Weight Gain in Pregnancy – I should gain how much!?

With the beauty of pregnancy comes a whole lot of changes.  Emotionally, you and your family are preparing for a new life to enter the family you already know and love.  You may have to prepare a space in your home for baby to sleep.  Physically, your body is changing so it can support another life. 


During the first trimester you may not be worried much about weight.  How could you possibly gain weight when you can’t keep anything down?

Once out of the first trimester, you generally start to feel better.  You are noticing a bump and trying to figure out how to dress it.  During all these changes and adjustments, you might forget about your weight change until you have an appointment with your OB or midwife.  You might be hesitant to get on the scale, but the nurse assures you that you are supposed to gain weight.  But what does that really mean?


How much weight should I gain?

If you are a healthy weight going into your pregnancy, you should expect to gain 25 to 35 pounds.  Now this can vary dependent on your weight prior to pregnancy.  You might gain a little bit more, and you might gain less. 



Where does that weight go?


It sounds like a lot of weight to gain when an average sized baby is 7 ½ pounds.  Where does it all go?

baby weight.jpg


Blood – Your blood volume increases by 4 pounds when you are pregnant.  This increase helps support your uterus, placenta, and baby.


Breast Tissue – Add an extra 2 ½ pounds to adequately produce milk for baby.  You will likely need new bras when you need maternity clothes. 


Placenta – Shockingly, the placenta is only 1 ½ pounds.  The placenta is an amazing temporary organ that supports baby while you are pregnant.


Stored Fat – Your body creates 8 pounds of stored fat for milk production.  It is your number one goal to keep baby thriving.  Stored fat insures milk production in times of low food supply.  Naturally, your body stores that fat in your bottom and hips.  Expect to wear your maternity pants post-delivery.


Amniotic Fluid – 2 pounds of fluid for baby’s swimming pleasure and protection.


Other Fluids – An extra 4 pounds.  Increased in blood volume leads to an increase in fluid over all.  Make sure you stay hydrated!


Uterus – Add 2 pounds of pure muscle.  The uterus expands to accommodate baby.  It is muscle used to push baby out when the time comes.


How much extra should I eat?


You’re eating for two now!  This is the saying we often hear when it comes to food and pregnancy.  But it is important to remember that your body is amazing.  Your digestive system will ramp up its functionality and will absorb more nutrients out of the food you already eat.  You still need to eat high quality, nutrient dense food.  You only need an extra 200 calories in your second trimester and an extra 300 to 400 calories in your third trimester.  Do your best to choose a healthy option for your extra calories.  An extra snack consisting of an avocado or a piece of fruit and some nuts is a good option. 

Is it okay for me to lose weight?


If you are in a situation in which you need to lose some weight due to health concerns, pregnancy is not the time for this.  Ideally, it would be best to lose the weight and restore health before becoming pregnant.  If that is no longer a possibility, do your best to eat a balanced and nutrient dense diet with limited processed foods. 


It is not ideal for you to lose weight while pregnant for a couple of big reasons.  The first is that it is important to provide baby with proper nutrition to grow.  Baby need adequate protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals to develop properly.  You provide these nutrients through your diet.  Second, fat stores toxins.  Your fat cells will shrink and release toxins when you lose weight.  It is not a good idea to release toxins into your blood stream that feeds your baby while you are pregnant. 


How long will it take me to lose the weight after I have baby?


If it took 9 months to put on, it should take 9 months to come off.  Most importantly, be kind to yourself.  The transition into motherhood can be beautiful and messy at the same time.  Your baby knows you and loves you.  Your baby knows your body and loves your body.  You should love your amazing, powerful, strong body too! 

 Continue to eat a balanced, nutrient dense diet.  You are still feeding baby, so it is important to continue to eat healthy.  Breastfeeding requires extra an extra 500 calories!  Do your best to make them count.  During breastfeeding, it is not recommended to diet, cleanse, or lose weight quickly.  Remember, as fat cells shrink, they release toxins into your blood stream.  Those toxins will cross into your breast milk.  Concentrate on eating healthy and feeding baby and the weight will slowly come off before your baby turns one. 


If you have any questions about your diet and weight gain, talk to your OB or midwife.  And of course, you can always call your Cedarburg Chiropractor. 


- Dr Camille Berger