Many women dread stepping on a scale, so the monthly, and then biweekly, and then weekly weigh-ins at the doctor’s office can be a bit disheartening as the numbers creep slowly upward. However, weight gain in pregnancy is a good and necessary thing. On average, women need to gain between 25 and 35 pounds if they are carrying one baby. However, this number varies quite a bit depending on the woman’s pre-pregnancy weight and BMI.
BMI (basic metabolic index) is a ratio of your height compared to your weight and can be used as a general assessment of your body composition. Its major limitation is that it cannot take into account whether your weight is mostly fat or mostly muscle. There are many BMI charts and calculators available online; however, it is fairly simple to calculate. Take your weight in kg and divide it by your height in meters squared.
If your BMI is less than 18.5, you are considered underweight and should gain 28-40 pounds during your pregnancy.
If your BMI is 18.5-25.0, you are considered to be of ideal weight and should gain 25-35 pounds.
If your BMI is 25.0-29.0, you are considered to be overweight and should gain 15-25 pounds.
If your BMI is greater than 29.0, you are considered to be obese and only need to gain 11-20 pounds.
If you are pregnant with multiples, your goal weight gain will be higher.
However, muscle mass and other circumstances may need to be taken into account, so it is a good idea to double-check your goal weight gain with your doctor.
While 25-35 pounds sounds like a lot, it can be easily obtained with out splurging on ice cream and chips.
● Calories are the most important factor in determining birth weight and maternal weight gain. Most women do not need to increase their caloric consumption until the second trimester when an additional 340 calories per day are needed, and 450 extra calories are typically needed in the third trimester.
● Protein: the recommendation is 1.1 g/kg/d, which is slightly higher than the non-pregnant woman (0.8 g/kg/d)
● Carbohydrate: recommendation is 175 g/d (130 g/d for non-pregnant women)
● Fat: intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids appears to have a positive effect on neurodevelopment, while trans-fatty acids may have adverse effects on fetal development.
Do your best to eat a variety of nutritious foods in moderate serving sizes and from all of the food groups. Some women find it easier to eat five or six small meals a day rather than three larger ones, but as long as you are able to get enough calories from healthy foods, your nutrition status should be sufficient to support a healthy baby.