Why Do You Gain So Much Weight When You’re Pregnant?

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Weight gain and pregnancy go hand in hand and it is expected that a woman who becomes pregnant to gain between 25 and 35 pounds. Although we normally do not desire to gain this much weight in such a short period of time, pregnant women understand that this is an important part of being pregnant and producing a healthy baby.

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But, what are the reasons behind this rapid weight gain? Since babies are usually rather small when they are born, gaining 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy may seem strange. Many people have the misconception that this much weight gain must mean that the mother ate too much while she was pregnant. This statement is untrue and it is important for pregnant women to understand this.

1. Reasons for Weight Gain when pregnant

A normal, healthy pregnant woman should expect weight gain in the following areas:

  • The baby – 6 to 8 pounds
  • Uterus, placenta and amniotic fluid – 6 pounds
  • Additional weight in breasts – 2 pounds
  • Fat stored for the nutrition of the baby and for breastfeeding – 7 pounds or more

Most women know that they should gain weight while being pregnant. However, many do not understand the risks involved with not gaining enough weight or by gaining weight through unhealthy means.

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Underweight pregnant women have been shown to have a higher risk of premature women, a baby who is underweight or even a number of other pregnancy complications. For this reason, doctors tend to monitor a woman’s weight carefully while they are pregnant and will often suggest changes to diet or nutrients that a woman is consuming.

Likewise, it is also important for women to gain weight in a healthy manner. Women who store fat on unhealthy items are more likely not to produce the nutrients that their baby needs at the most critical times. This also can lead to birth defects, pregnancy complications and premature labor.

2. Staying healthy in the first trimester

So, when you are pregnant, how do you ensure that you are gaining the proper amount of healthy weight without going overboard? For women who are having extreme issues with morning sickness or nausea during their pregnancy this may become quite an issue. Some have even found that they need to be admitted to the hospital in order to have the right nutrients administered to their baby.

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For most women, however, morning sickness passes after the first trimester and they are then able to begin feeding their babies from their own diets. There are many things that these women must keep in mind when planning their pregnancy diet and they must be careful as to the specific foods and drinks that they put into their bodies during this critical time.

3. Calorie intake while pregnant

For example, you should eat more calories when you are pregnant, but those calories should come in the form of healthy foods such as foods high in healthy fats. These foods can be items such as hard cheeses, nuts and healthy grains. It is important that you avoid sugary snacks during this time as well.

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Eating snacks is also an important part of maintaining a healthy weight while you are pregnant. These snacks can be items such as guacamole or hummus, but you should also stick with healthy choices for snacks as well. What you drink is also important to your pregnancy.

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Pregnant women should stay away from alcohol and high amounts of caffeine. Although some small amounts of caffeine are ok during your pregnancy, drinking water is really the best course of action while you are pregnant.

4. Set aside your worries on gaining weight

Some women are hesitant to gain weight while they are pregnant and may even try to avoid it altogether. However, this is not the time to worry about your overall weight. It is more important to maintain a healthy weight for the health of your child.

If you are pregnant, be sure that you are following your doctor’s instructions carefully. Straying too far from proper weight gain can be detrimental to your pregnancy.

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Many people have misconceptions about weight gain and pregnancy. They sometimes believe that becoming pregnant means that you can simply eat whatever you want because you are now eating for two.

However, it is extremely important to maintain a healthy diet and a low stress exercise program while you are pregnant. It is best that you discuss your diet with your doctor so that you can make the appropriate changes in order to keep your baby healthy.

Why Do You Gain So Much Weight When You’re Pregnant?, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

Larissa Belanger, RN

Ms. Belanger has 20 years of experience in women's healthcare and nursing, including labor and delivery, postpartum and antenatal. She is passionate toward improving both maternal and fetal outcomes of high-risk obstetrics patients.