What should be the weight gain during pregnancy


Weight gain for a woman expecting a baby is an inevitable process. It should be understood that this is based on the growth of the fetus, placenta, the appearance of a blood network in the uterus, and hormonal changes in women. Of course, the layer of adipose tissue also increases for the physical and energetic protection of the child. What should be the normal weight gain during pregnancy – we will figure it out in this article.

What is the optimal weight gain during pregnancy?

Today, there is a lot of discussion about how much weight a pregnant woman should gain. To dispel all doubts, a team of researchers from medical universities in Guangxi, Hong Kong, Sun Yat-sen, and Wuhan decided to establish a relationship between weight gain during pregnancy and the health of newborns. The study lasted for four years, and more than 15 million pairs of “mother-child” participated in it.

Pregnant women with different BMI participated in the study, and their average age was 28 years. On average, women gained about 14 kilograms during pregnancy. 9% of the children were found to have diseases of various systems and organs at birth: it is noteworthy that most of the children with pathologies were born to mothers suffering from obesity. As a result of observations, it was found out what weight gain should be for pregnant women. JAMA Network published their conclusions:

  • a pregnant woman with a body mass deficit and a weight within the norm can afford to gain 12-25 kg;
  • 10-20 kg – a woman with excess body weight;
  • 8-16 kg – if a woman has been diagnosed with the first stage of obesity;
  • 6-16 kg – the second stage of obesity;
  • 6-10 kg – accordingly, the third stage.

To optimally gain weight without harming your health and the well-being of the child, let’s consider the criteria for normal weight gain during pregnancy by weeks.

Weight gain in the first trimester

There are no radical changes in a woman’s weight during the first three months. The embryo is at the early stage of development, so the healthy weight gain varies from 0.5 to 1.5 kg. However, it is extremely important during this period to determine the woman’s constitutional characteristics, calculate her exact weight, height, and BMI. This stage is the foundation for the weight gain in the following trimesters, two of which the expectant mother still has to face, without being burdened by deficiency or excess.

Weight gain in the second trimester

The second trimester is marked by a more impressive increase in kilograms: it is acceptable to gain up to 300 grams per week after the fourth month. A woman may gain weight due to fluid retention – in this case, attention should be paid to the presence of edema. If, on the other hand, she does not gain these 300 grams, it may be due to morning sickness, which can exhaust a woman at the border of the first and second trimester. Such nuances should be communicated to the doctor. Taking into account physiological individualities, the specialist will determine the ideal weight gain during pregnancy.

Weight gain in the third trimester.

Weight gain in the third trimester is based on the rapid development of the fetus and placenta. Typically, physical activity decreases significantly in pregnant women in the later stages, while neuroendocrine processes become more active in a geometric progression. Normal weight gain during pregnancy by weeks in the final stage reaches a rate of up to 400 grams. The final three months are the most dangerous in terms of weight gain – pregnant women often succumb to weakness and stop controlling the amount of food they consume. This is due to increased nervous excitement associated with impending childbirth.

What are the dangers of excessive weight gain in pregnant women?

So, we have found out how many kilograms a woman gains during pregnancy within the normal course of it. Now we need to understand whether the consequences of significant weight gain in pregnant women are really dangerous. In search of an answer to this question, we turned to research by scientists from the Grossman School of Medicine at New York University. They studied the effect of rapid maternal weight gain on the activity of the fetal brain in the womb. The results were published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

The experiment involved 109 pregnant women with different BMI. The study was carried out using magnetic resonance imaging. Conclusions were drawn based on the work of groups of neurons, taking into account the BMI of the expectant mothers.

Studying more than 19,000 neural connections, scientists identified two areas of the brain where connections depended on the woman’s BMI.

The experiment’s leader, Dr. Moriah Thomason, commented on the results as follows: “Using millions of calculations, we were able to find a connection between a rapid increase in a woman’s weight and the activity of the fetal brain. Excess maternal weight can provoke cognitive deviations in the future for the baby.”

How to avoid excessive weight gain?

Domestic experts agree with the results of Western research and insist on systematic monitoring of weight gain during pregnancy by weeks. To make this task easier, you should:

  • Keep a food diary;
  • Monitor your body weight;
  • Avoid fried foods, spices, and salt in your diet;
  • Limit your intake of sweets to avoid gestational diabetes;
  • Incorporate the basics of therapeutic exercise into your routine.

To accurately calculate how much weight a pregnant woman should gain per month, this question should be discussed with the doctor who is managing the pregnancy. Based on constitutional indicators, specific physiological tendencies, and taking into account the diet, it is possible to calculate the ideal formula for weight gain without consequences for the figure after childbirth and complications for the fetus.

So, we have found out how much weight gain is recommended during pregnancy. Keep up the self-discipline, don’t give in to weaknesses, and stay in touch with your pregnancy doctor!

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