Every woman gains a certain weight during pregnancy. But in this case, it cannot be called overweight, since each kilogram appears for a reason. You should not be afraid of such an increase in weight, because often after childbirth, most women manage to quickly return to their usual form. However, you should not be extremely out of shape either – too rapid weight gain at each stage of pregnancy can have negative consequences. Everything should be in moderation, and in order to control this, you need to know in advance what the rate of weight gain during pregnancy should be.
What is the rate of weight gain during pregnancy?
This indicator is individual. Someone gains only 5-6 kg, feeling normal, having no problems carrying a child. And there are those who are gaining more than 20 kg, also without complaints and complications. However, in most cases, the rate of weight gain during pregnancy is average between such values - 9-14 kg when carrying one child and 16-21 kg if the pregnancy is multiple.
It is also important to remember that in the first trimester, a pregnant woman may not notice weight gain. Firstly, the fetus is just being formed, and it is too early to talk about its growth. Secondly, during this period, many have severe toxicosis, accompanied by a deterioration in appetite and vomiting. As a result of such conditions, a woman can lose a couple of kilograms. Starting from the second trimester, weight gain becomes more noticeable. Usually it is about 1 kg per month. The sharpest weight jump can be seen in recent months – then a woman can gain more than 400 g per week.
It should be considered that these are only generalized data, and they should not be taken as a strict rate of weight gain during pregnancy. Only a doctor can determine whether this or that weight gain is acceptable for a woman and her fetus. This is especially true when the pregnant woman has concomitant health problems, or she is carrying more than three children.
How does the weight of a pregnant woman increase?
So that a pregnant woman is not afraid that she is gaining pounds, she needs to understand where they come from
The main sources of weight gain are:
- Fetal weight. The baby in the womb becomes larger every day, respectively, this affects the weight indicator, adding up to 3-4 kg.
- An increase in the uterus and the volume of amniotic fluid. Usually, because of these a pregnant woman gains up to 2 kg before giving birth.
- Increase in blood volume in the body. This indicators can vary greatly, but usually about 1.5 kg is taken away for it.
- The appearance of additional fluid in the body. Its weight can be from 1.5 to 3 kg.
Do not forget that in the last weeks before childbirth, a woman’s mammary glands begin to enlarge, because milk is produced in them. This process increases the total weight by about 0.5 kg.
Regardless of how a woman eats during pregnancy, it is extremely rare to avoid the accumulation of body fat. The situation can be considered the norm when their weight does not exceed 3-4 kg. This indicator can be considered the most volatile. If a woman was actively involved in sports before pregnancy, she may gain less. If a pregnant woman allows herself to eat too much, or takes hormonal drugs to preserve the fetus, this can lead to a significant increase in this indicator.
What Factors Affect Weight Gain During Pregnancy?
While the sources of weight gain are clearly identified, there are internal and external factors that can affect the amount of weight you gain.
The main ones are:
- The initial weight of the woman. Of course, this factor cannot be considered decisive one, but it shows that usually thin women gain more extra pounds during pregnancy than obese ones.
- The growth of the pregnant woman. Tall women tend to gain more kg.
- Tendency to be overweight. If a woman has such a predisposition, she needs to be especially careful, since during pregnancy she can gain a lot of extra pounds.
- Strong increase in appetite. This factor is not common for everyone, but for the majority. Feeling a sharp increase in appetite, women may succumb to it, or vice versa – try to restrain themselves, controlling the weight gain in themselves and in the fetus.
- The presence of toxicosis. If these conditions are frequent and severe, it can lead to weight loss, which is highly undesirable during pregnancy.
- The presence of concomitant diseases, such as diabetes. In this case, a violation of metabolic processes is possible, which will cause weight gain.
It is worth remembering that age can also affect the intensity of weight gain. The older the woman is, the more difficult it is to control the increase in her body weight during pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to be especially attentive to this issue for those who give birth in adulthood.
Body mass index when calculating weight gain
BMI – is one of the basic concepts that can be used to control the process of weight gain during pregnancy. This indicator is calculated quite simply – according to the formula: the usual weight of a person must be divided by the height (m) squared.
The resulting indicator can be attributed to 3 types of figure:
- Up to 19.8 (group 1) – the thinnest women
- 19.8-26 (group 2) – women with an average physique
- From 26 (3rd group) – overweight women
It is the body mass index that is used to calculate the rate of weight gain during pregnancy by trimester or week. The easiest way to do this is to use a special calculator.
Danger of being underweight during pregnancy
Severe weight loss during pregnancy or simply being underweight can negatively affect the health of both the woman and the baby.
We are talking about such probable risks:
- Premature birth, which can be very dangerous for both the woman in labor and the baby
- Too low birth weight, which can cause health problems
- Asthenia and slow weight gain by the baby in the first months after birth
To eliminate the possibility of such unpleasant situations, it is important to notice the underweight and determine its cause in time. It may consist in improper diet, severe toxicosis, etc. Usually, such conditions can be successfully corrected by taking special drugs or diet.
Why is it dangerous to gain weight too quickly during pregnancy?
Fast weight gain during pregnancy, like weight loss, is fraught with the following pathologies:
- Development of gestational diabetes mellitus
- Increased blood pressure
- The risk of preeclampsia – a strong deterioration in the condition of the pregnant woman in the last weeks before childbirth
- Persistent headaches
- Premature aging of the placenta
- Metabolic disorders
It is important to remember that if the mother-to-be is gaining weight sharply, the same happens to the fetus. Its heavy weight can make it difficult for natural childbirth, which will require a cesarean section. It also increases the risk of premature birth with complications.
How to Maintain a Correct BMI During Pregnancy: Nutrition Tips
No matter how fast a woman gains weight during pregnancy, it is important for her to follow a healthy diet. In addition to being able to maintain normal weight, it will also help maintain the health of the pregnant woman and the baby.
The following recommendations can be considered universal:
- Exclusion of a large number of sweet dishes, primarily flour ones.
- The use of fermented milk products in sufficient quantities (they will improve metabolic processes).
- Choosing foods that contain folic acid. If this is not possible, you can take the appropriate drugs.
- Refusal from fatty, fried and smoked – such food can not only cause weight gain, but also negatively affect the health of the fetus, as it impairs the quality of blood.
- Emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, as they will improve digestion, provide the organisms of the pregnant woman and the baby with the necessary vitamins.
It is also important to ensure that the diet is balanced in terms of protein, fat and carbohydrates. If it is not possible to work out the correct nutrition schedule on your own, then it is better to consult a doctor who will suggest an optimal diet. To do this, you can visit the IVMED reproductive health clinic. Thanks to this, the weight norm during pregnancy will be observed.