The following is an excerpt from our new guide, Everything You Should Know About Prenatal Nutrition. To download the full guide, click here.
It’s inevitable: you will gain weight during your pregnancy. By the time you are ready to give birth, your uterus will have grown and filled with amniotic fluid, your blood volume will have increased by sixty percent, your breasts will have filled with milk, and your baby will have grown to weigh somewhere between six and eight pounds.
Mothers who don’t gain a sufficient amount of weight during pregnancy jeopardize their baby’s health by putting them at risk for premature birth, which can cause severe complications such as heart and lung problems. Furthermore, weight gain is essential to facilitate increased fat storage, which your body will need to draw on for energy during labor and after birth for breastfeeding. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy weight gain can roughly be broken down as follows:
- 7.5 pounds of baby weight at the end of the pregnancy
- 7 pounds of maternal stores of fat, protein, and other nutrients
- 4 pounds of increased fluid volume
- 4 pounds of increased blood volume
- 2 pounds of amniotic fluid
- 2 pounds of additional breast tissue
- 2 pounds of additional uterus tissue
- 1.5 pounds of placenta weight
All in all, that adds up to about thirty pounds, but keep in mind that this is just an average. When it comes to weight gain during pregnancy, there is no exact number. Most medical professionals estimate that healthy women should gain between 28 and 40 pounds during pregnancy. However, for women who are overweight or obese, weight gain during pregnancy should be even less. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 should aim for a total weight gain between 15 and 25 pounds, while women with a BMI over 30 should gain no more than 20 pounds. You should never attempt to lose weight during pregnancy.
Caloric intake during pregnancy
Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean that you need to eat for two. It is true that your nutritional needs and energy requirement increase during pregnancy; however, most women need only between three hundred and five hundred additional calories per day throughout the second and third trimesters to meet weight gain goals. That means that there is no need to eat twice as much! According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a pregnant woman of normal weight should strive for a daily caloric intake of 1,800 during the first trimester, 2,200 during the second trimester, and 2,400 during the third trimester.
CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. Contact us today to learn more about our obstetrics and maternity services.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.