Weight gain during pregnancy
The amount of weight you gain during pregnancy has an important influence on the baby’s growth and the development of both the pregnancy and delivery. Recent studies found that only about one-third (32%) of women gained the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy and most women gained weight outside the recommendation (21% too little, 48% too much). Source: 2015 National Vital Statistics System birth data.
How much should I gain in each trimester?
Someone with a healthy weight should expect to gain anywhere from 25 to 35 pounds during her pregnancy. Women who are underweight should gain 28 to 40 pounds, and women who are overweight should gain 15 to 25 pounds. These weight gain ranges change if you are expecting twins, and your doctor might advise a weight gain of 35 to 45 pounds.
Not only is gaining the right amount weight important, but also the rate at which you gain it.
- First trimester: it’s normal to gain little and some women even lose weight (due to morning sickness).The average is to gain between 2 to 4 pounds (1 to 2 kg) during the first three months.
- Second and third trimester: the weight gain is about 1 pound (300 g) per week, depending on each woman’s constitution (physique).
Gaining too much weight can have serious effects on the development of the baby. Some of these effects include:
- Increased of discomfort. Excess weight gain can lead to backaches, leg pain, overall exhaustion, varicose veins, calf cramps, heartburn, hemorrhoids and achy joints.
- High blood pressure. Gestational hypertension diagnosed in the second half of pregnancy can lead to complications in delivery.
- Less accurate ultrasound results. If you have too much body fat, your doctor might have a harder time looking at your baby during your ultrasound exams.
- A large baby. This increases the odds that a vaginal delivery will require the use of forceps or vacuum, and it also increases the chances of delivering by C-section.
- Premature labor. Premature babies are at greater risk of suffering from breathing difficulties, eating challenges, and developmental and learning difficulties later in life.
- Birth defects. Babies will have a higher risk of birth defects including heart issues.
Also, research suggests that when pregnant women gain too much weight, “the babies have a higher risk of obesity later in life”.
Dieting and skipping meals during pregnancy can also have effects on the baby. Gaining less than the recommended amount of weight in pregnancy is associated with delivering a baby who is too small. Some babies born too small may have difficulty starting breastfeeding, might be at increased risk for illness, and may experience developmental delays.
During your pregnancy, all the calories you intake (or at least most of them) should be healthy calories and contain protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates. Fruit, legumes, cereal, pasta, rice, potatoes are good examples of key sources of energy.
Easy tips to avoid gaining too much weight/too little during your pregnancy:
EAT 4 TO 5 MEALS A DAY. If you are suffering from morning sickness or reflux, try to eat smaller portions more often and avoid food that contains solid fats.
TRACK YOUR PREGNANCY WEIGHT GAIN. Compare your progress to recommended ranges of healthy weight gain.
EAT FRUIT AND VEGETABLES. If you are suffering from constipation, you may not have enough fiber in your diet. Increase your intake of fruits and veggies, and try changing your normal cereal for whole-grain cereal.
AVOID SNACKING BETWEEN MEALS. Stay far from desserts, sodas, candy…
EXERCISE. 30 minutes of physical activity at least 3 times a week, will help you maintain a healthy weight during your pregnancy.
DON’T EAT FOR TWO – If you’re carrying a single baby, you need approximately 340 extra calories per day in the second trimester and 450 extra in the third trimester. Doctors disagree on whether you need more calories in the first trimester — if you’re overweight, you likely don’t.