How Much Weight Should You Really Gain During Pregnancy?

May 8, 2016

We all know that the doctor recommends gaining between 25-35 pounds during pregnancy for the average woman. But that is just that, average.

However, there are too many pregnant ladies out there who are gaining way more than they should. In fact, a government report from November 2015 found that 47 percent of American moms gained more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy, putting themselves and their babies at risk for health problems both during and after pregnancy.

The truth is that we all need to gain a different amount because we are all so very different and so are each and every one of our pregnancies. Some women who might have begun pregnancy as underweight might need to gain more than the recommended textbook amount and the same goes for women who started their pregnancy obese as they most likely need to gain less. Obviously the best way to figure out the most appropriate weight gain for you is to talk to you doctor first and foremost.

Here’s how pregnancy weight typically breaks down aka why the recommended weight gain number exists:

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  • Extra blood: 3-4lbs
  • Baby: 6-8 lbs
  • Placenta, Aminotic Fluid, Uterus: 4-7lbs
  • Boobs: 1-2lbs
  • Stored Extra Fat: 8-10lbs
  • Body Fluids: 3-4lbs

Total weight gain: 25-35lbs

Please keep in mind that these are just average numbers and average weights. Not every woman’s body fluids and boobs are going to weigh the same, ok? While this chart is super helpful at pinpointing the direct causes of prenatal weight gain, it is also something to loosely base your pregnancy off of.

How Much Total Weight Should I Gain?

The amount of weight you should gain depends on your weight and BMI (body mass index) before pregnancy. Every lady will need a different amount. I firmly believe in listening to your body during pregnancy and eating only when your body says its hungry, but being careful not to mix up those hunger cues with false, mindless cravings.

You should gain:

  • 25-35 pounds if you were a healthy weight before pregnancy, with a BMI of 18.5-24.9.
  • 28-40 pounds if you were underweight before pregnancy with a BMI of less than 18.5.
  • 15-25 pounds if you were overweight before pregnancy with a BMI of 25-29.9.
  • 11-20 pounds if you were obese before pregnancy with a BMI of over 30.

What rate should I gain this weight?

  • 1-4.5 pounds during the first trimester
  • Approximately 1-2 pounds per week in the second trimester
  • Approximately 1-2 pounds per week in the third trimester

Weighing Yourself Properly

For best weight gain results, keep your eye on the scale, since what you don’t know can throw your weight way off-target. Weigh yourself:

  • At the same time of day
  • Weigh naked
  • On the same scale
  • Once a week (more often and you’ll drive yourself crazy with day-to-day fluid fluctuations; if your scale-phobic, twice a month should do the trick)
  • Waiting until your monthly prenatal checkup to check your weight is fine, too — though keep in mind that a lot can happen in a month (as in 10 pounds) or not happen (as in no pounds), making it harder for you to stay on track.

How many calories should you eat?

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The key to healthy pregnancy weight gain is eating a well-balanced pregnancy diet.  You likely won’t need any more calories in the first trimester. In the second trimester you should add about an additional 300 calories per day, and in the final trimester of your pregnancy you’ll need close to 500 calories more per day than you were eating before you conceived so that means 200 more than the second tri. For a healthy prenatal diet plan paired with a safe home prenatal workout plan, click here.

What workouts should I do?

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Working out is SO beneficial for pregnant moms-do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Even your doctor will recommend that you get some type of physical activity daily to not only keep you in shape, but to also prevent problems from excess weight gain during pregnancy such as back pain, gestational diabetes, and prenatal hypertension. Some great ideas for prenatal workouts include walking, swimming, jogging, and aerobics. However, studies are showing that lifting weights are dramatically improving labors and deliveries as well as the health of moms and babies everywhere. For a healthy prenatal diet plan paired with a safe home prenatal workout plan, click here.

As you can see, there is a ton of information to consider when gaining weight during pregnancy. To be honest, it is easy to slip up and eat for two, but you’ve got to stay in control and treat your body the way that it deserves as it is working overtime trying to nourish a growing baby.

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PLEASE NOTE: Following and/or participating in my blog, daily workouts, meal plans, and any tips or advice is solely your decision. I recommend checking with your physician prior to following any of the workouts or meal plans that I share. I am very open in sharing that I am not a health care professional, personal trainer, nutritionist, or counselor. I provide the workouts, meals, and tips that have worked for me based on my personal experiences.

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