Your health care provider or your doctor will tell you how much weight you should gain. A woman, who was average weight before getting pregnant, should gain 25 to 35 pounds (12 to 16 kilograms) after becoming pregnant. Underweight women should gain 28 to 40 pounds (13 to 18 kilograms). And overweight women may need to gain only 15 to 25 pounds (7 to 12 kilograms) during pregnancy.
If you want to gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy, here are a few tips:
- Eat five to six small meals everyday
- Eat snacks such as nuts, raisins, cheese, dried fruits and yogurt.
- Add butter or ghee to your meals.
If you have gained more weight than your doctor recommended, the doctor will probably want you to wait until after delivery to lose weight.
Here are some tips to slow your gain:
- Avoid fast food
- Avoid whole milk products.
- Limit sweet or sugary drinks
- Limit your intake of salt to prevent water retention
- Limit sweets and high-calorie snacks. Try eating fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt.
- Use fats in moderation. Try lower-fat alternatives
- Cook food the healthy way. Baking, broiling, grilling and boiling are healthier methods.
- Moderate exercise can burn excess calories. Remember to consult your doctor what exercise would be right for you before getting started.
Pregnancy is a time of changes within the body. It is normal to gain some weight during pregnancy due to the growth of the baby, placenta and fluid around the baby or the amniotic fluid.
However too much extra weight during pregnancy can increase your chances of:
- High blood pressure or pre-eclampsia
- Gestational diabetes
- Needing a caesarean section
- Having a large baby. This could lead the baby to become obese in childhood and early adult life.
- Difficulty losing weight after your baby is born.
Not gaining enough weight during pregnancy can increase the chances of having a premature or preterm baby.
By the time you reach your due date, just over a third of your extra weight will come from your baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid. The other two-third of extra weight are due to the changes that happen to your baby while you are pregnant. On an average:
- The muscle layer of the uterus grows dramatically and weighs an extra 0.9 kg
- Your blood volume increases, and weighs an extra 1.2 kg
- Your breasts weigh an extra 0.4 kg
- You store fat, about 4 kg to give you energy for breastfeeding
It is natural and healthy to put on weight during pregnancy. Your body needs to change to help you grow your baby and to give him the best start in life.