According to Sister Juriet Niewoudt who runs the Genesis Ante-Natal Clinic, women should gain on average between 12.5kg to 15kg during their pregnancy. She adds that the appropriate weight gain for each woman should be based on her body mass index (BMI). Click here to calculate your BMI.
While moms-to-be don’t always feel very comfortable near the end of their pregnancy with their bigger pregnant bodies, there are some positives to gaining those extra kilos when you’re expecting.
1. You need extra energy during pregnancy
There will be extra demands on your body during pregnancy. Plus you’ll need extra energy to sustain the growth of the foetus and placenta, to add to your fat reserves, to balance the energy used by your elevated metabolic rate and for the work you do carrying your baby. “Your calorie intake should be increased by 1200 kilojoules per day,” says Sister Niewoudt.
2. Too little weight gain can cause complications
Too little weight gain in pregnancy can cause complications like pre-eclampsia and low birth weight babies. “It’s never a good idea to start a weight loss diet during pregnancy as this could lead to Ketosis (burning of body fat). The by-products of Ketosis could cause damage to the baby,” explains Sister Niewoudt.
However, too much weight gain increases the risk of complications in delivery and over weight babies also have a higher rate of complications immediately after birth.
3. You can blame it on the cravings
Cravings during pregnancy are usually an indication of an unbalanced diet. “Craving certain foods, whether it be salty, sweet or non-nutritive elements like soil, dirt or soap, is an indication of a mineral or vitamin deficiency,” says Sister Niewoudt. “It’s important to follow a balanced diet during your pregnancy or to at least take a pregnancy multivitamin to help your body deal with the extra demands pregnancy has on it.”
4. Your breasts will get bigger
You’ll finally have a cleavage (if you didn’t have one before). You can expect the girls to pick up between 400g – 900g during pregnancy. “As oestrogen levels in your body increase, fat gets deposited in the breast in preparation for breastfeeding. New ducts and cells are also formed in the breasts as a result of the increased oestrogen and progesterone levels,” explains Sister Niewoudt.
5. You’ll lose 5kg when you give birth
You can expect to lose the following weight immediately after birth:
Baby: + – 3.4kg
Placenta and Membranes: + – 700g
Amniotic Fluid: + – 900g
When will my tummy return to its normal size?
“It takes up to six weeks after your baby is born for your uterus to “shrink” back to its original size, and for the increased blood volume to have decreased back to normal,” says Sister Niewoudt. However your stomach might still be enlarged after the six weeks due to your abdominal muscles being stretched during pregnancy.
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