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When you are expecting, your body goes through different things and pregnancy weight gain is one of them. It is good to gain a healthy amount of weight while pregnant but it should also correspond to your current body weight and where you are at the start of your pregnancy.
Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy weight gain and your pregnancy weight gain breakdown:
How much weight should you gain while pregnant?
During pregnancy, you only need about 300 extra (healthy) calories a day in order to sustain your baby and help them develop.
Based on studies, the average and normal weight that should be gained around pregnancy (if you are considered “normal” weight) is from 25-35 pounds.
Some women may actually lose weight while they are pregnant because they are eating healthier, experience intense morning sickness, or have other health issues that result in weight loss.
That being said, it is vital to remember that you shouldn’t actively try to lose weight during pregnancy or go on a diet to lose weight. If you are losing weight, you should consult your doctor so that they can check if anything is wrong.
It is also important that you don’t gain too much weight during pregnancy to avoid problems like premature birth, fetal macrosomia (when your baby weighs more than 8 pounds 13 ounces), a cesarean birth, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
When determining how much weight you should gain, you need to know your body mass index (BMI) from before your pregnancy:
- BMI less than 18.5 – Underweight
- BMI 18.5 to 24.9 – Healthy weight (Average)
- BMI 25 to 29.9 – Overweight
- BMI greater than 30 – Obese
Based on the above, here is your pregnancy weight gain breakdown:
- Underweight before pregnancy – 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy
- Healthy (Average) weight before pregnancy – 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy
- Overweight before pregnancy – 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy
- Obese before pregnancy – 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy
Weight gain during pregnancy by trimester:
- First trimester – 1-5 pounds (about 1,800 calories)
- Second trimester – 1-2 pounds per week (2,200 calories)
- Third trimester – 1-2 pounds per week (2,400 calories)
If you are expecting twins, you may need to take in around 3,000 to 3,500 calories a day, which is around a weight gain of 35 to 45 pounds during your whole pregnancy.
Here is your pregnancy weight gain breakdown for twins:
- Healthy weight before pregnancy – 37 to 54 pounds during pregnancy
- Overweight before pregnancy – 31 to 50 pounds during pregnancy
- Obese before pregnancy – 25 to 42 pounds during pregnancy
You can properly track your weight gain during pregnancy when you do prenatal visits with your doctor. You can also discuss with your doctor about the right weight gain for you. A nutritionist can also help in guiding you to manage your weight gain with the proper diet.
When you should be gaining weight during pregnancy?
Ideally, you should be gaining weight gradually and at a steady pace. Sometimes though, you may go through growth spurts that can let you gain more in a short period of time.
You might not gain any weight at all during the first trimester while others gain 10 pounds during the first trimester and then the weight gain slows down. Every mom is different so there is no standard.
Breakdown of pregnancy weight gain:
- Baby – your baby will weigh around 7-8 pounds by the end of the pregnancy
- Amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the baby or where your baby is “living” in) – 2 pounds
- Blood supply – while you are pregnant, your blood supply will also increase by 50%. This will weigh around 4 pounds.
- Bodily fluids (other fluids) – 4 pounds
- Breast tissue – as your body is preparing for milk production, your breasts will grow and will have a weight of around 2-3 pounds.
- Fat, protein, and other nutrients – during pregnancy, your body will also start to store fat to prepare itself for breastfeeding. This will around from 7-10 pounds.
- Placenta – weighing from around 1 to 2 pounds, the placenta grows inside your uterus and it is responsible for providing the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord.
- Larger uterus – this is where your baby grows and would contribute to a weight of around 2 or more pounds.
This totals around 25-35 pounds.
Pregnancy weight gain the healthy way
Sometimes when we think weight gain, we may be tempted to eat whatever we want and think we have a pass because we are pregnant. By making sure you are eating healthy throughout your pregnancy, you can gain weight the right way and ensure that you are providing your baby with the right nutrients.
When you avoid junk foods which are high in sugar and fat, it will also help prevent unnecessary weight gain. Remember that what foods you take in would also be passed on to your baby so you wouldn’t want to take in those foods that don’t have any nutritional value at all.
Aim to have a balanced diet of protein, organic fruits and vegetables, raw pastured dairy, grains, and healthy fat and oils. Try to limit processed foods, sugar, and extra fats.
Go for “real foods” rich in nutrients since these will help you feel more full and won’t make you overeat. It’s okay to have a cheat day or some treats every once in a while but as much as possible, try to go for the healthy and natural sugars like raw honey or maple syrup.
Try eating five to six small healthy meals a day. You can also have some snacks like nuts, bananas, raisins, cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, or crackers to munch on throughout the day. You can also add some butter, cheese, or sour cream to your meals.
Healthy fats are also vital for your baby’s brain development. Try eating coconut oil, raw nuts, and seeds. You can also do some moderate exercises if you want to burn excess calories and stay healthy.
Make sure to take a prenatal to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. Your doctor can provide you with the right one to fit your needs.
Losing your pregnancy weight
Your postpartum weight loss will vary based on your habits, hormones, if you are breastfeeding and how much weight you gained during your pregnancy. This will differ per mama and it could even be different for each pregnancy.
For some, it takes about a year before you will get back to your pre-pregnancy weight for others it can be faster (I put on about 30lbs with my first baby and 21lbs with my second and I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight by 6 weeks postpartum).
Avoid crash diets since these can lead to complications like low milk supply or other health issues. Breastfeeding can also help you to lose the pregnancy weight.
When it comes to pregnancy weight gain, what applies to one might not apply to another. There is no one size fits all.
It is best to aware of what’s best for you, your body and your baby and try to follow the proper guidelines.
It is important that you are gaining a healthy amount of weight and taking in enough calories and nutrients to nourish your baby while they grow. When you gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy, you can keep healthy all throughout and it not only benefits your baby but your health as well.