Nutrition during pregnancy. What you need to know.
When it comes to your weight gain during pregnancy it is caused by extending the uterus and increasing the blood volume.
What is the ideal weight for you during pregnancy? Here is a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated from our height and weight to give us a general measure of our body fat. You can use a BMI calculator, or calculate it yourself by dividing your weight (in pounds) by your height (in inches) squared and multiplying by 703.
If you are pregnant with one baby:
BMI pre- pregnancy Weight gain during pregnancyunderweight <18,5 28 to 40 poundshealthy weight 18,5 – 24,9 25 to 35 poundsoverweight 25-29,9 15 to 25 poundsobese > 30 11 to 20 pounds
In general, most women carrying one baby should gain between 25 and 35 pounds (lbs) during pregnancy. It’s typical for women to gain 2 to 4 lbs during the first trimester, and then 1 lb a week during the remainder of the pregnancy. Only a little weight is gained during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is recommended that women gain between 1 – 3 lb. There are women who don’t gain weight during this period and there are also a few who lose weight due to vomiting and nausea.
Weight gain of between 7 – 8 lb is recommended during the second trimester.
The third trimester is when there is the most weight gain due to the fact that the fetus starts increasing in weight as well. Weight gain of between 11 – 12 lb is recommended. This is equivalent to around 400 grams a week.
Too much weight gain during pregnancy
If you gain too much weight during pregnancy, it increases the risk of hypertensive disorders, which increases the risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Additionally, it increases the chances of having a large-for-gestational-age infant, which can increase the need for caesarian delivery or more complex labor procedures. Large-for-gestational-age infants are also at higher risk for shoulder dystocia, or when the baby’s shoulder cannot pass through the birth canal and can damage the shoulder and arm nerves, further complicating the delivery.
What’s more, with excess weight gain during pregnancy it may be more challenging to “lose the baby weight”, which in turn increases your risk of future health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
In the long-term, this increases the chances of women being overweight or obese several years after giving birth, as well as childhood obesity of their infants.
Too little weight gain during pregnancy
If you gain too little during pregnancy, it increases the risk of having a low birth weight (born weighing <5 lbs, 8 oz) or a premature baby (born before 37 weeks). Premature babies tend to have more health problems, requiring longer hospital stays, and may also have lifelong health implications.
Such children may have health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension in later life.
If you’re at a healthy weight before pregnancy and gain ~25-35 lbs during pregnancy, here’s roughly where the weight gets distributed:
Baby = 7-8 lbs
Amniotic fluid = 2-3 lbs
Blood = 4 lbs
Body fluids = 4 lbs
Breast Tissue = 2-3 lbs
Fat storage, protein and other nutrients = 5-9 lbs
Placenta = 2-3 lbs
Uterus = 2-5 lbs