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Melissa Little

Msc RD, Pediatric and Antenatal Dietician. She is a spokesperson for the British Dietetics Association on TV and in print. Member of the parliamentary group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood at Westminster for the UK Government.
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Maintaining a healthy weight in pregnancy

What is the normal pregnancy weight gain?

Some mums worry they're putting on too much weight during their pregnancy - and others worry they're not putting on enough to help their baby grow. There are guidelines on the appropriate amount of weight to expect to gain during your pregnancy, and the appropriate amount to be eating.
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In Short
For the first 6 months of pregnancy, you don't need to eat any extra.

For the last 3 months, you need only 200 extra calories a day - equivalent to 2 pieces of fruit.

You don't need to eat "for two".

For a single baby, expect to gain around 12-16 kgs or 25-35 pounds.

Try to reach an ideal weight before you become pregnant - that is, with a BMI between 18.5 - 25. This will also help you become pregnant if you are trying to conceive.

Normal Pregnancy Weight Gain

Weight gain is something that pregnant women worry about a lot. Some women worry that their bump is too small and they are not putting on enough weight and some women worry (generally for body image reasons) that they are putting on too much weight.

Over your pregnancy, you will need to put on weight and this is not just ‘fat’. You are growing a baby and in order to do this your uterus will grow, the placenta will grow, your baby will produce amniotic fluid, you will make more blood and of course there is the weight of the baby. All these healthy and vital aspects of pregnancy will cause you to put on weight.

However, for the first six months of pregnancy you do not need to eat any more calories than usual and in the last three months, you only need to eat an extra 200 calories a day which is just equivalent to small healthy snack. It is especially important to avoid empty calories such a sugary fizzy drinks and lots of cakes and biscuits and also carry on with 30 minutes of light exercise a day unless your doctor has told you not to exercise for a specific reason.

There are no official UK guidelines regarding weight gain during pregnancy, however, dietitians and doctors tend to adopt the American guidelines which say that generally, every woman should gain around 12-16 kilogrammes, or 25-35 pounds during their entire pregnancy if they are carrying one baby. You should gain more if you were underweight when you became pregnant and more if you are carrying twins.

Up to 1 in 5 British women are obese when they become pregnant. Ideally, if you are overweight (with a BMI over 30) it is recommended that you lose weight before getting pregnant as being at a healthy weight would reduce your risk for various pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and stillbirth. There is also evidence that your baby may be at increased risk of later health problems during their life (these are called intergenerational health problems).

If you do feel like you’re not gaining enough, or you’re gaining too rapidly, it’s important to talk to your health visitor or GP to assess why this may be the case.

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DISCLAIMER
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.