Pregnancy Weight Gain: How Much Will I Gain?
If you are like many other pregnant people, you may be worrying about how much weight you should expect to gain during pregnancy. Recommended weight gain depends on several factors, however. Many begin to see the numbers changing on the scale and worry how much more they can possibly add on.
The recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy depend on the person’s body mass index, or BMI, prior to conceiving. For someone who is considered to be in a healthy BMI range, the recommended amount of weight gained during pregnancy is between 25 and 35 pounds, or approximately 1-5 pounds in the first trimester and about a pound per week for the remainder of the pregnancy. For those who are considered overweight for their height, the recommended weight gain is 15 to 25 pounds and if obese, the weight gain recommended is between 11 and 20 pounds. For someone who conceived while underweight, they expected weight gain would be around 28 to 40 pounds. For someone expecting twins, the recommendation is 37 to 54 pounds if starting at a healthy BMI, 31 to 50 pounds if overweight, and 25-42 pounds if obese. For those who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, there is a completely different recommendation for weight gain, so be sure to talk to your doctor.
So where does it all go? We all know that babies are not 25-35 pounds, so where does all this extra weight get distributed? An average sized baby is approximately 7 to 8 pounds with a placenta of about 1.5 pounds. During pregnancy, there is a 4 pound increase in fluid volume, 4 pound increase in blood volume, and about 2 pounds of amniotic fluid. The weight of the uterus expansion accounts for about 2 pounds, breast tissue increase of about 2 pounds (causing an increase in cup size by 1 to 2 cups), and 7 pounds for maternal stores of fat, protein, and other nutrients.
After pregnancy when the breasts begin to fill with milk, this can actually cause the breasts to change by another 1-2 pounds! After about 8-12 weeks, however, they reduce to about 1 cup size larger than they were pre-pregnancy. A common myth surrounding breastfeeding is that it will cause the breasts to sag after weaning. This is actually not caused by breastfeeding and is actually linked to smoking cigarettes, BMI, the number of pregnancies one has had, and simply aging.
If you are someone who stresses about weight, try looking away when the nurses put you on the scale at your doctor’s office and ask them not to tell you. Remember to eat a good variety of healthy foods and exercise regularly. Taking an easy walk or a prenatal yoga class are wonderful, low impact ways to move your body during pregnancy.