When you’re pregnant, your appetite often increases to allow you to eat for two. Consequently, some pregnant women also tip the scales significantly: original weight plus added weight from food plus baby’s weight plus placenta, breast build-up, fluids, etc. all add up to sometimes surprising weight values. To serve as a guideline, there are medically prescribed weight-gain amounts for every period of pregnancy to ensure the health of both mom and baby. According to the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway, too little weight gain could cause premature delivery, low birth weight, or restriction in fetal growth inside the uterus. But too much weight gain can lead to the following risks:
difficulty in assessment and measurement of the fetus
extra backaches, increased fatigue, and leg pain and varicose veins for the mom
difficult (or impossible) vaginal delivery due to the baby’s large size
difficult surgery, such as cesarean
section, and more common postoperative complications
difficulty in shedding excess weight after pregnancy
Dr. Prudence Aquino, OB-gyne at the St. Luke’s Medical Center, says, “The average weight gain should be one to two pounds per week from the second trimester onward.” She adds that weight gain doesn’t usually happen during the first trimester. “Sometimes, we even see some weight loss at the start.” What’s safe and sensible? Murkoff, Eisenberg, and Hathaway write that average weight gain should total approximately 1.35 to 1.8 kg during the first trimester. For the second trimester, it should be about 450 g a week, or a total of about 5.45 to 6.35 kg. And finally, during the third trimester, weight gain should continue at a rate of about 450 g per week for the 7th and 8th months. Weight gain should taper down to 450 to 900 g—or even no gain at all—for the final month.
You must be thinking that it’s a lot of hard work to keep within these numbers all the time. And thankfully, experts say that it’s okay to fluctuate a little. The important thing is to keep your weight gain steady, avoiding sudden increases or drops. Get your OB-Gyne’s evaluation if you experience too much gain or loss, abrupt fluctuations, and no gain for more than two weeks in a row during the 4th to 8th months.
Click here to read on about computing your BMI (body mass index).