Every woman needs to gain a certain amount of weight during pregnancy. Proper weight gain helps ensure that you and your baby are healthy at the time of delivery.
Today, recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy are higher than they were in the past; normal weight gain is 25 to 35 pounds. If you are underweight at the start of your pregnancy, expect to gain between 28 and 40 pounds. If you’re overweight before pregnancy, you probably should not gain as much as other women during pregnancy. Acceptable weight gain for you is between 15 and 25 pounds. Recommendations vary, so discuss the matter with your doctor. Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals during your pregnancy. Do not diet now!
As an average for a normal-weight woman, many doctors suggest a weight gain of 2/3 of a pound (1 0 ounces) a week until 20 weeks, then 1 pound a week through the 40th week. This recommendation is only an average; actual suggestions vary according to the individual.
It isn’t unusual not to gain weight or even to lose a little weight early in pregnancy. Your doctor will keep track of changes in your weight.
Watch your weight, but don’t be obsessive about it. If you’re in good shape when you get pregnant, with an appropriate amount of body fat, and you exercise regularly and eat healthfully, you shouldn’t have a problem with excessive weight gain.
Increasing Your Caloric Intake
During pregnancy, you need to increase your calorie consumption; the average recommended increase is about 300 calories a day. Some women need more calories; some women need fewer. If you are underweight when you begin pregnancy, you will probably have to eat more than 300 extra calories each day. If you’re overweight, you may have less need for extra calories.
The key to good nutrition and weight management is to eat a balanced diet throughout your pregnancy. Eat the foods you need to help your baby grow and develop. Choose wisely. For example, if you’re overweight, avoid high-calorie peanut butter and other nuts as a protein source; choose water-packed tuna or low-fat cheeses instead. If you’re underweight, high-calorie ice cream and milkshakes are acceptable dairy sources.
Be Prepared to Gain Weight
Getting on the scale and seeing your weight increase is hard for some women, especially those who watch their weight closely. You must acknowledge at the beginning of your pregnancy that it is all right to gain weight; it’s for the health of your baby. You can control your weight gain by eating carefully and nutritiously, but you must gain enough weight to meet the needs of your pregnancy.
Your doctor knows this; that’s why your weight is checked at every prenatal visit.
In the past, women were allowed to gain a very small amount of weight during pregnancy, sometimes as little as 12 to 15 pounds for an entire pregnancy! Through research and advances in technology, we have learned these restrictive weight gains were not in the best interests of mother or baby.