Many women worry about weight gain during pregnancy, as well as if they’ll be able to lose it again after the birth.
During pregnancy, it can feel a bit like your body is getting away from you. As your breasts swell, your tummy stretches, and your toes disappear from sight, you are forgiven for feeling a little panicked about your figure. Here’s everything you need to know about pregnancy weight gain.
How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?
The amount of weight you should gain during pregnancy is determined by your Body Mass Index (BMI) at the start of the pregnancy. At your first appointment, your healthcare provider may measure your height and weight, and then calculate your BMI.
Once your BMI has been calculated:
- If you have a BMI of less than 19, you are considered to be underweight and will be advised to gain between 13 and 18kg (28 to 40lb) during the pregnancy.
- If you have a normal BMI (between 19 and 24), you should expect to gain between 11 and 16kg (25 to 35lb).
- If you have a BMI of 24.5 to 29.5 you are considered overweight and should aim to gain between 7 and 11kg (15 to 25lb).
- If you have a BMI of 30 or more, you are rated as obese and should aim to gain 5 to 9kg (11 to 20lb).
If you are carrying twins, you should expect to gain around an extra 4.5kg (10lb) during their pregnancy. For triplets or more, you may need to gain a little extra weight. If you are carrying multiple pregnancies, you should discuss weight gain with your healthcare provider.
To ensure you keep to a healthy weight gain, you should eat a nutritious, balanced diet and try to avoid processed, sugary and fatty foods. Exercise can help to keep your weight gain in the healthy zone (as well as have significant benefits for your emotional health), so try to ensure you have at least 30 minutes of light exercise a day. Walking, swimming and yoga are all great ways to relax, as well as stay fit during pregnancy.
Where Does The Weight Gain Come From?
Since the average birth weight of an Australian baby is 3.37kg (7.4lb), you may be wondering where the rest of your excess baggage is coming from? In fact, the baby is just one of the components of your weight gain:
- Baby 3-4kg (7-9lb)
- Additional fat 2.5kg (5.5lb)
- Water retention 2.5kg (5.5lb)
- Increased blood and fluid 1.5kg (3lb)
- Larger uterus 1kg (2lb)
- Amniotic fluid 1kg (2lb)
- Placenta 0.7kg (1.5lb)
- Breasts 0.5kg (1lb)
Some women find that they make it to the end of the first trimester with little or no weight gain. For others, food aversions and morning sickness may actually lead to a slight decrease in weight. As long as your weight has not dropped drastically, this is nothing to worry about, and you should find that you gain weight as the sickness clears in the coming weeks.
As a general rule, if you are a healthy weight at the start of the pregnancy, you should expect to put on up to 2kg (4lb) in the first trimester. During the second and third trimesters, you should expect to gain up to 0.5kg (1lb) per week. This weight gain may slow down during the final month of pregnancy when, though your baby is still gaining weight, you put on just 0.5-1kg (1-2lb) in total.
The above schedule is simply a general idea, all pregnancies are different and you may not gain weight at the rate mentioned above. If you have any worries or concerns regarding your weight during pregnancy, you should speak to your healthcare provider.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Eating For Two
Since announcing your pregnancy, you may have noticed people cutting you extra large slices of cake, and offering you extra biscuits while pointing out that you’re now eating for two. In fact, eating for two shouldn’t look much different from eating for one.
For the first few months of pregnancy, there is no need to increase your food intake. Of course, you should try to eat a healthy and balanced diet, which may mean altering what you eat, but sticking to your usual 2,000 calories a day will suffice. As you enter your third trimester, and your baby starts piling on the pounds in preparation for the birth, you should increase your calorie intake to 2,200 a day. As a guide, 200 extra calories a day equates to an avocado, two slices of buttered wholemeal toast, or a banana and glass of milk – hardly eating for two, is it?
Losing The Weight
After you give birth, try not to worry too much about losing the weight again, focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet full of the vitamins and nutrients your growing baby needs.
It will take several months to shed those pregnancy kilos, but combined with sleep deprivation, lack of exercise and poor eating habits, it can take a little longer. Eating healthily, regular exercise and drinking plenty of water both during pregnancy and after the birth, can help your body to return to normal post birth.
Check out this great article written by BellyBelly’s creator, Kelly Winder, who shared her experience of easily losing 9 kilos of post baby weight in as many weeks – without hitting the gym, going for a jog or effecting breastmilk production.
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