You’re pregnant! Whether you’re ready for it or not, your body is about to change. It’s important to know why you need to gain a certain amount of weight in order to have a healthy pregnancy.
You have to remember that you’re not just eating for yourself anymore; this is a two-in-one package deal and anything you put in your mouth can either help or harm the development of your baby.
How much weight is normal and healthy to gain during a pregnancy?
Normally, your baby will gain seven or eight pounds; but the rest of your body gains weight as well to help prepare for childbirth and the early stages of motherhood. For instance, your uterus needs to expand, and will gain around two pounds. Your breasts will enlarge, allowing one or two pounds of weight gain as well.
It’s important to know that not every woman is the same, and weight gain depends on your weight range prior to pregnancy.
According to the Institute of Medicine, if you are in a normal weight range, starting your pregnancy with a BMI between 18.5-24.9 you should gain 25-30 pounds. If you’re underweight, with a BMI less than 18, you'll want to gain 28-40 pounds.
If you’re not gaining enough weight, your baby can be born premature, small for gestational age. If you gain an excessive amount of weight, some of the same things can happen.
What can you be doing in order to make sure you’re gaining the right amount of weight?
In the first trimester, an extra 100 calories per day should be consumed. In the second and third trimester, an extra 300 calories is needed.
Nutrition manager and contributing editor at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Nora Saul, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, debunks the myths of weight gain during pregnancy and what a healthy weight gain should be.