Weight gain is expected and normal during pregnancy as your body grows, changes and adapts itself for bearing your baby, his/her growth and lactation. However, the weight you gain during pregnancy should only be enough to accommodate all these changes – excessive weight gain can put you and your baby at risk for health problems including diabetes and hypertension during and after the pregnancy. On the other hand, too little weight gain may also increase the risk of certain pregnancy complications such as low birth weight.
The optimal amount of weight you should gain during pregnancy is based on your BMI (body mass index) before you become pregnant.
Let’s start with understanding BMI – BMI or your Body Mass Index is calculated on the basis of your height and weight. Generally, it is recommended for women with BMI in the normal range to put on about 10- 12 kg during the pregnancy.
However, if you are overweight prior to pregnancy, it is recommended that you gain less weight. And if you are underweight prior to pregnancy, then you may need to put on slightly more weight. Your doctor will be able to guide you on how much weight you should be gaining- your weight will also be checked in almost every appointment to monitor your weight gain. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you may have – the more you know the better you can implement!
Trimester wise weight gain recommendations
First trimester: At this point your baby is still tiny and you might not need to gain a lot of weight. Most women usually gain about 0.5-2 kg during the first trimester. However some may not gain any weight due to morning sickness.
Second trimester: Your baby starts growing at this point and your weight gain should pick up accordingly. Usually you would have gained around 3-5 kgs at this point.
Third trimester: Around the third trimester, the baby will continue to gain weight up to 3-5 kg but you may find your weight stays somewhat steady and you may even lose one pound or so around the ninth month.
Where does the extra weight go?
Gradual weight gain is important since your baby needs a steady supply of nutrients and calories to grow. The extra weight contributes to the baby’s growth, placenta, uterine enlargement, breast tissue, your blood volume, fluids in your tissue, amniotic fluid and your fat stores.
How many calories should I be eating?
Gaining weight in a healthy way requires you to eat a well-balanced diet. You must have heard that during pregnancy, the mother should eat for two people but that is a myth.
You won’t require extra calories in your first trimester. In your second trimester, you can add 340 calories extra per day and around 450 calories extra per day during your third trimester. Focus more on eating nutrient-rich food.
Your doctor will keep an eye on your weight. You can do your part by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and attending your prenatal appointments. It is useful for you to track your weight so that you know you are gaining weight appropriately. Weigh yourself once a day and try to do it at the same time of the day. It’s also a good idea to wear the same amount of clothes while weighing-in each time.
Shedding weight after pregnancy
There are many healthy ways to lose weight after your pregnancy is over. Breastfeeding is a great way to lose weight. Walking, yoga and mild cardio can also help you lose weight quite comfortably. You also need to make sure that you continue a healthy and nutritious diet. Before you begin your weight loss regime after your baby’s birth, consult your doctor and make sure you are fit to begin working out again.