Weight Gain in Pregnancy

A substantial amount of weight gain is a normal phenomenon in pregnancy. In fact, it ensures healthy fetal development. Read on to know more..
It is a well established fact that you need to be in good health, if you intend to deliver a healthy baby. Oftentimes, women are asked to put on or lose weight (depending upon their individual condition) if they are having trouble conceiving. A healthy BMI is an essential factor for conception. If you get pregnant, you will invariably gain weight during pregnancy, irrespective of your pre-pregnancy weight. Surprisingly, you need to gain weight in pregnancy even if you are an obese woman. However, there are certain considerations and standards regarding when to put on weight, how much to put on etc.

Normal Weight Gain in Pregnancy

No matter if you are underweight or overweight, you ought to put on a few pounds during pregnancy. Even if you are obese, a healthy weight gain is always recommended. Remember, pregnancy is not the right time to lose weight. Any weight loss programs during pregnancy can prove to be detrimental for your baby. Hence, you should bother about all the weight loss only after you have delivered a healthy baby. Given below is a recommended or normal weight gain during pregnancy for each weight group. Women expecting twins or multiples should expect to gain more.

Underweight Women
Women with a BMI less than 18.5 are termed as underweight. Underweight women are most likely to deliver small, sickly babies. These babies often need hospitalization for weeks after their birth. Hence, it is important for underweight mothers to put on weight during pregnancy. Ideally, you should gain about 5 pounds in the first trimester. After that, you should go on gaining a little over a pound each week, during second and third trimester. The recommended weight gain for underweight women is about 28 to 40 pounds.

Healthy Women
Women with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 can be considered as healthy women. These women are more likely to deliver perfectly healthy babies, provided they attain a healthy weight gain throughout the pregnancy. You should gain about 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Out of this gain in weight, early pregnancy or first trimester should contribute to 5 pounds. The remaining pounds should be gained in second and third trimester at the rate of 1 pound a week. Rapid gain in weight is not recommended.

Overweight Women
Women with a pre-pregnancy BMI of 25 to 29.9 can be termed as overweight women. Pregnancy weight gain for these women should not exceed 15 to 25 pounds. If you are overweight you should not gather more than 4.5 pounds in the first trimester. During second and third trimester you are required to gain a steady weight gain of 0.5 pound per week.

Obese Women
Obese women are considered as candidates for high risk pregnancy. Gestational diabetes, varicose veins etc. are some of the problems these women are likely to face. If your pre-pregnancy BMI was anything above 30, your recommended weight gain should not exceed beyond 20 pounds. The distribution of weight gain in the first trimester is similar to that in case of overweight women. In the second and third trimester you should gain a little under half a pound every week. Excessive gain in weight in pregnancy for obese women could lead to severe health implications for mother as well as baby.

Breakdown of Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Ever wondered where does all that extra weight you put on during pregnancy come from? Nope, it's not just the baby. Your baby contributes to only one third of the pounds gained during pregnancy. Given below is a detailed breakdown of weight gain in pregnant women.

Parameter Weight
Baby 7 - 8 pounds
Placenta 1 - 2 pounds
Amniotic fluid 2 pounds
Uterus 2 pounds
Breast tissue 2 pounds
Increased blood volume 4 pounds
Fluids 4 pounds
Fat and nutrient stores 7 pounds

Healthy weight gain can be attained with proper diet and nutrition. It is unwise to eat inordinately just because you need to feed for two. You should gain pounds gradually throughout the pregnancy. Sudden weight gain during pregnancy should be reported to the doctor immediately.
By Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Published: 9/9/2010
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