Ah, the old wives tales about eating for two. We’ve all heard the sayings before, but are they true?
Like you, there are many excited new mothers out there who are not quite sure what to eat, and what foods they should give their new little member of the family during their pregnancy.
Questions about pregnancy foods and weight gain are undoubtedly a big concern for every new mommy.
- Can the baby eat the same food I’ve been eating, should I change my diet completely?
- What about pizza? Do I really have to give up pizza?!
- Am I supposed to gain 35 pounds? I’ve never been this heavy before in my entire life.
But one question that new mothers often overlook: what is a normal amount of weight gain for pregnancy?
Am I gaining too much, what if I’m not gaining enough!
How much weight am I supposed to gain…
It Depends On Your Weight Before The Pregnancy
In 2009, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published updated guidelines on weight gain for pregnancy. The last update before that happened way back in the 1990s.
The guideline gives tips for expecting mothers and is intended to serve as the handbook for having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
The table below shows the expected amount of weight gain during pregnancy for a range of women. The table is based on pre-pregnancy weight, or what your BMI was before you were carrying.
Usually, “you should gain about 2-4 pounds during the first three months, and a pound per week throughout the rest of your pregnancy. ” This is the average amount reported by the helpful and knowledgeable obstetricians at WebMD.
It should also be noted that your weight before can affect your baby negatively in several ways.
“The more overweight you are before the pregnancy, the higher your chances are of requiring a c-section.”
Also, “if you are already overweight, it will be more difficult to lose weight post-birth and there is a greater chance that your child will become obese or overweight in the future”.
If you are underweight before the pregnancy, there is a higher risk of a preterm or low-birth-weight baby which can cause breathing, heart and digestive problems for your newborn.
The amount of weight you should gain will ultimately depend on your weight before you were pregnant.
Keep in mind that the chart above is just a guideline, you should regularly discuss weight management during pregnancy with your obstetrician or regular physician.
Where Does Extra Baby Weight Come From?
It might feel like all of that extra weight is coming from the tiny little baby growing inside your belly, but that little guy or girl only accounts for around 26% of the total weight you’ll gain during pregnancy.
“Much of the weight gained is extra fluid (water) in the body and your own protein and fat storage. The extra fluid is needed for things like the baby’s circulation, the placenta, and amniotic fluid.”
The diagram below is a more detailed description of where specific pounds originate from.
diagram of a woman within the normal BMI range(18.5 – 24.9)
Just remember that all the excess weight is important for your baby, it will support his/her growth and development.
Most of the weight will also come off a few months after you give birth, you will have plenty of time to get back to looking like the old you.
How To Gain Weight During Pregnancy
Contrary to popular belief, you should not eat unlimited amounts of snacks and junk food to satisfy all of those midnight cravings.
Whatever you decide to eat, you are also feeding that to your baby and possibly giving them harmful, unnatural substances.
You may find yourself wanting to eat weird things that you never even thought about eating before you were pregnant. I’ve even heard stories of women having the sudden urge to eat cigarette butts, yes the old dirty cigarette that goes in your ashtray. She attributes it to a thing called pica which is linked to an iron deficiency.
Rachel S said she was really craving Margaritas, but opted for sour gummy worms instead.
Whatever your craving is, try to stick to natural and healthy foods that will supply your child with all the essential vitamins and nutrients.
The trusted health information website Medline Plus recommends that you eat more foods that are high in good fats:
- Fatty fish
- Olive oil
If you are feeling hungry and in the mood, to snack, you can go for healthier options like peanut butter, trail mix, yogurt, cheese, carrots, apples, and other fruits and vegetables. The best way to do this is by leaving the unhealthy snacks on the supermarket shelf. This will make it a lot easier when you have the urge to start munching because the potato chips and Nutella will be way out of sight.
Sara G Miller, a popular science writer at livescience.com stresses the importance of getting enough calories during your pregnancy and making sure you eat the appropriate foods.
Many health professionals also recommend eating several smaller meals throughout the day, rather than 2 or 3 giant meals because you may already be experiencing heartburn, nausea or morning sickness.
You can help to reduce morning sickness by waking up and getting some food in your stomach, even if you don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning having food in your stomach can minimize nausea.
Can I Exercise While I’m Pregnant?
Did you think that exercising while pregnant would be a bad idea, couldn’t all that movement hurt the baby?
Actually, no. In fact, working out during pregnancy is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as long as you are healthy.
They suggest that you try to get in at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise on most days of the week.
Moderate exercise would be things like walking and light swimming. No high impact or risky sports, in other words, don’t decide you suddenly want to take up sky diving or swimming with sharks.
Before you start hitting the treadmill though, make sure to get approval from a doctor.
For certain conditions such as heart disease and asthma, it might not be advisable that you work out at all during pregnancy.
Congratulations On Your New Treasure
Whether this is your first, second, third or eighth child(Hello Octomom) I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate you on the immense joy you are about to receive. Hopefully, I was able to answer all the questions you had about weight gain for pregnancy. In addition to the tips I’ve provided, you should also consult with a doctor who specializes in childbirth and pregnancy weight before making any serious changes to your diet or lifestyle.
If you aren’t pregnant now or planning on having a child anytime soon and just stumbled across this article it would mean a lot to me if you share it with someone you love. This will allow me to continue writing about information that I found helpful and that will help others with questions that they need answering. If you have any other questions, thoughts or concerns leave a comment down below in the comments section and I will get back to you.