate of gaining weight is as important as the total number of pounds you gain. It is because your baby needs a steady supply of nutrients and calories throughout his or her stay in your womb. Gradual gain also allows gradual skin stretching. Need more convincing? A well-paced weight gain will be surely paid off after you’ve delivered and you’re anxious to get back in shape.
But does steady means equally gaining 30 pounds across 40 weeks? No — this would not be a perfect plan for gaining weight.
During the first trimester, your baby is only about the size of a few poppy seeds, which means eating for two is not sensible at the time. So you only require a minimum weight gain in the first trimester. A good goal will be gaining between 2 and 4 pounds. Indeed, a lot of women don’t end up gaining any or even even losing few pounds thanks to morning sickness at this stage.
During the second trimester, your baby starts to grow in earnest — and so should you. You should gain 1 to 1.5 pounds per week during months 4 through 6, which will add up to be 12 to 14 pounds in total.
During the third trimester, your weight gain may start to taper off to about 1 pound 1 week (for a net gain of about 8 to 10 pounds). Some women might find their weight holds steady or even dropping a pound or two during the 9th month due to ever tighter abdominal quarters. This might cause difficulty in finding room for food.
Breakdown Of Your Weight Gain
Here’s where the extra weight goes during pregnancy.
- Baby: 8 pounds
- Placenta: 2-3 pounds
- Amniotic fluid: 2-3 pounds
- Breast tissue: 2-3 pounds
- Blood supply: 4 pounds
- Stored fat for delivery and Breastfeeding: 5-9 pounds
- Larger uterus: 2-5 pounds
- Total: 25-35 pounds
Weight Gain Red Flags?
Check with your practitioner,
- if you gain more than 3 pounds in any one week in the 2nd trimester; or
- if you gain more than 2 pounds in any week in the 3rd trimester; or
- if you gain no weight for more than two weeks in a row in the 2nd trimester,
- especially if it doesn’t seem to be related to overeating or excessive intake of sodium.
Realistically, you won’t able to closely follow the gain formula. There will be weeks when your appetite rules and self-control wavers. And there will be weeks when eating seems too much of an effort (due to tummy troubles). Not to worry or stress over the scale. As long as your overall weight gain is on target and your rate reaches an average of the model formula (a half pound one week, 2 pounds the next and 1 the following…), you’re on the right track.
So here’re some final tips for you to keep an eye on the scale.
- Weigh yourself at the same time of the day
- Wear same amount of clothes when weighing
- Weigh on the same scale
- Weigh once a week (More often and you’ll probably drive yourself crazy with day-to-day fluid fluctuations.)