Every pregnant woman wonders how much weight she could gain during pregnancy. For some women, being pregnant is an open invitation to eat whatever and whenever they like, while other woman worry what the weight gain will do to their figure. There is no absolute law about weight gain during pregnancy, but there are set of guidelines that can help you.
Weight gain should be based on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI.) Your health and your baby’s health also play a role in how much weight you should gain.
Here’s a list of suggested pregnancy weigh gain related to a healthy woman’s BMI.
- Underweight (BMI less than 18.5) – 28 to 40 pounds
- Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) – 25 to 35 pounds
- Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) – 15 to 25 pounds
- Obese (BMI 30 or more) – 11 to 20 pounds
Multiples are a different story. If you are carrying twins or other multiples you’re likely going to need to gain more than average weight. Your health care provider can help you determine what is right for you. Here are the recommended weight gain options.
- Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) – 37 to 54 pounds
- Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) – 31 to 50 pounds
- Obese (BMI 30 or more) – 25 to 42 pounds
If you are overweight when you become pregnant, pregnancy increases the risk of various complications including diabetes and high blood pressure. Of course, a certain amount of weight gain is normal, but too much adds to the possibility of dangerous health risks for the woman and the child.
Remember that if you gain more than the recommended amount during pregnancy and you don't lose the weight after the baby is born, the excess pounds increase your lifelong health risks. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can also increase your baby's risk of health problems at birth and childhood obesity.
If you're underweight, it's essential to gain a reasonable amount of weight while you're pregnant. Without the extra weight, your baby might be born earlier or smaller than expected.
Calculating your BMI is not difficult; you just need to know your height and weight. There are several online BMI calculators that will do the math for you. Your healthcare provider should also have a BMI chart that can show you your BMI.
So, how is the extra weight used by your body when your pregnant? Here’s a simple list to help you follow a normal weight gain.
- Baby: 7 to 8 pounds
- Larger breasts: 2 pounds
- Larger uterus: 2 pounds
- Placenta: 1 1/2 pounds
- Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
- Increased blood volume: 3 to 4 pounds
- Increased fluid volume: 3 to 4 pounds
- Fat stores: 6 to 8 pounds
During your first trimester, you probably won’t gain much weight. Steady weight gain is more important in the second and third trimesters, especially if you begin at a normal weight or are underweight.
Exercise is also important during pregnancy. Even a moderate amount of exercise will help keep your body strong as the extra pressure builds while you are carrying.
As your pregnancy develops, more than likely you’re appetite will increase. That’s not a bad thing. Just fill those hunger pains with healthy food choices!