weight gain during pregnancy

Weight gain during pregnancy: normal, causes of underweight and excess body weight

The weight of the newborn child fits into a rather narrow framework, but the weight gain of the expectant mother is an individual indicator and depends on many factors. Often, a woman after childbirth discovers that she has gained excess weight, and occasionally, on the contrary, it turns out that the weight after pregnancy has decreased markedly. What determines body weight during pregnancy, what are the norms of weight gain and what to do if weight grows too fast or too slowly?

Pregnancy is a new stage in a woman’s life, and, of course, eating behavior during this period varies greatly: some begin to eat without refusing anything, and after giving birth they find that they have gained extra pounds. Others, on the contrary, experience severe toxicosis in the first trimester, eat moderately and selectively, and after giving birth they realize that they have lost a lot of weight. In any case, the expectant mother needs to receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals so that both she and the baby remain healthy.

How weight changes during pregnancy: the rate of weight gain of the mother and child by week

Weight gain during pregnancy is due not only to fetal growth. Its weight is only 25-30% of the total weight gain. About the same amount of fat is deposited, which is necessary to maintain the mother’s body during gestation and feeding. 10% is the weight of the amniotic fluid, and the same amount falls on the enlarged uterus — by the last weeks of pregnancy its weight reaches a kilogram. About 25% of the weight gained during pregnancy is extra blood and extracellular fluid, as well as glandular tissue of the mammary glands. We must not forget about the placenta: its weight is approximately 5%.

Reasons for underweight mother

  • Sometimes weight grows too slowly. Often this is a consequence of severe toxicosis in the early stages. If toxicosis is accompanied by vomiting, the weight of the expectant mother may even slightly decrease. Among other things, toxicosis is often associated with a lack of nutrients, and for the healthy development of the fetus it is very important to get the complex of necessary vitamins and minerals on time:
  • Folic acid is needed to prevent the development of defects in the baby;
  • Iodine — for the proper physical and mental development of the fetus;
  • Lutein — for the formation of the brain of the baby;
  • Intake of B vitamins can reduce toxicosis.

Another reason for insufficient weight gain is poor nutrition and attempts to follow too strict diets, dictated by the fear of getting fat after childbirth. Such behavior is very dangerous for both the expectant mother and her child: a deficiency of vitamins and minerals can lead to miscarriage and premature birth, detachment of the placenta, anemia and congenital pathologies in the child. Obviously, this is much worse than a couple of extra pounds, which you can easily get rid of after the baby is born.

How to gain the missing weight?

The nutrition schedule and the constant supply of essential vitamins and minerals to the body are extremely important for proper weight gain. Even in the absence of appetite, it is better to eat a little bit several times a day. Fractional nutrition helps to avoid underweight during toxicosis. However, choosing the most high-calorie dishes for a speedy normalization of the situation is not the right way. The diet should still remain healthy and balanced. Too fatty and fried foods sometimes only exacerbate toxicosis. You should give preference to dairy products, fish and meat, salads with dressings of olive or sesame oil, fruits and vegetables — especially bananas, potatoes, grapes, avocados, as they are quite high in calories. For snacks, nuts and dried fruits, yogurts are well suited. Often, toxicosis provokes dehydration, so expectant mothers need to drink as much water as possible.

Causes of Overweight During Pregnancy

Being overweight is also a cause for concern. Excess weight does not at all indicate that the baby will be healthy and strong. Most often, overweight during pregnancy is the result of intemperance in food. People around constantly tell the expectant mother that she should eat for two, and pregnancy is often perceived by many as an excuse to eat anything. Meanwhile, the key to a healthy pregnancy is not a plentiful, but a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. And a light salad or baked salmon will bring much more benefit than a whole grilled chicken or hamburger. 

However, sometimes it is not a matter of increased nutrition, but of edema or constant constipation due to worsening intestinal motility. Edema can talk about kidney problems: the load on them during pregnancy increases, and they can not cope. Edema is an occasion to see a doctor. If the appearance of extra pounds is caused by fluid stagnation, the expectant mother may also note other symptoms: urination occurs less often than usual, rings that used to be fit, are difficult to remove from the fingers, legs swell and hurt in the evening, and obvious marks from socks remain on the ankles. However, edema is not always noticeable during an external examination, they can be hidden, and only a doctor can detect them during the examination.

How to lose weight during pregnancy

We will make a reservation right away: all recommendations for weight loss during pregnancy relate to situations where weight gain is too fast. As already mentioned, the rate of weight gain is individual. But if you add more than two kilograms a week in the first and second trimester or more than 800 grams a week during the third trimester, and also if you gained more than four kilograms during the first three months of pregnancy, then you should immediately consult a doctor.

If you are overweight during pregnancy, you need to eat as many vegetables and fruits as possible: they are relatively low-calorie, while saturating for a long time. In addition, plant foods are rich in fiber, which is necessary for the normal functioning of the intestines and prevent constipation.

To cope with hunger, you need to eat often, but in small portions. Fast carbohydrates like flour and sweet should be replaced by slow ones — all the same fruits and vegetables, cereals, cereal bread. If you use oil in cooking, then give preference to quality vegetable. In order to slow down the weight gain, you can replace one meal several times a week with a glass of low-fat kefir. We must not forget about proteins: excellent sources of protein are eggs, cottage cheese, lean meat, fish, and seafood.

Physical activity also helps control weight. Of course, sports associated with high loads and the risk of injuries are contraindicated for expectant mothers. However, walking or swimming in the pool is safe. They not only reduce weight, but also improve well-being.

We also offer you to get acquainted with other difficulties that may await you during pregnancy.

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