Weight in Pregnancy

Weight gain during pregnancy is an absolutely physiological event and, if it remains within certain limits, fundamental for the good health of the baby and mother.

In the first three months of gestation, weight gain is mainly due to the accumulation of energy reserves (adipose tissue), necessary to guarantee the baby an adequate supply of nutrients in the last months of pregnancy. In fact, this is the phase in which the fetus grows more rapidly, concretely contributing to the weight gain of the mother.

The weight of the mother is important not only during gestation, but already at the moment of conception. Starting a pregnancy with the right weight and gradually increasing it at a moderate pace is in fact the best way to raise a child in an optimal way.

To find out in a few moments what your ideal weight is, we have prepared the following automatic calculation module, which together with the ideal weight also returns the recommended weight gain during the entire pregnancy.



Height

centimeters

Weight

Kg Your BMI is and it's Weight gain during pregnancy * Recommended indicative caloric intake (Kcal / day) min max * The increase must be gradual: in the first trimester it is minimal (about one kilo), while in the following months the body weight increases by 300-500 grams per week.

This graph shows the average fetal weight at different times of pregnancy. In the first months this increase is contained, so much so that it does not significantly interfere with the maternal weight. In this first trimester of pregnancy, the increase in maternal body mass is of limited importance and is essentially linked to the need to meet future fetal needs and physical preparation for breastfeeding.

The real weight gain becomes more evident starting from the fourth month, only to slow down in the last three months of gestation. In this phase, the increase in maternal weight is essentially due to the development of the fetus.

By way of example, we report the increase in the average body weight of the pregnant woman during pregnancy:

  • FIRST QUARTER: 1.5-2 Kg (500 grams per month)
  • SECOND QUARTER: 4.5-5.5 kg (350-450 grams per week)
  • THIRD QUARTER: 2.5-3.5 Kg (200-300 grams per week)

In absolute terms, an increase of about 12 kilos is considered normal throughout the course of pregnancy.

Importance of Constant Monitoring of Your Weight

For what reasons is weight control important in pregnancy?

The result provided by the calculation module above must be a guide, not a law. A slight deviation from the recommended values ​​is often physiological, but it is still advisable not to take it too lightly. The weight must therefore be checked regularly in order to understand any abnormal changes in time.For example, if the body weight rises more than 1 kg in ten days, it is advisable to consult a doctor, especially when this increase is accompanied by swollen and edematous hands and feet.

Both excessive gain and poor maternal weight growth require adequate medical checks.

An excessive increase would increase, for example, the risk of "macrosomal" fetuses (weighing more than 4 kg) with possible complications at the time of delivery. Overfeeding during pregnancy would also strain the pregnant woman's digestive system, with possible repercussions on the metabolic course of the fetus and baby (increased risk of childhood obesity).

On the other hand, reduced weight growth could indicate poor fetal nutrition or an ongoing pathology and consequently increase the risk of premature births and developmental delays, with repercussions of various kinds during later ages. Low birth weight is generally associated with higher fetal and perinatal mortality, increasing the risk of malformations and anemic states due to iron, vitamin A or vitamin B12 deficiency.

Nutrition for a reasoned increase in weight during pregnancy

Dietary precautions useful during gestation

Once the importance of constant monitoring of one's own body weight is understood, the pregnant woman should realize that, in this particular period of life, it is not necessary to "eat for two" as popular tradition advises, too sufficiently.

During pregnancy, the maternal organism must:

  • Build up the tissues of the developing fetus (3-3.5 kg), the placenta (500-600 g) and the amniotic fluid (1 kg);
  • Deposit reserve fats (about 3 kg);
  • Support the expansion of blood and interstitial fluids (2.5-3 kg) and the growth of breasts (400 g) and uterus (1 kg);

All this results in an increased need for energy and nutrients (the weights shown in brackets refer to the average weight of the respective anatomical structures at the end of gestation).

The increased metabolic demand is met on average through a daily supplement of about 250 calories, the equivalent of 100 grams of bread or a slice of apple pie. In any case, it is a good idea to obtain this energy from nutritious foods, rich, for example, in proteins of high biological value (meat, fish in moderation due to the possible presence of mercury and dairy products, rich, among other things, in calcium, a very important nutrient for pregnant women.) A good intake of fiber is important to combat constipation and haemorrhoidal problems that frequently occur during pregnancy.

Like weight gain, the extent of caloric intake also depends on the condition of the mother at the beginning of pregnancy:

  • An increase of 150-200 calories per day is recommended for a pregnant woman of normal weight;
  • An increase of 350-400 Kcal for an underweight mother;
  • For an overweight mother, an increase of 100-150 Kcal per day.

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