Nearly every pregnant woman has been encouraged to “eat for two” and enjoy food during a time when weight gain is a good thing. But overeating and gaining too much during the nine months of your pregnancy can actually do more harm than good -- to you and your baby.
Gaining too little also comes with its own set of risks. A slow and steady weight gain throughout your pregnancy is ideal.
What are the risks of gaining too much or too little weight during pregnancy?
If you don’t gain enough weight during your pregnancy, your baby may be at increased risk for premature delivery or low birth weight.
On the reverse side of the equation, if you gain too many pounds during your pregnancy, you can increase your risk for medical issues, such as:
- Gestational diabetes
- Delivery complications
In addition to medical problems, you’re also likely to end up with more stretch marks than you wish to have, as well as the challenge of having all the extra weight to lose.
How much pregnancy weight am I supposed to gain?
At the Center for Women’s Health, your doctor works closely with you throughout your pregnancy, providing guidance on the amount of weight you should be gaining and when. You’ll also have resources available to help you keep your weight in check.
As a general rule, your weight gain target is based on your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is calculated from your weight and height. Once your doctor determines your BMI, other factors, like your metabolism, general level of activity, and your genetic makeup, come into play.
Why do I have to gain more weight than my pregnant friend?
If you were overweight before becoming pregnant, your doctor may advise you to gain less during your pregnancy than other women. If you were underweight before getting pregnant or you’re carrying more than one baby, you may need to gain more weight.
For women who were at a normal weight before pregnancy, this is the breakdown:
First trimester: Ideal weight gain is 3-4 pounds. In some cases, it’s hard to hit even this mark due to morning sickness, so you may need to gain a little more in the next trimester.
Second trimester: As your baby grows, typically, a weight gain of 12-14 pounds is ideal.
Third trimester: Expect to gain about 10 more pounds. A lot of women find their weight holds steady during the final month or so, despite the continued growth of the baby.
Eating a healthy diet throughout the nine months ensures your baby receives a steady supply of calories and nutrients.
How much baby weight is the actual baby?
If you’ve ever wondered how you can gain 30 pounds but only deliver a seven-pound baby, you’re not alone. A lot of women have no idea how pregnancy weight is actually distributed.
Here’s the scoop on a typical 30-pound weight gain scenario:
- Baby -- average 7.5 pounds
- Increased blood volume -- 4 pounds
- Fluid in your tissues -- 4 pounds
- Uterus -- 2 pounds
- Amniotic fluid -- 2 pounds
- Breast tissue -- 2 pounds
- Placenta -- 1.5 pounds
Finally, the remaining weight can be attributed to the natural fat storage in your body.
What’s the best way to measure my weight?
Monitoring your weight once or twice a week throughout your pregnancy is sufficient and will help you identify abnormal weight gain or loss. Weigh yourself at the same time each day on the same scale. Due to the frequent fluctuations of fluid and hormones, your weigh-ins can seem erratic.
If you notice a big gain or loss, it could indicate a potential health concern, so let your doctor know as soon as possible.
As long as you’re keeping your regular prenatal appointments, following your doctor’s directions, staying active, and eating a well-balanced diet, you’ll most likely gain the necessary weight during your pregnancy.
If you have any concerns during your pregnancy, call us at 316-252-1170 .