Pregnancy / Childbirth

Correct weight gain in pregnancy - how much, how and why?

Correct weight gain in pregnancy - how much, how and why?


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During pregnancy, every expectant mother gains extra kilos, and this is not unusual. This is due, among other things, to the growing belly and uterus muscle and of course to the developing fetus. Although we all naturally know that weight gain is inevitable, we should think about how much weight we should gain? What does normal weight gain look like in pregnancy?

Why does weight increase in pregnancy? Correct weight gain during pregnancy

First of all, it is important to realize that a pregnant woman is gaining weight not only because of the gradually developing fetus in the womb. Pregnancy is a time when a lot of changes are taking place in a woman's body to prepare the body of the future mother for producing offspring. Importantly, this does not happen only within the abdomen itself. For before a woman notices its clear enlargement, the body will begin to accumulate fluids and begin to develop mammary glands, which will cause breast enlargement visible from the second month of pregnancy.

In addition to the developing fetus also the uterus itself, providing it with a suitable environment, increases its size and it's up to 20 times. To this we must also add the weight of the fetal waters and placenta, through which the fetus takes nutrients from the mother. All this means that the weight of a pregnant woman increases, but under no circumstances should you have remorse or complexes - unless, of course, weight gain in pregnancy does not start to exceed the correct limit.

Should the expectant mother eat more?

During pregnancy, the body's daily need for nutrients increases, which is caused by the growing needs of the developing fetus and placenta, as well as changes in maternal tissues and organs. All this leads to an increase in basic metabolism and an increase in metabolism by approx. 20%. Therefore, it is estimated that the additional energy expenditure should be around:

  • 150 kcal / day in the first trimester,
  • 350 kcal / day in the second trimester,
  • 350 kcal / day in the third trimester, and at the very end of pregnancy up to 500 kcal / day.

The increase in caloric demand is necessary for the proper development of the child, however, it should be remembered that the future mother eats them for two, not for two. To limit excessive weight gain during pregnancy, a pregnant woman's diet must be properly balancedso that, in addition to providing the right amount of calories, the body receives all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs.

How much should weight increase in the next trimesters of pregnancy?

Although every woman gains weight a little differently during pregnancy, there are certain norms for the correct weight gain of the future mother.On average, pregnant weight increases by 25% compared to the weight before pregnancy, which gives on average about 12-13 kg. How much a pregnant woman should take depends on her previous BMI, and the smaller it was, the more weight should increase. The range of total weight gain should therefore be as follows:

BMI <19 (underweight) - weight gain can be 12.5 - 18 kg,
BMI 19 - 26 (correct) - weight gain should be 11.5 - 16 kg,
BMI> 26 (overweight) - pregnancy weight gain should not exceed 7 kg.

It should be borne in mind, however, that the body weight during pregnancy does not increase regularly from week to week, because in each of the three trimesters the size of the increase is slightly different.

Initially, it may even happen that due to morning nausea and vomiting, body weight instead of increasing will decrease. Because of this, also weight gain in the first trimester of pregnancy is relatively small and amounts to about 2 kg. However, this is not a stiff value, slim women often gain a little more than fuller ladies, whose weight in turn can only increase by 1 kg.

During the second trimester a pregnant woman gains weight much faster and more, because about 6 kg. This is because it follows increase in blood volume, uterine hyperplasia and mammary glands.

In the last trimester of pregnancy, however, the expectant mother should take on about 2 kg per month, which ultimately gives about 5-6 kg. As you can see, weight gain during pregnancy is not unusual, as long as it is done correctly and at the right time.

Remember that weight gain during pregnancy is a completely physiological process, necessary for the proper development of the fetus and, most importantly, inevitable. The developing child's body and changes occurring in the mother's body cause an increase in basic metabolism and energy demand. However, you need to eat rationally so as not to gain too much extra kilograms and fall within the established weight gain limits in a given trimester. It is worth to follow them, because they are established by specialists and have in mind the common good of the future mother and her unborn child.