Gaining weight is a natural and important part of pregnancy. Many women think of weight gain during pregnancy as being specifically the weight of the baby, but the baby is only one part, less than a third on average, of the weight you will gain. During pregnancy, you will gain about:
- Three pounds of blood.
- Two pounds in your breasts.
- Two pounds in the uterus itself.
- Two pounds of amniotic fluid.
- Four pounds of retained water.
- One to two pounds of placenta.
- Seven pounds of fats, proteins, and other important nutrients.
- Seven to eight pounds of baby.
As you can see, all of these parts add up quickly!
Altogether, a woman who is in a normal weight range should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. A woman who is overweight before becoming pregnant should gain between 15 and 25 pounds, and a woman who is underweight before pregnancy should gain anywhere from 28 to 40 pounds. Women who are pregnant with twins or multiples will typically need to gain more weight, depending on the number of babies you are going to have. Most women will gain between 2 and 5 pounds during the first trimester, and then around one pound each week for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Gaining too much weight during your pregnancy can cause complications of the pregnancy, and can also make it more difficult to take off the extra weight after your pregnancy. Gaining too little weight during pregnancy can also be harmful; It may be a sign that you and your baby are not getting the important nutrients that you both need. In addition, your body needs to gain a certain amount of weight to prepare for breastfeeding.
Eating a balanced diet during your pregnancy, with a wide variety of foods, will help you to gain weight at a steady rate and provide the calories and nutrients that your baby needs to grow. Gaining a healthy amount of weight at a steady pace can lower your risk for shortness of breath, indigestion, stretch marks, backaches, fatigue, hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Staying within the guidelines that your health practitioner gives you for weight gain will help ensure that you have a healthy baby and a hassle free delivery. It will also make it easier to shed any excess weight after you delivery your new baby.