Pregnancy should be a joyous time in a woman’s life, but it comes with plenty of questions, from what the baby’s gender will be to whether you should have a natural birth, and many more. Women often wonder whether about how much weight they should gain during their pregnancy, but the answer varies, and is largely dependent on the mother-to-be and her pre-pregnancy weight. Most women, though, taking “eating for two” too far, as a government report from 2015 found that nearly half of all American mothers gained more than the recommended amount of weight during their pregnancies. On the flipside, only 20% of women gained too little weight during their pregnancy. The good news is that a skilled obstetrician can guide you on your weight gain during pregnancy and help you keep it in check.
Why Pre-Pregnancy Weight Determines How Much Weight You Should Gain While Pregnant
You may have heard the term body mass index, or “BMI,” and the number attached to it. Women who are in the “normal” weight category, which of course, is ideal, should usually gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. However, many overweight and obese women conceive (in fact, most American women of childbearing age are overweight), and they must follow stringent guidelines from their obstetrician to avoid a longer labor and more difficult delivery. It can also make it harder to lose excess weight gained during pregnancy after the baby is born.
Unfortunately, women who are overweight or obese have an increased risk for complications, including necessary C-sections, developing gestational diabetes, and even dangerous high blood pressure (preeclampsia). You can safely control your weight during pregnancy, but it will take hard work and following your doctor’s orders. You should monitor your weight, so you gain no more than 3 pounds in any given week in the second trimester, or if you gain more than 2 pounds in any week during the third trimester.
Overweight and obese women should gain much less weight than women of a lower body mass index. In fact, women who have are overweight, which equates to a BMI of between 25 and 29.9, should only gain 15-25 pounds, and no more than half a pound per week during their second and third trimesters. Obese women whose BMI is 30 or higher should gain no more than 20 pounds during pregnancy. These weight parameters are adjusted for women carrying twins or multiples.
Of course, it can be very difficult to follow the formula to the letter. After all, a pregnant woman’s hormones are in constant flux, and there are weeks when her self-control waivers and intense cravings kick in. Try not to stress too much over what the number reads on the scale, and instead keep your overall gain on target and ensure you make it to all of your OB/GYN prenatal appointments to ensure your health and the health of your baby-to-be.
How Many Calories Should I Eat While Pregnant?
You likely have heard the above-mentioned phrase, “eat for two” while pregnant. Unfortunately, this myth was perpetuated in the 1970s and has since shown to be an exaggeration. You should not double your caloric intake. Instead, you should add about 300 additional calories per day, and in the final trimester, you should consume 500 more calories per day than you did pre-pregnancy. Your doctor can help you determine your appropriate caloric intake based on your pre-pregnancy weight and overall health.
If you are interested in learning more about Soza Weight Loss, contact us today at (504) 475-9817.