Pregnancy and Weight Gain

Pregnancy and Weight Gain

It is true that every woman goes through some changes during her pregnancy. One of those changes is that she tends to put on a lot of ‘access’ weight which can be a worry is some cases. It is ideal to know what is normal weight gain during pregnancy and what is considered excess; it is also informative for the pregnant mother to know the causes of excess weight gain during pregnancy and how to prevent it!


Factors influencing Weight Gain of a Pregnant Woman

There are quite a few things which influence a woman’s weight during her pregnancy. A few of these things are mentioned below:

Weight of the Mother before Pregnancy

The common understanding among doctors is that a woman who is overweight in general, would only have to gain a bit more weight when she becomes pregnant. On the other hand, a generally underweight woman would need to put on a lot of weight after becoming pregnant.

Whether Single or Multiple Pregnancy

If a woman is carrying two babies in her womb (twin pregnancy), she would gain twice the weight, gained by a woman, who has just a single baby in her womb.

Health of the Pregnant Woman

A woman who is ill would not be able to gain weight. For example, if a woman suffers from severe episodes of nausea and vomiting too often, she would go through a rapid loss of weight.


Causes of the Weight Gain during Pregnancy

When a woman becomes pregnant, her body starts releasing hormones such as estrogen and progesterone in great quantity. These hormones cause a lot of changes in her body, including the proper growth and development of the baby, as well as the increase in size of the breasts and genitals. These hormones also lead to retention of a lot of fluid in the pregnant woman’s body. These changes combine to add some weight onto that woman.

Management of Weight Gain during Pregnancy

The ways in which a woman can maintain just the right amount of weight during her pregnancy, are mentioned below:

Eating a balanced diet

A woman should make sure that she eats a lot of food which is rich in protein, such as chicken, fish and eggs. She should have food which contains fat (butter, cheese) and carbohydrates (bread, chocolate) in it, but only in small quantities.

Being more active

Regularly exercising during pregnancy is considered healthy, both for the expecting mother and her baby. These exercises include yoga, swimming, walking, aerobic etc. By regularly exercising, the pregnant woman is able to regulate the weight gain through out her pregnancy. Read more about safe exercises during pregnancy here.


Normal Weight Gain for a Pregnant Woman

After years and years of research, scientists have come up with a standard rule for figuring out the ideal weight for a woman who is pregnant. This method, mentioned below, is based on the weight of a woman, before she was pregnant.

BMI Before Pregnancy   Recommended Weigh Gain
Normal Weight Gain 18.5 to 25 17-25 kg (2st 9lb – 3st 12lb)
Overweight 25 to 30 14-23 kg (2st 3lb-3st 81lb)
Obese, more than 30 11-19 kg (1st 11lb-3st)

Source: Data from Institute of Medicine (2009) Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the guidelines National Academies Press: Washington DC

Complications of Excessive Weight Gain in Pregnancy

A woman who does not take care, of how much weight she puts on, suffers from several health issues such as hypertension, diabetes etc.