Why Weight Gain is Important in Pregnancy

Keeping tabs on your weight during pregnancy can be confusing. It is difficult to know if you are putting on too many excess pounds or if you not taking on enough calories for your baby. Eating for two is an old adage that has long been proved wrong however it is important to gain a certain amount of weight to provide enough nutrients for the little one while allowing the mother to store fat in preparation for breastfeeding. Here are some pregnancy tips on the dos and don’ts of weight gain when expecting…

Ideal target:

You should aim to consume between 200 and 300 extra calories daily throughout the pregnancy to maintain a healthy equilibrium. To give you a rough idea, that is the equivalent of four apples, three bananas or two more slices of bread a day.

Your GP or midwife should keep an eye on the right weight gain for you, but in general, 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, a woman who is underweight when she falls pregnant should aim to gain 28 to 40 pounds and an overweight woman only needs to put on between 15 and 25 pounds. Very overweight – or obese – women should gain fewer than 15 pounds. If you are having twins, the expected gain is between 35 and 45 pounds depending on the mother’s starting-out weight.

When should I put on weight?

The smallest amount of weight gain should be in the first trimester when the baby is tiny, ideally only a couple of pounds in these initial three months. From the beginning of the second trimester onwards, a rough guide to weight gain is no more than 1 pound a week.

Gaining too much weight

Putting on too much weight can affect your health and increase your risk of complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia caused by high blood pressure, back and leg aches, varicose veins and the increased likelihood of stretch marks. It can also make it much harder to shed the weight after the birth. However, pregnancy is not the time to go on a diet as it may harm the health of the unborn child. The best pregnancy tips include eating healthily and staying active.

Gaining too little weight

This can cause problems such as premature birth and a baby with a low birth weight. It can also mean your body is not storing enough fat ready for breastfeeding. However, there are some naturally slim women who remain so throughout the pregnancy and give birth to perfectly healthy babies.

Staying active

Staying active is important while you are pregnant as it helps prepare for the physical demands of labour and birth. Maintain a normal daily activity or exercise (unless you’ve been advised by your midwife or GP not to exercise), however excessive exercise can be harmful to the 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 pregnancy tests, pregnancy tips, pregnancy symptoms 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.

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