Weight during pregnancy

It is very normal to gain weight during pregnancy. It’s even healthy. Of course, you have to be careful that you don’t gain too much or too little. But how much weight gain is still healthy and why? And what weighs so much?

  • Don’t eat for two!
  • How much weight do you need to gain?
  • What causes the weight?
  • How to arrive quickly?
  • After birth
  • Consequences of excessive weight gain
  • Consequences if weight gain/weight loss is too small

 

Don’t eat for two!

In the past, it was often said that you should eat for two. However, this is very wrong. It is true that your body uses more energy than normal, but the baby is still very small and does not consume nearly as many nutrients as you do. Eating for two therefore results in obesity. However, you should continue to eat as healthily as possible. Make sure you get enough of all vitamins and minerals, so that you and your child do not lack anything. If this is not possible with your daily diet, there are also vitamin supplements specifically for pregnant women. This is very useful, because the RDA (=Recommended Daily Allowance) of the nutrients and vitamins changes when you are pregnant. A good example is the required amount of folic acid. It is very important to meet these RDAs, because this reduces the risk of spina bifida in your unborn child. For more information, you can ask at the pharmacy or drugstore. When you take vitamin supplements, it is still important to eat as healthy as possible. In addition to vitamins and minerals, food contains many more useful components.

How much weight do you need to gain?

It is very natural to gain weight during pregnancy. Even if your diet does not change, it is very normal and healthy to gain about 11 kilos. That which together weighs 11-12 kilos is necessary to bring a healthy baby into the world. The minimum weight gain is usually 9 kilos and the maximum is 12 kilos. Previously, 14-16 kilos were often used, but due to various studies into the consequences of weight gain during pregnancy and the consequences for the next pregnancy, it is recommended not to gain more than 12 kilos. Of course, the recommended weight gain varies per individual. The less you weigh, the less you can gain during pregnancy and the more you weigh, the more. For personal advice, you can ask your midwife(s).

What causes the weight?

There is no need to be alarmed if you gain weight during your pregnancy. With a weight gain of 12 kilos, there is only 3 kilos of fat. This fat serves as a fat reserve and is therefore necessary for a healthy pregnancy. The rest of the weight is shown in the table below. The numbers may vary slightly per person.

Baby

3.5 kilos

Uterus

1.0 kilos

Placenta

0.5 kilos

Breasts

0.5 kilos

Extra fat reserve

3.0 kilos

Extra blood

1.5 kilos

Extra fluid/amniotic fluid

2.0 kilos

 

How to arrive quickly?

If you have already gained 12 kilos in the first month, that is of course unhealthy. In the beginning of pregnancy you should only gain a few kilos at most. Everything is still so small that you hardly notice it in your weight. Only halfway through the pregnancy does the baby start to gain noticeable weight. Even towards the end of the pregnancy, little will change in your weight. Below is a rough overview of how much weight you will gain and when during your pregnancy. The numbers may vary slightly per person.

0-12 weeks

0%

13-20 weeks

25%

21-30 weeks

50%

30-36 weeks

25%

37-40 weeks

0%

 

After birth

If you did not gain more than 12 kilos during pregnancy, it will not be difficult to lose it again. Immediately after giving birth you will have already lost about 5-6 kilos. During depregnancy, the rest also disappears. For example, the extra weight in your breasts will decrease when breastfeeding and/or weaning off breastfeeding. The extra blood is no longer necessary and therefore automatically reduces. Give your body time to recover. If you have gained more weight than necessary, it will of course take some extra effort to get back to your old weight.

Consequences of excessive weight gain

If you are underweight, it is important to first reach a healthy weight before you become pregnant. Gaining a lot of weight during pregnancy increases the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. This reduces the chance of a natural birth and increases the risk of pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure and stillbirth or miscarriage. Excessive weight gain also increases the risk of high birth weight and childhood obesity in the child. Dieting during pregnancy is strongly discouraged. During dieting, waste products are released that are bad for the baby. So try to maintain an eating pattern that is as healthy as possible.
If you weigh more after pregnancy than before pregnancy, it also has consequences for the subsequent pregnancy. It is important that you regain your old weight after pregnancy. A Swedish study was conducted among 150,000 women with a normal weight. If they had already gained 3 kilos after pregnancy, this increased the risk of high blood pressure. The risk of gestational diabetes was increased by 30% and the risk of a child with a high birth weight was also increased. Even the chance of a stillborn child or a miscarriage was greater.
This also applies to women who enter pregnancy with excess weight.

Consequences if weight gain/weight loss is too small

If you have gained too little weight, there is a 280% increased chance that your baby will have a birth weight that is too low. There is also a 30% greater chance that the baby will be born prematurely . Even the next pregnancy has consequences for a weight difference. An Irish study showed that women of normal weight who had lost weight between pregnancies increased the risk of premature birth. We are talking about the situation in which someone weighs lighter after pregnancy than before pregnancy. If she becomes pregnant again at that time, the risk of a premature baby increases. It is therefore important for an overweight woman to lose weight before the first pregnancy.
If you are afraid that you are gaining too much or too little weight, ask your midwife(s). They can check it and inform you.

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