How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?

As your belly grows over those 40 weeks of pregnancy, most of the extra weight you gain comes from your growing baby, but it's perfectly normal, and healthy, to put on a few extra kilograms as well. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to pregnancy weight gain, as it will depend on your body type, starting weight, and other factors – like whether you're having a single baby or multiples. Read on for more information about pregnancy weight, and what's healthy for both you and your baby.

What Is Considered Normal Pregnancy Weight Gain?

No two mums-to-be are the same, which is why the recommended weight gain will mostly depend on your pre-pregnancy weight and BMI.

What is the BMI? It's short for body mass index, which is a ratio derived by calculating your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in meters), squared. In most cases it offers an estimate for measuring body fat.

When it comes to weight gain during your pregnancy, the general rule of thumb is that if you have a low BMI, then your recommended weight gain will be more than that for someone with a higher BMI. If you're uncertain about what's right for you, talk to your doctor about the healthy amount of weight to gain throughout your pregnancy.

Gaining Pregnancy Weight Gradually

Resist the temptation to ‘eat for two' – when you're pregnant, it's important to gain the weight gradually. In fact, during the first trimester your body won't need any extra kilos to support the baby. Considering you may also be struggling with morning sickness, gaining weight may actually be quite difficult in the first few months anyway. But, as your pregnancy progresses, you'll need to put weight on steadily and gradually in the second and third trimesters.

This is a rough breakdown of how many extra calories you should take in for healthy pregnancy weight gain by trimester.

  • First trimester: No extra calories needed.

  • Second trimester: Around 340 extra calories per day.

  • Third trimester: Around 450 extra calories per day.

These extra calories are based on the recommended baseline intake of 2000 calories a day. Remember, these guidelines may vary depending on your BMI and other factors, like if you're expecting twins or multiples.

There is no need to force yourself to exceed your caloric intake if you're not hungry. Instead, listen to your body. Follow a healthy pregnancy nutrition plan, and discuss your calorie needs with your doctor if you're still unsure.

Do not diet while you're pregnant, but also, be mindful of the foods you consume. Make sure you have lots of nutritious, healthy food – you definitely don't need to indulge in double portions of chocolate and ice cream to nourish your growing baby.

If you're over- or underweight, your doctor can give you some nutrition advice so both you and your baby stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.

Where Does the Weight Gain in Pregnancy Come From?

Not all pregnancy weight gain is fat. The average baby will weigh around 3.5 kilograms when she's born, which is a significant portion of the average weight gain during pregnancy. Some other factors that may contribute to your pregnancy weight include:

  • Larger uterus (about 0.9 kilograms)

  • Placenta (about 0.7 kilograms)

  • Amniotic fluid (about 0.9 kilograms)

  • Larger breasts (about 0.5 to 1.4 kilograms)

  • Increased blood volume (about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms)

  • Increased fluid volume (about 0.9 to 1.4 kilograms)

  • Extra fat stores (about 2.7 to 3.6 kilograms).

You will lose most of the pregnancy weight when your baby is born, but you will need those extra fat stores to fuel breast milk production.

The most important thing during your pregnancy is your health and that of your baby. No matter your starting weight, the best thing you can do is make sure you're getting the nourishment you and your baby need. Each mum is different, so listen to your body, and don't be afraid to ask for help from your doctor about what pregnancy weight gain is best for you.

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