Managing Weight Gain during Pregnancy
What is the right amount of weight to be gained in pregnancy?
The right amount of weight to be gained in pregnancy depends upon the weight of the woman as she enters the pregnancy.
Underweight woman – to gain 11-12kgs
Normal weight woman – 9-10kgs
Over weight woman – 7-8kgs
Obese woman – not more than 7kgs
The weight gained should be the result of a high quality diet that leads to gradual and consistent weight gain throughout the pregnancy.
Where does the weight gain go?
If the baby born is only 2.8 -3kgs in weight, why do we gain all these extra kilograms. Foetal growth is accompanied by increase in the mothers blood volume, fat stored, breast size and uterus size, all of which contribute to the weight gained. In addition water accumulates in the amniotic fluid, which cushions and protects the foetus. Lastly the placenta (tissue which transfers the nutrients from mother’s blood to the foetus) also adds to the total weight.
One of the biggest myths to be broken is that of eating for two in your pregnancy. This concept often leads to people eating and over eating and gaining20-30kgs in their pregnancy. Please be aware that you are not eating for another adult inside your womb but you are eating a little extra for a tiny little baby.
Also elders in the family who keep insisting that a lot of food and fat in the form of ghee, sweets, etc. must be eaten in pregnancy must realize that the young mothers of today are not doing any physical labour as they may have done in their pregnancy years ago. 20-30 years ago they may have had to clean their ancestral large home as well as work in the kitchen and also draw and carry water, etc. Their calorie burn would have been much higher and they would have required to eat much larger quantities of food than we need now.
Secondly our elders would have been between 18-25 years of age in their pregnancies with high metabolism whereas the average age for pregnancy now is 25-35 and our metabolism’s are much lower at this age so we require much less food.
Finally most of us live in small houses or apartments, we have transport facilities and don’t have to walk much and those who are working are mostly sitting all day so physical activity is very less.
Therefore young mother to be must develop the habit of walking at least 25-30 minutes daily. In the final trimester they should try to walk 20 minutes in the morning plus 20 minutes in the evening to keep fit and not become obese before they deliver.
Today many pregnant women are obese and having high B.P, high sugar and thyroid problem in their pregnancy which could seriously harm the foetus.