One thing that almost every expectant mother thinks about at some point before or throughout their pregnancy is their weight.
Common questions include: how much weight should I gain during pregnancy? How will my post-baby body look? Can my pregnancy weight be easily lost?
All of these questions are perfectly fair to ask, but it should be made clear that every pregnant woman gains weight differently and the amount of weight gained is dependent on several factors. So, if you find yourself asking ‘how much weight should I gain during pregnancy?’ There’s a number of things you need to know to have a clear idea of what to expect.
As all pregnant women have different bodies, there are no clear guidelines or measurements on how much weight you should gain. The main thing all pregnant women should aim for is to keep a healthy and safe weight for themselves and their baby.
What Causes Pregnancy Weight Gain?
Only some of the weight gained during pregnancy is due to an increase in body fat, with a number of other things contributing to overall weight gain. These include the weight of:
- Increased levels of blood
How Much Weight Will I Put on During Pregnancy?
Commonly, women will gain between 10-12.5kg (22-26lbs) during their pregnancy. This number, however, is dependent on how much a woman weighs before they get pregnant.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, these are the weights that women with a specific BMI (Body Mass Index) can expect to normally gain:
- Underweight with a BMI < 18.5 – recommended to gain between 13-18kg (28-49 lbs)
- Normal weight with a BMI 18.5-24.9 – recommended to gain between 11-16kg (25-35lbs)
- Overweight with a BMI 25-29.9 – recommended to gain between 7-11kg (15-25 lbs)
- Obese with a BMI 30 > - recommended to gain 5-9kg (11-20 lbs)
As these are only recommendations, do not get overly concerned. Your doctor and midwife will be able to provide information and assurance about what is right for you.
If you are within the underweight or overweight BMI category, it is essential that you seek extra support and care during your pregnancy.
Managing Weight Gain During Pregnancy
If you are a woman that has always had an active lifestyle, there are no problems with continuing throughout your pregnancy.
However, if you are not an active person, taking part in gentle exercise for 15 minutes a day, three times a week and gradually slowly building to 30 minutes, will be sufficient to manage your weight.
It’s important to remember that your goals aren’t to get as fit as possible, you are merely trying to stay physically active, so you do not have to worry about partaking in particularly strenuous activities that are suited to weight loss.
For many, physical exercise may seem unappealing. If this is the case for you, there are still plenty of things that you can do to keep your weight down. For example, avoid sitting down for prolonged periods of time. Attempt to walk and stand as much as possible – take the stairs rather than an elevator or get off at an earlier bus stop. Obviously, these are only suggestions. Ultimately, you know your body and your limits better than anyone else.
Your diet will also have an impact on the amount of weight that you gain. Therefore, it is important to try to eat well and healthy and not always think that ‘you’re eating for two’. The key is to make small gradual changes to improve your activity levels and diet – again, do not hesitate to ask your doctor or midwife for help and advice.
Weight Complications During Pregnancy
If you are either underweight or overweight during your pregnancy, you run the risk of experience a number of complications that can affect the health of both yourself and your baby. According to the NHS, gaining too much weight can result in your blood pressure increasing, as well as the following:
- Gestational diabetes – This is caused by increased levels of glucose in the blood, which increases the chances of having a large baby.
- Pre-eclampsia – This is caused by increased blood pressure, in most cases, this is mild and results in no trouble but it can have the potential to be serious.
We hope this blog has answered your questions regarding weight gain during pregnancy!
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