How much weight should you gain during pregnancy to have a normal delivery? Know about healthy weight gain

Pregnancy weight gain

Global studies reveal – 75% of pregnant women don’t have HEALTHY WEIGHT GAIN

An extensive new study has found 75% of women are not gaining a healthy recommended weight during pregnancy. The team led by Monash University researchers, studied more than 5,000 previous studies and analysed pregnancy data from three groups across Asia, the US, and Europe, but it was limited due to lack of studies from developing nations.

The study shows gaining too little or too much weight during pregnancy increases the risk of premature births or caesareans. Also, both obesity and excess gestational weight gain is also increasing. Study reveals that 23% of women did not gain the recommended weight during their pregnancy, and more than 50% gained too much. It was seen that the higher weight gain was seen more prevalent in western countries.

Other important findings included that 7% of women were underweight and 38% were overweight and obese at the time of pregnancy.

The study also shows that women who gain more than the recommended weight are at a higher risk of having large babies and require a caesarean birth. Women who are underweight at the time of pregnancy and who do not put on recommended weight have an 8% risk of having an underweight baby, and an 8% risk of a premature birth.

HEALTHY WEIGHT GAIN DURING PREGNANCY

Underweight women should gain 12.5-18kg
Healthy weight women should gain 11.5-16kg
Overweight women should gain 7-11kg
Obese women should gain 5-9kg
(Source: Department of Health)

Gestational weight gain more than or less than recommended is associated with higher risk of adverse maternal and infant outcomes.

Working toward a healthy weight gain

What is an ideal rate of gain? It varies from person to person. Ask your doctor what is the best plan for you taking your pre-pregnancy weight in consideration and what you weigh at this point in your pregnancy. A mom-to-be is generally advised to start at a healthy weight to gain a handful of pounds in the first trimester, followed by an average of a pound a week in 4th  to 8th month.

Here’s what you can do to get back on track:

  • Cut empty calories- You goal is not to lose weight, or even to stop weight gain. It is to slow it to a healthy rate. To do that, start substituting nutritionally empty calories with ones that have the most nutritional value. As nutritious foods tend to fill you up faster and keep you full longer than junk foods. You will consume fewer calories plus, you will also be feeding your baby better.
  • Make some replacements. You would be surprised how a few simple shifts can fix your pregnancy diet, slowing your gain to a healthy speed. You should not deprive yourself of anything, just substitutions can help. Have your cereal with skim milk instead of regular or low-fat milk because 2% has nearly as many calories as whole; choose fresh or frozen fruit instead of dried; opt for baked fries instead of having french fries; replace the mayo in your sandwich with mustard; go for frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. A substitution no woman should make during pregnancy, though is giving up carbs for a high-protein diet. Restricted diet is inappropriate during pregnancy as your baby needs balance.
  • Size up your food- Too many calories, no matter where they come from, can add up to too many pounds. So take care of those serving sizes. A serving of meat or poultry should be about the size of a computer mouse. Go for foods that fill up your stomach and match your baby’s nutritional requirements while adding negligible calories.
  • Trim the fat- The most concentrated source of calories is fat. For a healthier pregnancy weight gain, reduce the consumption of foods with high fat. Maximum one to two servings, preferably from unsaturated sources, but do not cut it out altogether. There is a reason they call them “essential fatty acids.”
  • Get moving- If you have got the green signal from your doctor, proceed  to the gym, or for a walk, or go to prenatal aerobics class. Regular cardio workouts will, among other pregnancy benefits, help you stick to your weight-gain target.