Gaining a few extra pounds during pregnancy is entirely natural, even for those weight-conscious women. A whole new human is residing in your womb for 9 long months. It seems inevitable that your body will try to make a comfortable yet temporary home for your baby to stay in for 39 weeks. So whether you try to diet while you’re pregnant or maintain the same routine diet, your body will get bigger to support the new life growing inside you.
Generally, an ideal weight during pregnancy is around 8-15 kgs. It is expected, required, and most undoubtedly normal. In this article, we will explain how much weight you should gain during pregnancy, why healthy weight gain is essential, where all the extra weight goes, and the benefits of a healthy weight to you and your infant.
Why should I gain weight during pregnancy?
A simple answer to this question is that a baby will grow and reside in your womb for 9 months. Your fetus will require all the nutrition and body cushioning to keep itself safe for a long duration inside your womb. Therefore, a healthy amount of weight gain is a must to nourish and support your child.
Having little or no gain in weight may even result in the child’s weight being smaller than average (Small for Gestational Age). Conversely, gaining too much weight during pregnancy may result in a larger-sized baby (fetal macrosomia). This may lead to complications post-delivery that may need medical attention. However, these are rare cases, and the Ob-Gyn consultant will always ensure the mother achieves a healthy weight while considering pregnancy.
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According to doctors, how much weight should you gain during pregnancy?
Every woman is different, and so is how she will put on weight. While some ladies put on weight quickly, others might struggle to see some change in their weight. However, specific guidelines by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist states the ideal weight to be gained by women of different weight categories is:
- Underweight (BMI <18.5) women must put on between 13-18 kg.
- Women with an average weight (BMI 18.5- 24.9) may increase their weight between 10-16kgs.
- Overweight (BMI 25- 29.9) women are recommended to add 7-10 kgs to their weight.
- Women affected by obesity (BMI >30) are recommended an increase of 5-8 kgs in weight.
However, if the woman is expecting twins, the expecting mother may need to add an extra 8-10 kgs to the above-recommended weight gain guidelines.
Also Read: Body Mass Index (BMI)
Where does the newly gained weight get deposited?
For women worried about how to shed the weight they gain during pregnancy, ladies relax! The weight gain during pregnancy is not fat deposition that needs to be burnt. It is the increase in the embedding of the tissue layers, the increase in fluid content, and the expansion of the uterus. An approximate breakdown of the weight gained during pregnancy is as follows:
- Baby Weight – Roughly 3.5 -4 kg
- Placenta- 1- 1.5 kg
- Amniotic fluid- 1- 1.5 kg
- Breast tissue- to support breastfeeding, 1- 1.5 kg
- Blood volume- promoted by increased intake of water, 2.5 kg
- Stored fat for breastfeeding – 2.5 kg
- Stored fat for delivery – 2.5 kg
- Larger uterus- 2.5-3 kg
- Total weight = approx. 20kg
Therefore, post-delivery of your child, the mother will continue to have fat and tissue deposition in her breasts that only promotes the healthy habit of breastfeeding the newborn. Gradually over a few months, all the excess tissue and fluid will be excreted from the mother’s body.
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How to gain a healthy weight during pregnancy?
There are a lot of ways you can gain weight during pregnancy. Some of these are,
- Caloric needs– The first step to knowing your healthy weight is knowing where you stand on the BMI scale and how much weight benefits you during the 9 months. Knowing this can help you regulate your meals your activity, and even if you need to watch out for any complications.
- Eat a balanced diet– Women must consume foods rich in nutrition. A few foods that are healthy for pregnant women are:
- Green leafy vegetables are rich in iron needed for healthy hemoglobin levels.
- Just a handful of dry fruits can provide protein, vitamins, and minerals RDA.
- Fruits like pomegranate, berries, and citrus fruits contain vitamin C, antioxidants, and micronutrients. However, avoid papayas, pineapples, and fruits that may induce contractions.
- Limit the intake of sugars (soft drinks, ice creams) and fatty foods.
3. Move your body – Being pregnant is not a disease; you can move around and take a brisk walk. This is recommended for women to regulate healthy blood flow. This also prevents any swelling and fluid retention in the ankles.
4. Stay hydrated – drink the required amount of water and a little more. Water intake is crucial in the phase of pregnancy.
How much water should you normally drink during pregnancy?
Consuming water also adds to the increasing weight of a pregnant female. For a woman with average weight, ideally, one must consume 3-5 liters of water. But during pregnancy, women must drink more liters of water, around 8- 10 cups extra from the standard amount required daily. This extra intake of water benefits both the mother and the child. Water aids in:
- smooth digestion
- Supports healthy bowel movements
- forms the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus during pregnancy
- Circulates the vitamin and mineral supplements taken by pregnant women
- Improves blood circulation
What happens if I put on too much weight?
Certain complications may arise in women who do not keep a healthy check on their weight. Eating nutrition-rich foods is critical, and avoiding high calories is essential. Gaining excessive weight during pregnancy may lead to the following complications:
- Increase in blood pressure
- Preterm birth
- The onset of gestational diabetes
- Larger than the standard size of the fetus
- Congenital disabilities
- Increased risk of cesarean or C-section birth
Therefore, pregnant women must be extra careful about the foods and drinks they consume, as the mother is responsible for the health of two lives.
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Gaining weight is vital during pregnancy, and one should track the weight one gains during this period. Pregnant women can healthily increase their weight by eating foods high in nutritional value but low in calories. However, some individuals may not show visible signs of weight gain during their term of pregnancy. This may not cause worry, but you may speak to your doctor if you need medical reassurance.
An exciting perk of gaining weight is that it makes you glow in your skin, so women do not worry about the extra pounds they gain during pregnancy. It will only make you look better and brighter. Remember, it’ll keep you healthy and safe while carrying your child.
Also Read: Pregnancy Do’s & Dont’s
Why should women gain weight during pregnancy?
Women must gain weight that will accommodate the growing infant. Additional tissue layers in the breast, amniotic fluid, and the growing baby's weight collectively add to the mother's weight. A woman who does not gain weight during pregnancy usually has consequences, with the child being born premature and before term.
How can I increase my weight during pregnancy?
Pregnant women who had a healthy weight before getting pregnant may increase their weight by eating foods rich in healthy fat, high in proteins, and rich in fiber. Women must not be concerned about the increase in their weight; they just wholly embrace being healthy for the sake of their children.
How much weight should women gain during pregnancy?
An ideal weight gain in a pregnant woman can range anywhere between 8-12kgs. Women must not worry about the weight they gain during this period since it is due to the extra body fluids that make a safe environment for the growing infant.
If you face any issues in your pregnancy period then consult with our Best gynecologist in Mumbai of Jaslok Hospital Mumbai.