|Many women worry about gaining weight during pregnancy, but gaining a healthy amount not only is normal, but necessary and expected. On average, women can gain from 11 to 15 kilos during pregnancy but it’s normal to gain a bit less or a bit more if you were overweight or underweight before getting pregnant. Nevertheless, gaining a reasonable amount of weight is crucial as it provides the adequate nutrition for mom and baby, while building adequate fat reserves for breast-feeding.
Although knowing that weight gain is necessary, seeing the number slowly creep up on the scale can make some women self-conscious, especially during the second trimester when weight gain is more evident. But the number on the scale should not get you down. Instead of concentrating on the amount of weight gained, focus on eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruit, complex carbohydrates (whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, potatoes) and protein (lean meat or plant based protein). This will allow your body to gain weight at a slow and steady pace.
Eating healthy is crucial for your health and your baby’s. Pregnancy is not a time to begin or maintain a restrictive diet. Dieting to lose or prevent gaining weight can put you and your baby at risk, so don’t cut out food groups and focus on eating five balanced meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner plus two snacks). Think of the nutrient content instead of the calories per meal. If you avoid processed food which tends to be high in fat, sugar and sodium you really can’t go wrong. It’s also important to listen to your body. If you are hungry eat something rich in nutrients and try to replace cravings with healthy natural options such as a rice cake with peanut butter and strawberries. Just remember that it’s okay to indulge on a craving every once in a while!
There is no one size fits all when it comes to gaining weight during pregnancy. Gaining a healthy amount of weight depends on your weight before getting pregnant and your baby’s needs. Your doctor can help you determine the adequate weight tailored for you but here is a general guideline:
– Underweight: It’s important to gain a reasonable amount of weight especially during the second and third trimester when the baby grows the most. Gaining appropriate weight will prevent your baby from being born earlier or smaller than average, and it diminishes complications at birth.
Where does the weight go?
Here is the approximate weight distribution according to the Mayo Clinic: