Weight Gain During Pregnancy

As soon as a woman announces that she is pregnant, all well-meaning relatives, including her mother and mother-in-law, take up her diet as a personal project! She is told to eat ‘for two’. To deliver a healthy baby they feel that she should put on a lot of weight.

On the other hand most of us would like to gain the minimum possible so as to to accelerate post-partum weight loss. Too much weight gain is also associated with labour complications and possibly a caeserian delivery.

So, how much weight should you gain during your pregnancy?
All women put on weight differently depending upon their body type and their pre-pregnancy weight. Generally weight gain should be between 12 – 15 kgs.

This weight gain, typically, can be approximately broken up as follows: –

Blood volume
1 kg

Breast volume
1 ½ kgs

Uterine enlargement
½ kg

Fetus
3 kgs

Placenta & amniotic fluid
1 kg

Mother’s weight gain
5 kgs

You don’t need any extra calories in the first trimester of the pregnancy and only 300 extra calories every day of the second and third trimesters. That’s far from “eating for two”.

Expert view
In the normal course an Indian women requires 1800 calories daily. During pregnancy this increases by another 300 calories. Not only the diet should be increased but what component of the diet to increase is also important.

  • The requirement for calcium, proteins and iron is much more.
  • All vitamins and supplements are also needed more.
  • Milk and milk products should be taken at least 2-3 times a day.
  • Fresh fruits and green vegetables should be increased.
  • Carbohydrates and fats do not need to be increased.

For more views from The Expert

Mere weight gain is not enough. It is important to

  • Eat sensibly. Eat foods high in nutrients and low in calories
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Exercise regularly

Food Cravings
You can get all kinds of unlikely cravings during pregnancy. Lot of women go off their favourite food and start craving for foods they earlier disliked. All these changes and cravings are due to the hormonal changes in your body. Most cravings are not harmful and instead help to divert your mind especially as the last trimester stretches on. Infact this is one area the father-to-be can help – by fulfilling his wife’s cravings! So enjoy yourselves.
There is one type of craving that requires professional help. Some women are overcome by a craving to eat dirt etc. luckily, however, this type of cravings is extremely rare.

Related Links

Nutrition during Pregnancy
Exercise during Pregnancy
Looking after Yourself