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What’s the Ideal Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

August 5, 2023 12:14 pm
REAN Foundation

Pregnancy weight gain is inevitable. But what is the ideal amount of weight a pregnant woman can gain? The answer to this question has always been a subject of debate. Our blog dispels the doubts and explains in detail about the ideal pregnancy weight gain and how to maintain it.

What’s the Big Deal About Pregnancy Weight Gain?

Pregnancy is a time when you have multiple reasons to gain additional weight. First, you are carrying a fetus; second, you are consuming more food than usual; and third, you are undergoing many hormonal changes.

During pregnancy, your doctor will recommend a weight gain target based on your health and your baby’s development. The additional weight is not a mere increase in pounds. It significantly bolsters your baby’s growth and establishes a foundation for post-pregnancy weight loss. Hence, it is imperative you follow the weight gain guidelines given by your doctor.

Weight Before Pregnancy: Why it Matters

How much you weigh before pregnancy is a fundamental factor in determining your weight gain during pregnancy. Maintaining an optimum weight range can significantly enhance your chances of conceiving and delivering a healthy baby.

It is best to shed any excess weight if you plan to conceive. Even a minimal weight loss makes a significant difference in the pregnancy outcome. For instance, if you weigh around 200 pounds, losing about 20-25 pounds of that weight (5-10%) reduces your chances of pregnancy-related complications like preeclampsia.

That being said, pregnancy weight gain is important. But how much you gain is what really matters. Excessive or inadequate weight gain can impact your and your baby’s health. If you gain excess weight, there’s a likely chance of you encountering the following risks:

  • Pre-term baby with health problems as they grow
  • Delivery through C-section
  • The baby may have fetal Macrosomia
  • Unsuccessful weight loss post-childbirth

Insufficient weight gain can lead to premature childbirth or result in your baby being born with meager birth weight.

Calculating Your Pregnancy Weight Gain: What Does Your BMI Say?

Morning sickness is one of the main reasons for weight loss during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, that does not mean you will not gain weight in the forthcoming months. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is average or low, likely, you will gradually gain weight.

BMI is a vital metric measuring body fat based on height and weight. It is the fundamental parameter that determines how much weight gain is ideal for your body based on your pre-pregnancy weight.

The BMI ratio is calculated using the formula given below:

Pre-pregnancy weight in pounds(lbs)
___________________________ x 703 (conversion factor)

Square value of your height in inches(in)

Let’s assume your pre-pregnancy weight is 154 pounds, and you are 63 inches tall. Your BMI ratio is 27.3. Apart from your BMI ratio, you may also gain or lose weight depending on:

  • Your food intake
  • Water retention during pregnancy
  • Physical activity and workout
  • Pregnancy-related food cravings or aversions

Where Does All Your Pregnancy Weight Go?

Weight gain is the least during the first trimester and does not usually exceed a couple of kilos. From there on, the body weight increases by approximately 1.10 pounds every week for the rest of the pregnancy. Weight gain during the next two trimesters depends primarily on the Body Mass Index.

If the BMI is less than 18.5, you may likely gain up to 1.10 pounds per week. If the BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, the weight gain will hover around 0.88 pounds per week. A BMI of less than 25 contributes only around 0.66 pounds per week.

Therefore, depending on your BMI, your weight gain will likely increase by 25.4 to 35.3 pounds by the end of your pregnancy.

The breakdown of pregnancy weight gain is as follows:

  • Baby - 7.5 pounds
  • Your fat reserves- 7 pounds
  • Fluids in your body- 39.7 pounds
  • Placenta - 1.54 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid - 1.98 pounds
  • Uterine enlargement - 1.98 pounds
  • Mum’s breast tissue - 1.98 pounds
  • Mum’s blood volume - 3.97 pounds

Maintaining the appropriate weight is of utmost significance during a twin pregnancy, as it directly influences the weight of both babies. Because twins are frequently born prematurely, it is crucial for their well-being to have a higher birth weight.

Tips for Pregnancy Weight Gain Management

Pregnancy is no reason to let go of your weight management. Even during pregnancy, you must aim only for the ideal weight your body requires to nourish a full-term baby. Anything less or more than that is unwanted weight.

Attaining and sustaining a healthy weight gain is feasible even if you carry twins. Here are some tips to help you reach an optimum pregnancy weight.

  • Break down your meals into smaller ones (5-6 meals a day).
  • Increase your intake of fibrous foods, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and protein-rich foods.
  • Quit oily and unhealthy snacks like chips, cookies, cakes, fizzy drinks, etc.
  • Opt for healthier snacks like nuts, dried fruits, yogurt, and crunchy vegetables.
  • Start an exercise routine ONLY on your doctor’s advice.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day and 150 minutes per week.
  • Walk every day for at least 10 minutes.
  • Visit a certified dietician if you are worried about excess or underweight during pregnancy.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice regarding food intake and exercises during and after pregnancy.
  • Keep a look out for fluid retention in your ankles or feet and puffiness in your face and hands.
  • Consult your gynaecologist immediately if you experience the above symptoms or are not gaining or losing enough weight.

Have A Safe Pregnancy With REAN HealthGuru Assistant

Work with your healthcare companion, Rean HealthGuru, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, getting updated insights on fitness and activities to improve your understanding of which foods top the list to maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. Rean Foundation’s HealthGuru app is an AI-powered digital platform that enables you to stay in touch with your healthcare providers from wherever you are. Get in touch with our team to learn more about our healthcare app.

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