One of the biggest concerns among mums-to-be is whether or not they are gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy.
Throughout your stages of pregnancy you are weighed by your medical team to help you keep on track. It’s an important issue.
Gain too much weight and you’ll not only struggle to regain your pre-pregnancy body but you could also be creating health and labour complications.
Gain too little weight and a whole new set of problems presents itself.
The old adage of -eating for two- has long been proved to be WRONG.
Your baby will require adequate nutrition to grow, but in reality only between 200 and 300 extra calories need to be consumed daily at all stages of pregnancy to maintain a healthy equilibrium.
Your GP will give you guidance on what weight gain will be right for you.
Overall, a woman who begins pregnancy at a healthy weight (within the recommended BMI zone) should gain between 25 and 35 pounds by her due date. Women who are underweight when they fall pregnant should aim to gain 28 to 40 pounds.
Overweight women only need to put on between 15 and 25 pounds and very overweight – or obese – women should gain fewer than 15lb.
Women expecting twins will be monitored carefully and usually gain between 35 and 45 pounds, but of course this again depends on their starting-out weight.
How is the weight made up?
Stores of fat, protein and other nutrients 7lbs
Body fluid 4lbs
Increased blood 3-4lbs
Breast growth 1-2lbs
Enlarged uterus 2lbs
Amniotic fluid 2lbs
Giving an ideal weight gain total of between 26.5 and 30.5lbs
At what stages of pregnancy should I gain the weight?
By far the smallest amount of weight gain should be in the first trimester when the baby is tiny. Only a couple of pounds should really be gained in these first three months.
From the start of the second trimester pregnancy onwards the weight gain should not be more than 1lb a week.
Extra weight gain during pregnancy can cause problems such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, back and leg aches, varicose veins and fatigue. It can also result in an increased need for a C-section.
It is likely to cause bigger babies and increase the risk of birth injuries, as well as giving the new mum the struggle of having to lose unwanted weight after giving birth.
Larger babies are more likely to have metabolic abnormalities, certain birth defects and less-mature organs, and there is some evidence that children of mothers who gain more than the recommended amount during pregnancy have a higher chance of being obese later in life.
However you should never attempt to lose weight during pregnancy as at all stages of pregnancy your baby needs the nutrients that extra calories will provide.
Excessive exercise can also be harmful to a developing baby.
Debra Aspinall is an experienced journalist and the editor and leading writer for the Emma’s Diary website, one of the UKs foremost pregnancy and baby websites. Debra writes on pregnancy related topics such as stages of pregnancy, first trimester pregnancy, second trimester pregnancy and etc. She also writes on women’s health and beauty issues and contributes travel articles to glossy magazines in London and the Home Counties.