Weight is a sensitive issue for many women, but weight gain during pregnancy is natural and healthy! When you become pregnant, you’re no longer responsible for just yourself. The foods you eat (or don’t eat) can affect your developing baby, so it’s important to adopt a healthy attitude about food and weight gain. Remember that, as a general rule, it’s better to gain 2 kilos (5 pounds) more than your doctor recommends than 2 kilos/5 pounds less. Your developing baby needs lots of nutrients, and you should listen to your body’s cues.
How Pregnancy Weight Gain Works
Most of the weight you gain during pregnancy isn’t from the baby itself, but from the placenta, supportive tissue and amniotic fluid associated with the baby. Thus, after giving birth, you will probably still look pregnant for a few days or weeks as your body gradually readjusts to not being pregnant. Weight gain during pregnancy helps to protect your baby, encouraging proper brain development and protecting against birth defects.
Low birth weight is one of the best predictors of later health problems, so you should avoid diets and exercises that cause you to rapidly lose weight. Thin women tend to gain more weight during pregnancy. However, even if you are overweight, you should not lose weight during pregnancy.
Average Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Most women gain 10-20 Kilos (25-30 pounds) during pregnancy, though very thin women may gain more and very heavy women may gain less. Pregnancy requires an additional 200-500 calories a day, so you’re not really eating for two, though you should be eating extra. During the first trimester, weight gain is minimal, and thereafter, pregnant women tend to gain anywhere from 300gm-500gm (1-3 pounds)per week.
Healthy Weight and Weight Loss
Exercising during pregnancy can make childbirth easier and can also help you lose weight more quickly after you give birth. Similarly, breastfeeding has been demonstrated in several studies to speed up the rate of post-pregnancy weight loss, in addition to providing a host of health benefits to babies. Focus on getting high-quality nutrition during pregnancy, and strive to get low-impact aerobic exercise such as walking, yoga or swimming several times each week.
It can be difficult for many women to accept the changes pregnancy brings to their bodies, so bear in mind that these changes are an investment in your baby’s health. The weight will soon be gone, and your healthy, happy baby will have you to thank if you eat a balanced, nutritious diet rather than focusing on weight loss during pregnancy.