Within a span of few weeks to months a young charming girl transforms into a pregnant lady with all those extra fat layers which she least wanted especially on her belly. Is it correct to inflate ourselves like a balloon during pregnancy; absolutely not! Pregnancy is a state of change in metabolic homoeostasis. The extra calories requirement is not that eating for two but just an extra 300Kcal/day. Secondly all that you gain is not fat but lot more things like the baby (2.5 to 3.5 kg), placenta (0.5 to 1kg), amniotic fluid (1 to 2 litres), enlarged uterus (0.5 to 1.1 kg), larger breasts to accommodate lactation later on, increased blood volume (1 to 1.8 kg) and the increase in fat stores is only 0.8 to 4 kg. Also, the weight gain is not uniform. In fact, in the first three months, women tend to lose weight because of nausea and vomiting. It is okay to lose 3-4 kg in these three months but if the loss exceeds this we need to take remedial measures. It is not mandatory to suffer simple measures like small frequent meals, plenty of liquids and drugs like a combination of doxylamine and pyridoxine bring reasonable comfort levels.
When does a pregnant woman begin to gain weight?
It is actually the second and more so the third trimester (last three months) that you actually should gain weight. The Logic behind is the average weight of a baby at the end of six months is only 700-800 gms. It is in these seventh, eighth and ninth months where the baby actually gains weight. Remember our oldies taking extra care during eighth month of pregnancy. It is so because the baby doubles its weight from 1.2 to 2.5 kg in the 8th month. So our grandmas were actually correct. But the parameters of normal weight gain differs for every lady depending on her BMI (Body Mass Index). For example if you are underweight and your BMI is <19.8 the recommended weight gain is 12.7 to 18 kg/pregnancy or 0.5 kg/week after the 3rd month. In contrast if you are obese with BMI>729, the recommended weight gain is 6-8 kg in pregnancy i.e. only .3kg/week on an average healthy woman with BMI of19.8-26 the recommended weight gain is 11.5 – 16 kg/pregnancy and in overweight women (BMI 26-29) is 7-11.5 kg/pregnancy.
[BMI = weight(kg)/Height(m2)]
Tips to ensure that your pregnancy weight gain is healthy
To have this steady weight gain i.e. 1-2 kg/month from fourth month onwards we need to follow certain tips.
Eat six meals – In pregnancy we recommend six meals per day i.e. early morning snack, breakfast, healthy snack, lunch, healthy snack and dinner.
Drink up loads of water – Water intake should be 10-12 glasses per day.
Eat right and healthy – For the extra appetite opt for fruits, salads and high protein supplements like milk, chana chaat is recommended. Choose these healthy options for your snacking requirements and ditch the junk food.
Exercise regularly – Also regular exercise like walking, cycling is also beneficial. The excessive weight gain predisposes us to various complications like high BP, gestational diabetes mellitus and increased risk of operative delivery.
More so it is a tedious and difficult job to lose this after delivery. So let’s all gain weight during pregnancy but appropriately and adequately for healthy outcomes.