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Weight gain during pregnancy

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 188 views

Many women are concerned with the topic of weight gain and pregnancy : How much weight can or should a mother-to-be gain? Should obese women gain less weight during pregnancy than normal-weight women? How does too little or too much weight affect the child? Read everything you need to know about weight gain and pregnancy here!

Pregnancy: weight gain by mother and child

In the first three months after conception, a pregnant woman gains very little weight. Some women even lose weight because they vomit frequently.

However, after the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman puts on quite a bit of weight. On the one hand, of course, the child is getting heavier, on the other hand, physical changes in the woman lead to weight gain :

Pregnancy: Table of the main reasons for weight gain
growing child 3 to 3.5 kg
increase blood about 1.2kg
amniotic fluid about 1kg
placenta about 0.3 to 0.6 kg
Muscles of the placenta (myometrium) about 1kg
uterus with contents 3.9 to 4.5 kg
water retention in the tissue 2 to 2.5 kg
breast augmentation about 0.8kg

Optimal weight gain: pregnancy

Current recommendations for healthy weight gain are usually based on the woman’s pre-pregnancy weight. To do this, the woman’s body mass index (BMI) is calculated as follows:

Body weight (in kilograms) divided by height squared (in square meters)

Example: A woman weighs 60 kilograms and is 1.65 meters tall. The square of the height is therefore 1.65 x 1.65 = 2.7225 square meters. The weight divided by this value gives the BMI, i.e. 60 : 2.7225 = BMI 22.

The BMI value is evaluated according to the following scale:

  • Underweight : BMI below 18.5 kg/sqm
  • Normal weight : BMI 18.5 to 25 kg/sqm
  • Overweight : BMI 25 to 30 kg/sqm
  • Obesity ( obesity ): BMI from 30 kg/sqm

Pregnancy: how much weight can I gain?

For a woman of normal weight, the optimal weight gain is 10 to 16 kilograms. Underweight women should gain a little more weight at 12 to 18 kilograms. Experts advise overweight women to only gain 7 to 11 kilograms, and not more than 6 kilograms if they are very overweight.

Gain weight slowly!

Gaining pounds too quickly is not advisable for pregnant women. After the woman’s weight hardly changes in the first three months, between 250 and 300 grams per week should be gained in the fourth to sixth month. From the seventh month pregnant women should not gain more than 400 grams per week.

By the way: The doctor often creates a weight curve from the regularly measured body weight of the pregnant woman for a better overview.

Pregnancy: Eating for Two?

Pregnancy and the growing child cost the mother’s body energy – but not as much as many suspect. Depending on physical activity, energy consumption in the second trimester of pregnancy only increases by around 250 kcal per day. This corresponds, for example, to a plate of vegetable soup with noodles or a slice of wholemeal bread with sliced ​​cheese (40% fat in dry matter) and a tomato. In the third trimester, energy intake then increases by 500 kcal per day.

Pregnant women should therefore not consume double portions, but eat in moderation. In this way, you can avoid gaining weight too quickly and too much during pregnancy. If the child gains too much weight, it could become diabetic, i.e. develop diabetes mellitus . Therefore, eat regularly, with variety and a balanced diet to take care of your health and that of your child.

Pregnant women with a little too much or too little on their ribs usually have nothing to worry about. As part of medical prenatal care, their weight and the condition and well-being of mother and child are regularly checked. The doctor will also advise the expectant mother individually if her weight is too high or too low.

Pregnancy: waist circumference

Pregnancy means that a new person grows in the womb of the mother. It goes without saying that this does not go hand in hand with a flat stomach – even if current ideals of beauty also envisage slim model measurements for pregnant women. But don’t let that put you under pressure! It is normal and above all necessary for your belly and weight to gain during pregnancy.

In addition, pregnancy lasts only a few months, and after childbirth , the woman usually loses weight steadily. Sport and a balanced diet help. It is therefore better to think about your child’s health than about supposed ideals of beauty which – if lived out to excess – can endanger both your health and that of the child. You are pregnant – showing your belly is nice!

Dangers in pregnant women who are overweight or underweight

The unborn child only receives everything it needs for healthy development from the mother. Severe underweight can therefore impair the development of the child: the offspring does not get enough nutrients and is born with a low birth weight. There is also a risk of premature birth .

Being overweight can also cause damage. The risk of gestational diabetes is increased in overweight pregnant women. Extreme weight gain during pregnancy itself can also make you diabetic. The child can also get diabetes if the mother was overweight before the pregnancy or if she gained too much weight during the pregnancy.

Complications can also occur during birth if, for example, the child has become very large and heavy due to oversupply.

Weight gain & pregnancy – the bottom line

Nutrition plays a huge role in your own health and that of your child. Therefore, eat a balanced and regular diet, but not excessively – make sure you gain a healthy weight. Pregnancy is a wonderful experience in a woman’s life. Enjoy the time and take care of your well-being and that of your child! 

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