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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Healthy Weight Gain during Pregnancy

The first thing that should be said: it is critical to gain weight during pregnancy. The weight that you gain while pregnant is essential to your unborn child’s health and well being. However, it is important that you understand the boundaries of healthy weight gain during pregnancy, as too much weight gain is not healthy either.

While you are pregnant, you are the only source of nutrition for that baby growing in your belly. It is also very important if you are planning on breastfeeding as your extra weight is stored and used for breastfeeding after the baby is born.

Have you ever wondered where the extra weight is distributed during pregnancy? Let’s take a closer look:

 The average baby weighs 7 to 8 pounds
 Placenta weighs 1 to 2 pounds
 Uterus gains 2 pounds
 Amniotic fluid weighs 2 pounds
 Maternal breast tissue weighs 2 pounds
 Maternal blood weighs 4 pounds
 Fluids in the maternal tissue weighs 4 pounds
 Maternal fat and nutrient stores weigh 7 pounds

So what your body NEEDS in weight gain comes to an approximate 29 to 31 pounds. Taking that into consideration, let’s now look at how much you should gain during a healthy pregnancy:

 If you were healthy before pregnancy and within a normal weight range for your height and body type, you should typically gain 25 to 35 pounds
 If you were underweight for your height and body type before pregnancy, you need to gain 28 to 40 pounds.
 If you were overweight for your height and body type before pregnancy, you should gain 15 to 25 pounds.

Of course, these factors are different for every pregnant woman but are general guidelines of what average women, with varying body types and levels of pre-pregnancy health should gain. Of course, if you are having a larger baby, or multiple births, your circumstances would be different.

Part of healthy weight gain during pregnancy also involves putting the weight on at a healthy rate, in each trimester of pregnancy. Ideally, you want to strive for the following goals:

 3 to 5 pounds in the 1st trimester
 1 to 2 pounds each week in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters
 1 to 2 pounds each week in the 3rd trimester

 5 to 6 pounds (or more in some cases) in the 1st trimester
 1 to 2 pounds each week, during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters

 1 to 2 pounds in the 1st trimester
 1 pound per week in the 2nd and 3rd trimester

It should also be noted that some women experience difficulty gaining weight in the first trimester, primarily due to morning sickness and related issues. Luckily, this is the time when your baby needs fewer calories and nutrients so don’t let it worry you overly. Just be certain that even during these times, you are providing your body, and your growing baby, with the essential nutrients and vitamins.

Healthy weight gain during pregnancy should be done at a slow and steady pace, over the entire 9 months of the pregnancy. In most cases, healthy pregnancy is simply a matter of eating properly, staying active and keeping a positive frame of mind about the weight gain. Know that your body needs all that you can give it, from a healthy perspective, to nourish your baby and assist in proper prenatal growth and development.

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