Gaining weight during pregnancy is very important to reduce the possibility of stretch marks, backaches, fatigue and shortness of breath. And it helps the baby in getting adequate amount of nutrition to grow. After the delivery of the baby, the mother will have enough stored nutrition in the form of excess weight gain, which can be used to breastfeed the baby.
The extra weight gained by pregnant mother goes in nourishing the fetus and forming the breast tissues to feed the baby after birth.
The total excess weight needed, is used in:
1. Increasing the baby's weights (7-8 pounds (3-4 kg)), placenta (2-3 pounds), amniotic fluid, the breast tissues and the blood supply.
2. The fat stored in mother's body is needed for breastfeeding. It may weight 5-9 pounds.
3. The increased size of uterus may weight 2-5 pounds.
The excess weight gained during pregnancy can be totaled to 25 pounds to 35 pound i.e. 11- 12 kg.
A women who is underweight before pregnancy should gain 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy, and the women who are healthy should gain 25 to 37 pounds weight during pregnancy. Women who are obese should have a low weight gain.
A woman can aim to gain 3 to 5 pounds in the first trimester, and in the second and third trimester, she can gain weight approximately one to two pounds per week.
Women who are underweight may need to gain more weight and overweight women can gain one to two pounds in the first trimester and one pound per week in the subsequent trimester.
Weight gain in case of multiple-pregnancy: If the woman is carrying more than one fetus, her need for weight gain increases but she should gain weight as per the instructions given by her physician.
Women may find it difficult to gain weight during the first trimester as she suffers from morning sickness. Some pregnant women even feel, they lost weight during the initial 4-8 weeks of pregnancy but gaining low weight during the first trimester is not harmful for the development of the baby. Because the baby does not need more calories during the initial few weeks but as the gestational age of the baby increase, the need for extra calories increases. But women should avoid losing weight during pregnancy to prevent fetal loss.
A proper balanced diet should be taken by expecting mothers to provide appropriate amount of minerals and vitamins to the growing baby.
Weight gain during pregnancy should be regulated and mother should not gain excess weight because it can cause leg pain, backaches, fatigue and increase the chances of gestation diabetes. The mothers who are obese may have difficulty in getting the heartbeat of the baby and if the fetus is large, she may find it difficult to have vaginal delivery. The fetus should not be bigger than an appropriate size because a heavy baby can be delivered only through a c-section and a baby low in weight may suffer from malnutrition or cause premature delivery.