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Weight gain during pregnancy – how much is too much?

Here is what you need to know about weight gain during pregnancy.

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : October 9, 2014 5:07 PM IST

Pregnancy is the only stage in your life when weight gain seems natural. However, excessive weight gain even during pregnancy isn t a good idea. The reason being, too much weight can give rise to complications that can come in the way of a smooth labour. Nevertheless, weight gain during pregnancy is vital and necessary. It is also an important parameter that reveals a healthy development of the baby.

How much weight should one gain?

Weight gain during pregnancy should be consistent and gradual. Nobody knows exactly how many kilograms a pregnant woman should gain as it is very subjective. Moreover, it depends on various factors age, health conditions, body parameters and other requirements that decide how much weight she needs to put on during her pregnancy. On an average, a weight gain of 11 kg to 14 kg is said to be ideal.

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During the first trimester, weight gain is slow but consistent. During this phase, the major organ development of the fetus along with the placental development happen inside the womb. A weight gain of about 1 to 2 kg during the entire three months of the first trimester is ideal.

In some rare cases, it could also go up to 3 kg. However, with morning sickness and nausea being persistent during this phase, some women also end up losing weight. This raises concern among many, but be rest assured once the body gets adjusted to the changes, weight gain happens gradually. Here are some of the pregnancy symptoms and tests you should be aware off.

During the second trimester, a woman might gain 2 to 3 kg per month as the growth rate of the fetus increases. The third trimester also would see a rapid weight gain of 2 to 3 kg each month, keeping up with the growing needs of the fetus.

Are you on the right track?

It is important for a woman to put on weight as recommended, for good reasons. To know if one is gaining weight that spells good health of both the mother and the baby, one should plan it accordingly. One way to do it is by calculating the BMI or body mass index. Here is an easy way to calculate your BMI.

With a healthy BMI that ranges between 18 to 24, an average weight gain of 11 to 14 kg is ideal.

With overweight people, whose BMI falls in the range of 24 to 29, weight gain throughout the pregnancy should be managed promptly and should be in the range of 7 to 11 kg.

Underweight people with a BMI below 18 would need to ensure proper weight gain with an increase of 12 to 18 kg during pregnancy.

What are the complications of being overweight during pregnancy?

Overweight women are usually prone to gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, among others that could lead to complications in the fetus and make labour a tedious process. Often with condition like diabetes, the mother also has a tendency to nurture a big baby in the womb which can increase health risks for the fetus and the mother. Complications arising due to excess weight in the mother also lead to a C-section during labour making natural birthing difficult.

What are the complications of being underweight during pregnancy?

Putting on too much weight during pregnancy isn t a good idea either. Being underweight also has its set of complications. If the mother is underweight, it would lead to a low-birth baby at the time of delivery, it can increase the chances of preterm labour and result in infant death too. Apart from low body weight there are other factors too that can come in the way of conception, know the other culprits too.

Hence maintaining optimum weight during pregnancy is crucial, both for the maternal and fetal well-being.

Image courtesy:Getty Images

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