Femtalks Blog

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Understanding Pregnancy Weight Gain

Posted by Smurfette On March - 7 - 2009

Image from pregnancyzone.com

Pregnancy is one of the most joyful moments for most women.  A lot of women associate pregnancy with buffet style eating for the whole nine months.  It’s like living on a cruise ship for nine months. 😛 They use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever they like, whenever they like and of course with double portions.  Don’t people always say that when you are pregnant you are eating for two? Hence, the double portions. The fact is that a pregnant woman only needs an extra 300 calories per day.  So, it would be like having a bowl of cereal and a banana. To give you a better idea of how 300 calories look like here are some pictures.

If you think about it, pregnancy is one of the most important time in your life to watch your diet.  You would exercise and eat healthy food before summer just so you’ll look good in a bathing suit, why won’t you do the same when you are pregnant? In fact, you should take care of your body even more, since you have a baby growing inside you. Whatever goes into your body will also goes to the baby.  Do you want your baby to eat junk food? I don’t think so.  You are not only risking your own health when you have unhealthy diet, you are also risking your baby’s health.

Here is an article about pregnancy weight gain from marchofdimes.com

Weight Gain During Pregnancy
You’re pregnant, right? So you get to eat as many french fries as you want, right? Wrong! Be careful about how much weight you gain during your pregnancy. Gaining too much or too little can be harmful to you and your baby. How many pounds you need to add depends on how much you weigh when you become pregnant.

Gaining the right amount of weight helps protect the health of your baby. Women who gain too little are at increased risk of having a small baby (less than 5 1/2 pounds). Women who gain too much are at increased risk of having an early baby or a large baby. They may also have health problems themselves such as diabetes, high blood pressure and varicose veins.

If you began pregnancy at a normal weight, you should gain 25 – 35 pounds over the nine months. Adding about 300 extra calories a day to your diet will help you reach this goal. (One extra healthy snack, such as four fig bars and a glass of skim milk, will provide these calories.) Most women gain four to six pounds in the first trimester, and then average a pound a week in the second and third trimesters.

If you began pregnancy underweight, you should probably gain a little more. That’s because underweight women are more likely to have small babies. A 28- to 40-pound gain is usually recommended. Try to gain slightly over a pound a week in the second and third trimesters.

If you began pregnancy overweight, you should gain only 15 – 25 pounds. This means you should put on one pound every two weeks in the second and third trimesters. While you don’t want to gain too much weight, you should never try to lose weight during pregnancy because that could harm your baby.

Where does it all go?
Approximate breakdown of a weight gain of 29 pounds
Blood 3 pounds
Breasts 2 pounds
Womb 2 pounds
Baby 7.5 pounds
Placenta 1.5 pounds
Amniotic fluid 2 pounds
Fat, protein & other nutrients 7 pounds
Retained water 4 pounds

If you’re expecting twins, you should probably gain a total of 35 – 45 pounds. That translates into about 1 1/2 pounds a week in the last two trimesters.

To find out if you were underweight or overweight before pregnancy, learn your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.

Putting on weight slowly and steadily is best. But don’t worry if you gain less than four pounds in the first trimester, and make up for it later, or vice versa. Also, many women have one or two “growth spurts” during which they gain several pounds in a short time period, then level off. Again, this is not worrisome unless it becomes a pattern. The important thing is to keep an eye on your overall gain. You can use the weight-gain tracking chart to follow your progress.


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A homemaker who is trying to fill up her free time blabberring about things she finds exciting through blogging!