Weight gain: Staying within range
There are many things you can do to prepare for the delivery of a healthy baby. One of the most important things is eating right to gain the extra weight you’ll need to support another life.
Slow and steady
During your first office visit, your doctor probably will tell you how much weight to gain during the nine months of your pregnancy. It’s recommended that most healthy women gain 25 to 35 pounds, but this can vary and really depends on whether you’re overweight or underweight. (
BMI Calculator from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
Try for a slow and steady weight gain, but remember that all women gain at different rates. It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendation because gaining either too little or too much can lead to difficulties. It’s also important to remember that it’s the quality of the foods you eat rather than the quantity that matters.
|TRIMESTER||WEIGHT GAIN ESTIMATE|
|First||1 to 1 ½ pounds each month|
|Second||½ to ¾ of a pound a week|
|Third||1 pound a week|
Healthy weight: Good for you and baby
Reasons to gain weight the right way:
Just right. When you gain weight appropriately, the odds are in favor of delivering a healthy baby. Your health care provider will estimate the right amount of weight for you to gain based on your health and pre-pregnancy weight.
Too little. Your growing baby needs nourishment, and you must eat enough for both of you. If you don’t gain enough weight, your baby is at risk of having a low birth weight. Low-birth-weight babies have a harder time thriving and are more vulnerable to health problems. So be sure to follow your doctor’s weight-gain guidelines.
Too much. Some women gain too much weight, even though they eat wisely. But others have been known to use pregnancy as an excuse to break all their healthful eating rules. That’s not a good idea. By gaining too much weight:
- You put extra stress on your heart, which is already working overtime to pump your increased blood volume.
- You add stress to your joints, which pregnancy hormones have loosened and made lax.
- You’ll be more likely to develop backaches.
- You’ll make it extra hard to lose the weight after the baby arrives, and that extra weight can cause other serious health problems.
Chart your weight gain, month by month
Chart your weight gain during pregnancy. Each month you can compare your own weight gain against the recommended increase already marked on the graph.
What accounts for your weight gain during pregnancy? Your total weight gain is divided between the baby (including placenta and amniotic fluid) and your body (expanded blood volume, uterus growth, and enlarged breasts). Normally there’s also a little maternal fat storage, which is essential for a healthy baby.
Here is an approximate breakdown of your weight gain:
Baby = 7–8 pounds
Placenta = 1–2 pounds
Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds
Uterus = 2 pounds
Maternal breast tissue = 2 pounds
Maternal blood = 4 pounds
Fluids in maternal tissue = 4 pounds
Maternal fat and nutrient stores = 7 pounds