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It is normal to gain weight during pregnancy as your baby begins to grow. However, it is not just due to the growth of your baby that you are gaining weight. Your body is developing an extra body tissue, including larger breasts and uterus, which includes placenta, extra fluid and blood.
While it is important that you eat well during pregnancy, so as to give your baby a healthy start, the 'eating for two' concept is a myth. Such a mind-set will only lead you to gain excess weight during pregnancy, which you may find difficult to shed later on. Here's what you should know about pregnancy weight gain and how to manage it.
Factors That Influence Weight Gain During Pregnancy:
While majority of women gain 12 kg to 16 kg during pregnancy, your weight gain during pregnancy may be influenced by the following factors:
• Your weight gain during pregnancy may depend on your pre-pregnancy weight too. For example, if you were underweight before pregnancy, you may need to gain a little more. On the other hand, if you are overweight, you should manage your weight gain cautiously.
• If you are carrying twins, there will be a deviation from the ideal weight gain during pregnancy.
• During early pregnancy, when you are going through nausea and morning sickness, you may initially lose some weight, and once you are out of the sickness symptoms by four months into pregnancy, you may begin to gain weight.
• It also depends on pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and your daily energy intake.
What Should Be The Ideal Weight Gain During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, you may gain weight in the three trimesters. But you should be aware about the ideal weight gain during each trimester. This is because, the weight gain during pregnancy, may bear an impact on the health of mother and the baby.
During the beginning of pregnancy, it is essential to check your Body Mass Index (BMI), and depending on that, you can continue to plan a healthy weight gain schedule. The BMI is a measure of the body fat, depending on your height and weight, and it helps in determining whether you are underweight, normal or overweight.
To find your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by height in metres squared, and you will get your BMI. Else, make use of the online BMI calculator to know the value.
If you belong to the healthy weight range during pre-pregnancy, then your weight gain should ideally be between 11.5 kg and 16 kg. This can be further split into 1.5 kg to 2 kg weight every month, until delivery. If your pre-pregnancy weight is more than the healthy weight range, you should gain less. Else, if you are underweight, you can gain more.
How To Manage Your Weight Gain During Pregnancy?
Irrespective of your weight, it is very important that you eat a healthy, nutritious diet which includes fresh vegetables, whole grains, and fresh fruits, apart from legumes, cereals, fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy products. This is because, these foods are safe to be consumed during pregnancy, and won't bother you with problems of excess weight gain.
Always check your diet for healthy nutrients, as it is essential for you and your baby to remain healthy. It will also help in giving your baby a healthy start with enough iron, folic acid, calcium, iodine and protein.
Meanwhile, you should incorporate regular moderate exercises such as walking, and pregnancy exercises. If you are a yoga-enthusiast, speak to your doctor and your yoga instructor about the appropriate exercises that can help you in keeping your body flexible, without adding the extra kilos. But, ensure that you do not over-exert yourself.
Strictly avoid deep fried foods, frozen foods, fatty and sugary foods and drinks.
It is necessary that you drink about two litres of water a day, as early pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness could get you dehydrated. Therefore, talk to your doctor or health professional if you are unable to retain enough fluids.
Gaining the ideal weight during pregnancy is an important aspect. While gaining excess weight than the normal can lead to certain health consequences for the mother and the baby, such as the risk of gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders and pre-term delivery, a low weight gain can also lead to low-birth weight in babies.
Therefore, it is important that you discuss this important aspect in pregnancy with your doctor, and go through regular antenatal check-ups to assess the ideal body weight. However, do not stress too much about your weight. Eat healthy, rest well, remain active and follow your doctor's advice on managing your pregnancy weight gain, and keeping it on the healthier side.