Nearly half of U.S. moms gain too much weight during pregnancy, according to a new U.S. government study. The research found that only about a third of women gain the recommended amount of weight, and about a fifth gained too little.
Putting on too much weight during pregnancy can be harmful to both mom and baby. Unfortunately the saying ‘eating for two’ is not about eating twice as much food, but rather eating twice as healthy. You only need about 350 to 450 extra calories during your second and third trimester.
So, how much weight should you gain during pregnancy?
Suggested overall weight gain during pregnancy is determined according to your BMI (Body Mass Index – your weight in kilogrammes divided by your height in metres squared). Research indicates that underweight women (with a BMI less than 18) should gain 15 to 20kg; women of normal weight (with a BMI of 18 – 25), should gain between 10 and 17kgs; those who are overweight (with a BMI of 25 – 30) should only gain between 7kg and 12kgs; and obese women (with a BMI of 30 and greater) should only gain between 5kg and 9kg.
Gaining too little weight increases the risk that your baby will be born very small. Too much weight can lead to obesity and other health problems for you. It can also lead to dangerous complications during labour and delivery.
Eat sensibly, get some light exercise, and interpret cravings healthily. If you’re retaining too much water, or if your weight gain is excessively low, chat to your doctor or midwife. They’ll advice you on how much weight you should be gaining and if your baby is developing properly.
Once your little one is born, breastfeeding will burn calories, and you’ll probably be so wrapped up in being a mom, that a few extra kilos won’t matter. When you’re ready, you can take your baby for gentle walks, and soon you’ll be running after a busy toddler.