Weight gain during your pregnancy

Gaining weight during pregnancy is completely normal, it happens to everyone. But what is healthy, normal weight gain during your pregnancy? And is pregnancy and a diet a good combination?

Weight gain during pregnancy

Although weight gain during pregnancy is a major fear for some women, it is completely normal to gain some weight during pregnancy. Weight gain during pregnancy has a number of causes. In early pregnancy, the body is busy storing fat in preparation for milk production and breastfeeding. In addition, the placenta, the amniotic fluid and of course the baby itself also cause an increase in weight . These last three factors are together responsible for more than half of your weight gain. Finally, the body produces more blood during pregnancy, which also causes extra weight. As your pregnancy progresses, your appetite will automatically increase.
Even though you will be with two people during your pregnancy instead of on your own, you do not have to eat for two. On average, a pregnant woman’s energy needs increase by 15 percent. In practice, this amounts to approximately 500 calories per day.

Normal weight gain during your pregnancy

It is very difficult to give a general guideline for weight gain during pregnancy , because everyone is different. Most women gain approximately between ten and fifteen kilos during pregnancy. If you were already a bit heavier before your pregnancy, you will often gain less weight on average than women who are a bit lighter. Your weight gain will be closely monitored by the midwife during your pregnancy. This is important because very rapid or slow weight gain can indicate problems.
Weight gain during pregnancy generally occurs gradually, with some ‘growth spurts’ here and there. Roughly five stages of weight gain can be distinguished:

  • 0 to 12 weeks: 10 percent
  • 13-20 weeks: 25 percent
  • 21-28 weeks: 45 percent
  • 29-36 weeks: 20 percent
  • 37-40 weeks: 0 percent

In the first trimester of pregnancy you hardly gain any weight, usually only about 1 to 2 kilos. During the second trimester you will gain about 6 kilos and during the third trimester you will gain another 3 to 4 kilos. In the last weeks of pregnancy, most women barely gain any weight.

Pregnancy and diet

Although some women find it very difficult to see that they are gaining weight, pregnancy is a very bad time to go on a diet. Mothers who follow a strict diet during pregnancy are more likely to have a miscarriage and have a baby with a low birth weight. There is also a greater chance that the baby will die shortly after birth. Nevertheless, it is wise to only eat what you and the baby need during pregnancy. Although you will lose a large part of the weight after giving birth, it can be very difficult to lose excess kilos.

After birth

You have already lost some of the weight gain during childbirth: the weight of the baby, the amniotic fluid, the placenta and the membranes. Together this weighs approximately 5 kilos. You will lose some of the remaining kilos automatically within a few weeks, while the rest may require a little more effort. Once you have given birth, you must first give your body plenty of time to recover from the traumatic event. Then you can slowly start with some light exercises to strengthen your muscles. Important muscle groups that deserve some attention are the abdominal muscles, the back muscles and the most important: the pelvic floor muscles. Although eating less may seem tempting, it is wiser to lose weight through exercise . During dieting, toxic waste products are released which can end up in breast milk. Moreover, you immediately train your muscles with physical exercises, but dieting alone will not tighten your stomach.

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