Pregnancy: Where does your weight gain come from?

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Pregnancy: Where does your weight gain come from?
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Gaining weight during pregnancy is inevitable, but it can differ from one woman to another.  You shouldn’t become obsessed by your extra pounds.  Each women has a different body shape which will affect the likelihood of gaining weight.  All the same you should keep healthy, exercise and eat balanced and varied meals. 

Weight gain over the trimesters

Gaining weight is staggered over the three trimesters of pregnancy:

  • During the first trimester: Try and only put on a maximum of a kilo per month. Expectant mothers who are suffering from severe morning sickness can keep their pre-pregnancy weight.  They may suffer problems such as a lack of energy.
  • In the second trimester, you can gain up to 1.5 kilos;
  • However in the last trimester, the baby is starting to have hungry appetite so you can gain up to 2 kilos per month.

These figures are only a rough guide.  So you can have a better understanding of the weight you can gain during your pregnancy, you should refer to your BMI.

BMI: A useful tool for determining your ideal weight before and during your pregnancy

Your weight before pregnancy will determine your ideal weight during your nine months of pregnancy.  The Body Mass Index is an effective referential indicator.  For you to calculate your BMI you should divide your weight (in kilos) by your height (in metres squared):

BMI = weight [kg] ÷ (height [m])²

For example, if you measure 1.70 m and weigh 65 kilos, the calculation will be as follows:
65 ÷ (1.70 x 1.70) = 22.49.

As a result, if your BMI is:

  • Less than 20 :  Your advised weight gain is between 12.5 and 18 kg ;
  • Between 20 and 25 : Your advised weight gain is between 11 and 16 kg ;
  • Between 26 and 29 :Your advised weight gain is between 7 and 11.5 kg ;
  • More than 29 :Your advised weight gain is between 6 and 7 kg.

You can also read: BMI for children: everything you need to know about growth charts

How the weight is divided during pregnancy

Here is a rough guide as to how your weight is divided when you are expecting a baby:

  • Baby: 3.4 kg ;
  • Uterus: 0.9 kg ;
  • Amniotic fluid: 1 kg ;
  • Placenta : about 0.5 kg ;
  • Blood volume: 1 to 1.5 kg ;
  • Water retention : 15 kg ;
  • Breasts: 0,5 kg ;
  • Fat reserves (in preparation for breastfeeding) : 3 kg.

Watch out for too great a change

A great weight gain during pregnancy can lead to complications.  Indeed it is possible to develop gestational diabetes or arterial hypertension.

In contrast, there are also dangers with under-eating during pregnancy:  In cases of malnutrition, the baby can be born small and weak.  You should always seek advice and guidance from your doctor and you mid-wife about your situation.

Finally you should be aware that it may take between 6 months and a year to lose any accumulated weight gained during pregnancy.

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