Pregnancy Weight Gain : What You Need To Know

Women have varying experiences and have received contradictory advice from different sources when they were pregnant. There really is no one way to go about certain things that revolve around the journey of growing and birthing a child.

Weight gain is one of many such topics. Gaining weight during a pregnancy is normal and mostly inevitable. A woman’s body begins producing and storing the necessities to nourish the life is forming and developing inside her. As the pregnancy progresses, so does the weight gain. Nearing the due date, 30% of extra of her body weight is the baby, the placenta, and the amniotic fluid.

What Else Contributes To Weight Gain?

Extra weight is actually distributed across the body (although it feels like it’s just your belly). The average breakdown of pregnancy weight contributors are:

Full term baby- 3.3kg
Placenta- 0.7kg
Amniotic fluid- 0.8kg
Uterus- 0.9kg
50% increase in blood volume- 1.2kg
Growing breasts- 0.5kg
Excess fluids being stored- 1.2kg
Fat reserves- 4kg
If you do the math, around 60% of extra weight is a result of the body responding to being pregnant and preparing to nourish the baby after birth. The weight gain isn’t uncontrollable but it’s unavoidable.

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Are Regular Weight Checks Important:

As a part of standard care (in some countries), pregnant women are weighed at each antenatal check up. The routine weighing is to performed to ensure that women are staying within the optimal weight range. However, there are differing opinions about what the optimal weight gain in pregnancy actually is.

Since all women are just as unique as their pregnancies, what a mother-to-be gains during pregnancy can depend a lot on her height, health, and genetics. Excess weight gain or too little weight gain can have negative effects on the growth and development of a baby, as well as potentially complicating labor and birth. Most healthcare providers work out body mass index (BMI) by weighing the woman during the first antenatal appointment. BMI is a measurement that assess weight in relation to height, and is used as an indicator of how much weight gain is recommended during each pregnancy specifically.

Most countries use guidelines for recommended weight gain in pregnancy, based on BMI. They are as follows:

Underweight- BMI less than 18.5 (weight gain- 13-18kg)
Normal weight- BMI 18.5-24.9 (weight gain 11.5-16kg)
Overweight- BMI 25-29.9 (weight gain 7-11.5kg)
Obese- BMI 30 or more (weight gain 5-9kg)
Weight gain doesn’t always provide reliable information about nutrition or health. What an individual weighs, at any stage in life, is dependant on many factors. Major stakeholders in a person’s internal and physical characteristics include genetics, age, diet, lifestyle, and metabolism.

Pregnancy may or may not make dramatic changes in a woman’s appearance (it’s possible to not have any obvious signs). Usually, the alterations peak closer to the due date and reduce within a year postpartum. How much weight you lose after birth also depends on what your BMI was pre-pregnancy. A mother’s main focus during this period shouldn’t be quantity, but quality that her and her baby can benefit from.

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