Many women obsess about their physique and weight but even more so during pregnancy. This is not surprising because being overweight tends to be negatively looked upon by society at large.
You too might be worried about weight gain if you are expecting a child. If so, read further to get information on how much weight you should gain during pregnancy.
When you are pregnant, your previous body weight will determine the amount that you should gain. It is generally recommended that a woman become pregnant at a healthy weight.
Gaining too little weight during pregnancy will make it difficult for your baby to develop properly while gaining too much can lead to longer labor and difficult delivery.
On average, a pregnant woman only needs around 300 healthy calories extra daily to put on the right amount of body weight. If you need help with this, you should consult your doctor to know the amount of weight to gain during pregnancy.
Your doctor can use your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) to determine the right amount of weight that you need to gain. This is how it usually works:
For a pregnancy with one baby, you will want to gain around twenty-five to thirty-five pounds if you had a healthy weight during conception. If you had been underweight prior to getting pregnant, you will want to gain around twenty-eight to forty pounds.
If you were overweight, you will want to gain about fifteen to twenty-five pounds. Now if you were obese during conception, you will want to gain around eleven to twenty pounds.
For women who were obese at the time of conception, the best thing would be for you to gain one to four and a half pounds during the first trimester of pregnancy and then a little less than half a pound each week during the second and third trimesters.
If you are pregnant with twins, you will want to gain around thirty-seven to fifty-four pounds if you had a healthy body weight before.
If you were overweight prior to getting pregnant, you will want to gain about thirty-one to fifty pounds. And if you were obese at the time of conception, you will want to gain around twenty-five to forty-two pounds.
Here are some tips that you can follow if your healthcare provider recommends that you should gain some more weight during pregnancy:
- Consume smaller meals daily, about 5 to 6.
- Add extras, such as cream cheese, margarine or butter, cheese, and sour cream, to your meals.
- Eat your toast, celery, bananas, apples, or crackers with peanut butter. A tablespoon of creamy peanut butter provides about 7 grams of protein and 100 calories.
- Keep easy and quick snacks, such as raisins, nuts, dried fruit, yogurt, ice cream, or cheese and crackers, on hand.
- Use non-fat powdered milk in hot cereal, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes.
What can you do if you put on too much weight?
These tips can help you slow down if you gain more weight than what your doctor recommends:
- Prepare your meals the healthy way. The healthier methods for preparing or cooking foods include boiling, grilling, broiling, and baking. You should avoid frying foods in butter or oil as this will only add fat and calories.
- Remove whole milk products from your diet. You will need about four servings of milk products daily, but the skim milk of 1% or 2% will significantly reduce the number of fat and calories that you consume. You should also consume fat-free or low-fat yogurt or cheese.
- If you are eating fast food items, you should opt for food low in fat such as a plain baked potato, a sandwich with broiled chicken breast, lettuce, and tomato without mayonnaise or sauce, plain bagels, or a side salad dish with low-fat dressing. You should stay away from greasy foods such as breaded chicken patties, mozzarella sticks, or French fries.
- Limit sugary or sweet drinks. This includes soft drinks, iced tea, fruit punch, lemonade, fruit drinks, or powder drink mixes. Drink water, mineral water, or club soda to avoid extra calories.
- Avoid or limit your intake of sweets and snacks with lots of calories. Potato chips, syrup, honey, cakes, donuts, cookies, and candies are not nutritious, and they have lots of calories. Instead of eating these items every day, you could have fresh fruits, angel food cake with strawberries, low-fat yogurt, and other lower-calorie choices for dessert and snacks.
- Do not cook food with salt.
- Use fats, such as margarine, cooking oils, sauces, gravy, butter, mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream, lard, and regular salad dressings, with moderation.
- Do moderate exercises to burn off excess calories. Swimming and walking are two forms of exercise that are usually safe to do during pregnancy.
Hopefully, this information has helped answer how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. Remember, it is always best to gain weight gradually, but do not worry too much if any weeks pass and you gained a little less or a little more than you should have.
Lastly, do not attempt to lose weight when you are pregnant!
- Pregnancy Weight Gain [Link]
- Setting the Stage for Revising Pregnancy Weight Guidelines: Conceptual Framework [Link]
- Approaches to Achieving Recommended Gestational Weight Gain [Link]