Pregnancy Weight Gain

Like many aspects of pregnancy, there’s no specific amount you can expect to gain before your baby’s born. It’s not an exact science and there are vast variations from woman to woman. Weight gain is an inevitable and necessary part of pregnancy, with much of the weight hopefully coming from the baby itself, increased fluid and blood in the body and some increase in body fat to provide the necessary energy stores. Gaining too much or too little, however, can potentially cause some problems. Guidelines are in place for the optimum healthy gain, so it may be useful to keep these in mind.

The amount of weight gain recommended depends greatly on the condition of your body before you got pregnant. If you were at an average, healthy weight, then the general advice is to aim for around 12-16kg by the end of your pregnancy. Falling under that can put you at risk for preterm labour and low birth weight, while going significantly over, particularly if you were overweight to begin with, can lead to gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. You may be weighed by your doctor or midwife throughout your pregnancy to keep an eye on this, and to ensure that your baby is developing safely.

Though it may feel like weight gain in pregnancy is largely out of your control, especially as your bump rapidly expands, there are ways of managing things. You shouldn’t need to eat much more in your daily diet than you did normally; only in the third trimester is it recommended to add around 200-300 extra calories. Ignore jokes from friends and family about ‘eating for two’ and focus instead on eating a wide range of nutrients and healthy foods so that your baby has the best possible start. Regular exercise can also help keep the weight gain to a healthy level; try and walk regularly and stay active and your body and baby will both benefit.

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