Pregnancy Weight Gain Recommendations & Guidelinesby Katlyn Joy
Pregnant women often feel liberated by the idea that this is the one time in life when they can eat, really eat, for a purpose. However, almost half of all expectant mothers gain more than the recommended amount of weight. How much is too much? And does it really matter what you eat as long as you gain the right amount of weight for the pregnancy?
Actually, yes it matters how you put the weight on, and knowing what to gain is based on knowing if your weight is considered in the average, underweight, overweight or obese categories, as categorized by your body mass index. (BMI)
Those who gain more than the recommended amount of weight in pregnancy face more risks such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, increased risk of miscarriage, and having cesarean deliveries.
For an average sized woman, the amount of weight she should try to gain during her pregnancy is in the 25-35 pound range. Expect to put on about 4-6 pounds in the first trimester, and about a pound a week in the last two trimesters.
However, if you gain less than that in the first several weeks of pregnancy, particularly due to nausea and or vomiting, don't be surprised if you make it up in the second trimester and certainly don't be concerned. It's only a problem if it continues to be a pattern.
For a woman carrying twins, the weight gain recommended increases to about 35-45 pounds, with an average of 1 1/2 pounds a week in the last two trimesters.
Underweight women should try to gain about 28-40 pounds, with just over a pound average being added weekly in trimesters two and three. They can add healthy calories by trying to eat more frequently, have plenty of nutritious snacks on hand, like raisins, nuts, dried fruit, yogurt and ice cream. They can add peanut butter to snacks and recipes, and slip in nonfat powdered milk to lots of foods without altering the taste much.
For those who are overweight, some slightly altered recommendations seem in order following a study out in 2007 by the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. The study was published in the October 2007 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology and focused particularly on obese pregnant women. According to this study, certain women who are obese not only do not need to gain weight, but might also benefit from losing weight while pregnant without fear of harming their babies.
Typically, the recommendations for an overweight woman was to gain a more modest 15-25 pounds. But the study zeros in on the BMI, or Body Mass Index, of pregnant women and adjusts the weight gain accordingly.
- Those with a BMI of 30-34.9 should gain 10-25 pounds.
- Those with a BMI of 35-39.9 should gain less than 9 pounds.
- Those with a BMI over 40 should lose up to 9 pounds.
Those who are overweight and need to watch where they get their calories should limit sweets, fatty foods, and avoid whole milk products and salt. They should also make sure that they use healthy cooking methods, and avoid adding fat by preparation techniques. Avoid saturated fats when cooking especially.
In general, pregnant women of average weight should add about 300 extra calories to their diet. They should try for a steady and slow weight gain, but not be surprised by little peaks on occasion, or growth spurts.
Where does all that weight go anyhow?
|Amniotic fluid||2 pounds|
|Maternal breast tissue||2 pounds|
|Maternal blood||4 pounds|
|Fluids in maternal tissue||4 pounds|
|Maternal fat and nutrient stores||7 pounds|
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