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Weight Gain During Pregnancy
How To Avoid Excessive Weight Gain During Pregnancy?
Weight gain recommendations during pregnancy have varied over the years. Currently, the weight gain during pregnancy for pregnant women is about 25-30 pounds. Your weight gain in pregnancy is divided into several categories.
These include the following:
- Fetal weight at birth—7.3 pounds
- Weight of the placenta—1.5 pounds
- Weight of the amniotic fluid—1.8 pounds
- Extra blood volume weight—2.6 pounds
- Extra weight of the thickening uterine wall—2.0 pounds
- Extra-bodily fluid—2.6 pounds
- Extra weight of breast tissue—0.9 pounds
- Fat storage for breastfeeding—8.8 pounds
Every woman’s pregnancy is different and the recommended weight gain depends on your starting weight and on whether you are carrying just one baby or more than one baby (twins or triplets).
Recommended Calories in Pregnancy
For the first and second trimester (up to 28 weeks gestation), you don’t need to eat any more calories than you normally would. For a woman of average weight, this means eating about 2,000 calories per day. The biggest mistake women make during pregnancy is that they gain too much weight in the beginning of the pregnancy when the fetus actually weighs very little. For example, at 20 weeks gestation, the average fetal weight is only 10.58 ounces—less than a pound. At twenty-eight weeks gestation (as you are entering your third trimester), the average fetal weight is only 2.22 pounds.
After you reach 28 weeks gestation and are in your third trimester, it is recommended that you eat only 200 extra calories per day or about 2,200 calories per day. All of this depends on your weight and body mass index at the time you got pregnant and on the level of activity; you choose to do during the pregnancy. Your metabolism involves the rate in which you burn calories; this also affects the number of calories you should consume. This amount is different for every woman.
You can calculate your body mass index (BMI) using the following formula:
Take your weight in pounds and divide it by your height squared. Multiply this number by 703. Alternatively, you can find body mass index calculators on the web that only ask for your height and weight in order to do the calculation for you. You will also need to follow pregnancy diet plan for the purpose.
The body mass index can be interpreted as follows:
- Underweight—the BMI is 19 or less.
- Normal weight—the BMI is more than 19 but less than 25.
- Overweight—the BMI is 25 to 30.
- Obese—the BMI is greater than 30.
If you are underweight, overweight, or obese, your OB/GYN may make different recommendations as to how much weight you should gain during the pregnancy.
Tips For Not Gaining Too Much Weight
Here are some things to keep in mind when eating while pregnant:
- Do not ‘eat for two’, particularly during the first two trimesters. You should eat no differently than you did before you got pregnant unless you are underweight or overweight. In such cases, your doctor may ask you to eat more or less than normal in order to normalize your weight.
- Stick to a healthy diet of whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. The fruits and vegetables have a particularly high nutrient content per calorie and will give you nutrients without any empty calories.
- Weigh yourself at least once per week during your pregnancy: This is in addition to the weight your healthcare provider will check at each visit. Knowing your weight at all, times can be motivation to eat the proper amount of calories per day.
- Don’t give in to high-calorie cravings. Food cravings are common in pregnancy but when they involve high-calorie items, the weight can be packed on very quickly. It can be difficult to resists cravings, but modifications can be made. For example, eat light ice cream that has less sugar and fat. Instead of eating a bag of chocolate, eat two or three small pieces.
- Stay active during the pregnancy. Keep up any non-contact sports or start doing aerobic exercise (like bicycling, walking, running, or swimming) so your body has a better metabolism so you can safely eat more.
- Avoid eating out too much. Eating at restaurants often requires eating a large number of calories, partly due to large portion sizes. Always ask for a take home box and eat only about half the entrée, packing up the rest.
When in doubt about what to eat, get a referral from your doctor or midwife to see a qualified nutritionist or a dietician who can map out a diet plan for you to follow while you are pregnant. If you are a Diabetes patient, then you must follow Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan.
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