Average weight gain during pregnancy can vary from woman to woman. It’s important to discuss this matter with your doctor instead of using a specific weight as a goal. Equally important is that you not try to lose weight during your pregnancy and that if you note weight loss you bring this to your doctor’s attention.
Typical weight gain during a pregnancy will be about 25 to 35 pounds (11.34-15.88 kg). If you are underweight prior to getting pregnant, doctors may encourage you to gain a little more than this, perhaps as much as 40 pounds (18.14 kg). This is because in addition to putting on the weight of your growing baby, your body also needs to create some fat stores for nursing and the rigors of delivering a baby. These stores alone can count for about 5-9 pounds (2.27-4.08 kg) of total weight gain.
If you start a pregnancy overweight, a doctor may encourage weight gain during pregnancy that is lower because you already have some fat reserves for labor and nursing. You might be asked to keep weight gain during pregnancy between about 15-25 pounds (6.80-11.34 kg). It’s not always the case that you can keep weight gain requirements where they ought to be, but some moms err in thinking they have to double their calories to meet their growing baby’s needs.
Most additional calorie requirements can be met by eating an extra 100-400 calories a day. If you already have a healthy diet, you might add one more meal or snack to it. When your diet needs improvement, consult with your doctor about the best diet choices for you that will not leave you hungry but won’t have you eating more than you need.
Some women worry that it will be hard to shed weight gained while pregnant. It can help if you plan to breastfeed afterward because this is often thought one of the best and healthiest ways to shed extra pounds, and it’s healthy for your baby. The amount you gain that has gone into fat storage is usually used up by the rigors of new parenting and by the baby’s demand for food. Once you’ve recovered from labor and depending on your doctor’s advice, you can start exercising again too, which will help take off any excess pounds.
During pregnancy, many women are encouraged to pursue at least light exercise, which can help avoid extra weight gain during pregnancy. This is fine as long as your doctor says so. Sometimes women with high-risk pregnancies are asked not to begin exercise until later in their pregnancy or are asked to avoid strenuous exercise when they reach a certain point. Don’t compensate for lack of exercise by starving yourself. It’s important that you continue to nourish your changing body with adequate and healthy meals.