Here are some thoughts about healthy weight gain during pregnancy from midwife Ali Pickles.
Healthy weight gain is a normal part of pregnancy to ensure your baby is developing correctly. So long as you’re eating a balanced diet, exercising and having some down-time, there is no need to stress.
Don’t Panic! Weight Gain Is Normal!
Within The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Support Group, I have seen some mums-to-be showing concern about the weight they are gaining in pregnancy. This can be totally understandable if this is not your first pregnancy and you have lost weight in between carrying your children, or if this is your first pregnancy and you don’t know what to expect, but my advice is… stop worrying!
This is a time to embrace your pregnancy. Making healthy food choices is a great idea, don’t go and binge on unhealthy foods but rather look for options that will give you and your baby the nutrients you need.
Weight gain in pregnancy is normal and it is healthy. We shouldn’t be counting the kilos during this special time in life as everyone puts on a different amount during pregnancy. It is all dependant on what your body needs.
Some women lose weight in pregnancy due to health issues requiring support to maintain calories, others put on heaps of weight without even putting any ‘bad’ food in their mouth.
Excessive weight gain can cause problems within the pregnancy due to the increase risk for gestational diabetes and associated problems. Gaining too much weight in pregnancy can cause health problems with the baby and has been linked to childhood obesity.
If you have any concerns about your pregnancy weight changes then please see your doctor to assess what is right for you.
Where Does Your Pregnancy Weight Go?
The average baby weighs around 7 pounds 5 ounces or roughly 3300g (3.3 kilos)- at term. So this weight needs to be added into your total weight changes.
- During pregnancy your hormones increase the size of your breasts so there’s another kilo or so.
- As the uterus grows and thickens to sustain the weight of the baby add another kilo.
- The placenta provides all the nutrients to the baby and this can weigh on average 700 grams.
- The amniotic fluid around your baby usually weighs approximately 1 kilo.
- Your body produces more blood to pump around the baby this can be up to 2 kilos.
- The pregnancy also causes you to carry more body fluid (quite a lot for some than others) this can weigh approximately 2 kilos.
- Lastly you need body fat and it is normal to put on up to 4 kilos of this alone.
If you know what your BMI was pre-pregnancy, then according to the National Health and Medical Research Council, you can get an idea of the types of weight gains to be expected during pregnancy:
- Less than 18.5 BMI (underweight), you may gain between 12½kg and 18kg
- 18.5 to 24.9 BMI (normal weight), you may gain between 11½kg and 16kg
- 25 to 29.9 BMI (overweight), you may gain between 7kg and 11½kg
- 30 BMI or more (obese), you may gain between 5kg and 9kg
If you are concerned speak to your doctor or obstetrician to find out exactly how much you should put on, depending on your circumstances.
During the first trimester, women generally don’t increase their weight and a lot of women actually lose weight due to illnesses associated with pregnancy such as Hyperemesis Gravidarum “pregnancy sickness.”
Women who are in a healthy weight range need to increase their weight by a few kilos in the first few months of pregnancy. After the first trimester it is good to maintain a steady increase of weight roughly 1-1.5 kilos a month.
Other Factors That Cause Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Remember there are a number of factors that may contribute to the weight you gain when pregnant and everyone is different, even if they’re following a healthy eating plan and exercising regularly.
Women who are carrying multiples such as twins or triplets, need to gain more weight during their pregnancies as they’re trying to provide enough nutrients for multiple babies.
Fluid retention (oedema) in pregnancy is a factor that can increase the weight you gain. It is common, in fact 65 per cent of women will suffer from it. It’s relatively unavoidable so don’t worry about it too much if you’re eating well and exercising regularly.
Ensure you drink plenty of water and liquids so your kidneys function well to help you to pass the fluid. Make sure you rest at night and elevate those feet. Enjoy your pregnancy and worry about the weight loss when you are holding that healthy baby.
So don’t spend this wonderful time in your life worrying about your healthy pregnancy weight gain, eat well, communicate any issues to your doctor, exercise and relax as needed and you’ll enjoy a healthy pregnancy.
If you have any concerns about the weight you are gaining during pregnancy, you should speak with your doctor.
The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Pack
Did you know the Healthy Mummy has a Pregnancy Pack?
The Pregnancy Smoothie is designed to complement, not replace, your prenatal vitamin intake.
Our nutritionists ensured that the vitamins and minerals in the smoothie are at a low level so there is no risk of doubling up on any pregnancy vitamins.
It is ideal as a high-protein, high-calcium snack in pregnancy. You can download the Pregnancy Smoothie Label here.