Weight gain in pregnancy is not the same thing as "getting fat". Gaining weight is a positive and healthy sign that you are giving your baby what it needs to develop. You need not put on any weight in the first trimester, but in order for you to have a healthy baby, it is necessary for you to gain the normal pregnancy weight a total of 25-35 pounds over the course of 9 months. Inadequate weight gain or dieting during pregnancy could have severe ramifications on the health of the baby.
How much weight should one gain during pregnancy
The amount of weight gained differs not only from woman to woman, but also from pregnancy to pregnancy. The welfare of both, the mother and the child is directly related to this. If a mother gains less than 20 pounds, then the baby is likely to be premature, small, and could suffer from growth retardation. There are risks involved in gaining too much weight as well. Excess weight overworks muscles and results in backache, leg pain, varicose veins and fatigue. Assessment and measurement of the foetus becomes more difficult and if the baby is too large, then vaginal delivery becomes close to impossible. Besides, all this excess weight will be hard to shed after delivery.
What is considered optimum weight gain
There are two reasons for the weight gain during pregnancy: to nourish the developing foetus and to store up reserves for breastfeeding. The optimum pregnancy weight gain for the average woman is between 25 and 35 pounds. The average woman's weight gain pattern should be as follows:
First trimester - 3 to 4 pounds
Second trimester - 12 to 14 pounds
Third trimester - 8 to 10 pounds
What is the ideal weight gain for a healthy pregnancy
A woman should gain anywhere between 25-35 pounds on average. In order that you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, you should aim for the following weight:
Weight gain (Pounds)
Weight gain (kgs)
No weight gain
No weight gain
Almost no weight gain
Almost no weight gain
* You have a buffer of gaining 5 pounds either in the first few weeks or in the last few weeks.
How should the ideal weight be achieved
First trimester (0-14 weeks): In early pregnancy, weight should remain constant (It could sometimes even fall due to lack of appetite and morning sickness). Real weight gain should begin only in the 10th week when the circulating blood volume begins to increase. Food intake will also increase as nausea and vomiting decrease by the 14th week. You must desist from eating wrong types of foods. Many doctors also recommend that you take supplements of vitamin B, iron, calcium and folic acid.
Second trimester (14-30 weeks): Between the 20th and 30th weeks, you should be gaining approximately 4.5 kg ( or 1 pound a week). If you gain significantly more than 4.5 kgs in these 10, you could be heading for a condition called pre-eclamsia.
Third trimester (30-40 weeks): Although you are still expected to gain less than 1 pound of weight a week, you may notice a dramatic increase in weight after the 30th week. This increase in weight is due to excessive fluid retention, one of the ills of pregnancy. Limited intake of fluids and salt, and keeping your bed elevated may help mitigate the fluid retention problem.
Weight gain decreases after the 35th week, and stops altogether after the 38th week. Many women even lose weight 7-10 days before labour due to a reduction in hormone levels.
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- The Indiaparenting Team