Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Eating healthy foods and a balanced diet is how your baby is getting all the required nutrients he or she needs. This also helps you maintain a healthy weight gain during pregnancy.

You might have been told it is necessary to eat for two and you do need extra calories to have the normal weight gain needed during each trimester.

You may have to consume 100 – 300 more calories per day than your pre-pregnancy diet to meet the needs of your growing baby. If you have any doubts regarding a healthy weight gain during your pregnancy, then seek the help of your health care provider. Here is some information regarding body types and healthy weight gain during pregnancy:

  • A woman of average weight must gain 25 to 30 pounds during pregnancy.
  • Women who are underweight must gain 28 – 40 pounds during pregnancy.
  • Women who are overweight may only have to gain 15 to 25 pounds during the entire phase of pregnancy.

As an expectant mother, your health care provider may recommend a specific weight gain goal at your pregnancy check-ups. Generally, a woman should gain two to four pounds in the first trimester, then 1 pound per week in the last two trimesters. You will need to gain 35 – 45 pounds if you are expecting twins. This is an average of 1 ½ pounds per week, another sign of healthy weight gain during pregnancy.

Where Does the Extra Weight Go During Pregnancy?

Here is how the extra weight is distributed:

  • Uterus size increases– 2 to 5 pounds
  • Fat storage for breastfeeding and delivery – 5 to 9 pounds
  • Blood supply – 4 pounds
  • Breast tissue – 2 to 3 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid – 2 to 3 pounds
  • Placenta – 2 to 3 pounds
  • Baby – 8 pounds (average)
  • Total – 25 – 35 pounds

Is it Safe to Lose Weight During Pregnancy?

If a woman is overweight, then it is safe to lose some weight during pregnancy. However, weight loss must be done under the strict supervision of a health care provider. If it is not needed, then you must try not to lose weight.

How to Gain the Right Amount of Weight During Pregnancy?

Here are some suggestions if your health care provider recommends gaining more weight during pregnancy:

  • Eat five to six frequent and small meals every day.
  • Keep simple and quick snacks on hand like raisins, nuts, crackers, dried fruit, cheese, ice cream and yogurt.
  • You can even spread peanut butter on apples, celery, crackers, toast or bananas. One teaspoon of creamy peanut butter provides around 100 calories and 7 grams of protein.
  • Add condiments to meals like margarine or butter, sour cream, gravy and cream cheese.
  • You can also add non-fat powdered milk to foods like scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes and hot cereals.

What If you Gain Too Much Weight During Pregnancy?

  • If you gain more weight than recommended during your pregnancy, talk to your health care provider. This is only when you gain significant amounts of weight in your first trimester. In most of the cases, it is not to intentionally lose weight during pregnancy. Remember, you must eat different foods to get all required nutrients for you and the growing baby. Here are some simple tips to reduce unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy, recommended by the American Pregnancy Association: When you are planning to eat at a fast food restaurant, choose foods that have less fat like a grilled chicken sandwich, chicken with lettuce and tomato or other fresh vegetables without mayonnaise or sauce, a side salad with low fat dressing, a plain baked potato or plain bagels. Avoid eating fried foods like mozzarella sticks, French fries and breaded and fried chicken patties.
  • Avoid using whole milk products but remember to take four servings of milk products in a day. Using skimmed milk will reduce intake of calories and fats. Choose fat free cheese or low fat yogurt or cheese.
  • Limit or reduce sugary or sweet drinks. Sweetened drinks like fruit drinks, fruit punch, lemonade, iced tea or powdered mix drinks provide lots of calories with very few nutrients. Choose mineral water, club soda or normal water to avoid those extra calories that lead to excessive weight gain.
  • Limit or stop the use of salt in foods–salt causes retention of water in the body.
  • Limit high calorie snacks like candy, syrup, potato chips, cookies, donuts and cake as these increase caloric intake with little or no nutrition. Try not to eat these foods every day.
  • You can choose low-fat yogurts, angel food cake with strawberries, fresh fruits or pretzels as low calorie desserts or snacks.
  • Fats must be eaten in moderation and one thing you can do is exclude regular margarine, oils, gravy, butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, regular salad dressing, and cream cheese. Try low fat substitutes for these foods.
  • Prepare meals using low-fat cooking techniques like baking, boiling, broiling or grilling. They are a much better option compared to foods fried in butter, lard or oil which increase fat content and calories.
  • Exercise plays a major role in maintaining a healthy weight. Walking and swimming are considered safe and are the most effective exercises for a pregnant woman, but if you were physically active before pregnancy, other exercises may be okay. Talk to your health care provider before pursuing any exercise program while pregnant.

These are some simple and effective tips you can follow to have a healthy weight gain during your pregnancy.

Eat healthy and talk to your doctor to avoid excessive weight gain without being underweight. These tips can help you to have a healthy and a happy pregnancy.

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