All you need to know about pregnancy weight gain…
So, I weighed myself yesterday.
I shouldn’t have.
We all know that pregnancy is a time in your life when you are going to put on weight, a fairly substantial amount of weight, in quite a short time, but that still never prepares you for when you do step on those scales.
Most of us will spend our adult lives fluctuating in weight in and around a 7-14lb ‘zone’.
The ‘skinny’ to ‘fat’ zone!
I have lived my adult life somewhere in between my ‘skinny’ weight of 8st 12 and my ‘un-skinny weight’ 9st 9lb. I can live with, but not always appreciate, any number falling within these two.
I will state here that I am only 5ft 2in (if I’m feeling tall that day!). Being short means that you notice every single pound. They may not sound like big numbers, but I don’t have far to distribute it all!
I stepped on the scales yesterday, 28 weeks pregnant, and didn’t like the number looking back at me. 11st 7lb. Not out of the ordinary for pregnancy weight gain, but still a shocking number for my brain to comprehend.
I had stopped weighing myself since I was a couple of weeks into my pregnancy.
The first trimester was not kind to my weight. A combination of giving up smoking, being ravenously hungry and it being Christmas made me pile on the weight rather rapidly. Like 1lb a week rapid. The kind of pregnancy weight gain you expect during your third trimester, not your first.
I tried being good. I tried to limit what I was eating. But eventually, I decided (as it was mostly just making me stressed and miserable) to give in, eat what I was fancying (in the quantities I wanted!) and not worry about my weight.
Hence the total abandonment of facing the scales.
I don’t know what made me want to jump on those scales, curiosity I guess, but I knew it wasn’t my best idea!
I don’t think it was so much the number that fazed me. It was the realisation that the weight that I am at 28 weeks is more than the weight I was at 40 weeks when I was pregnant with Lil’Mem.
In all fairness, I was probably half a stone heavier when I fell pregnant this time around, but this didn’t really enter my brain’s thought process.
It was mainly calculating that I should probably be expecting to gain around a pound a week for the rest of my pregnancy. Given that I have 12 weeks to go, that means about 12 lbs left to gain, nearly another stone. That would mean roughly a total weight gain of 3st during this pregnancy.
A whole extra stone to my pregnancy weight gain with Lil’Mem.
I didn’t like that thought, it seemed like a lot of weight.
Then, I started thinking about it, what did the pregnancy weight gain would actually mean for me?
Did I feel like I had gained lots of weight before I saw the number?
Was it doing me or baby any harm?
Was I going to be this weight forever?
Did it make me upset?
Was it worth worrying about?
Did it really matter at all?
No, was the answer to all of these questions.
No, I hadn’t noticed that I had put on any more weight than I had when I was pregnant the first time around. Even though I know my diet had been a lot less healthy, with a lot more trips to Pizza Hut, this time around!
No, it wasn’t harming me or baby. At my midwife appointment this week she said baby was the perfect size and there was no sign of gestational diabetes in my routine urine check.
No, I wasn’t going to be this weight forever. Eventually, baby will be born and I will lose a fair amount of weight in doing so, and breastfeeding usually takes care of the rest.
Eventually the extra weight will go!
By the time I was done breastfeeding Lil’Mem I was the lowest weight I have been since I was about 16. I hadn’t dieted in the slightest – I ATE LOADS!
No, it wasn’t upsetting me. I know that whatever my body is doing, it’s doing it for a very good reason. Growing baby and giving it what it needs to survive in the outside world.
For once in my life I had actually been listening to my body, feeding it what it wanted, exactly what I am meant to be doing. So no, it actually didn’t faze me at all.
And no, it didn’t really matter at all.
So, thus far I have continued; continued to not worry about my pregnancy weight gain. Continued to eat what I want, when I want it. And continued to believe that, as this is the last time I intend to be pregnant during my life, I should make the most of these precious times in a woman’s life, where it is completely acceptable to get bigger and bigger without anyone judging you.
Even if there are any people who do judge you can send them packing with a wonderful two-word phrase that begins with an F and ends with You!
So, how much weight should you gain during pregnancy?
Mostly it depends on what your pre-pregnancy weight was. Typical pregnancy weight gain is somewhere between 10kg and 12.5kg (22lb to 26lbs).
If you were underweight before you became pregnant you might expect to gain somewhere around 12.4 kg (1st 13lb) to 17.9kg (2st 11lb). If you were average weight, 11.5kg (1st 11lb) to 15.8kg (2st 6lb). If you were overweight, 7kg (1st 1lb) to 11.5kg (1st 11lb).
Don’t panic if you don’t fit into these bands, they are averages, not strict rules!
What trimester do you gain the most weight?
Typically, pregnant women tend to gain the least weight during the first trimester; baby is still tiny and morning sickness can make keeping food down a struggle. Some women may gain a couple of pounds and some may lose a couple.
During the second trimester, baby starts to grow rapidly and as it does so your weight should increase too. A second-trimester weight gain of 14lbs is about average.
Finally, during the third trimester, baby really piles on the weight!
Typically this means that you will too. However, during those final weeks, room in your abdomen might get a bit tight, so you may find that there isn’t much room for too much food. Subsequently, your weight gain might taper off.
A third-trimester pregnancy weight gain of 10lbs is about average.
I will highlight here that I have used the words ‘typical’ and ‘average’. This doesn’t by any means, mean that this will be what happens for you. When was the last time you met a ‘typical’ or ‘average’ person?!
I am very proud not to be typically average and so you should be too! I gained an average weight with Lil’Mem and am on track to have gained a lot ‘more than average’ with this baby.
I certainly gained more than a couple of pounds in my first trimester!
As long as your Doctor, Midwife or other care provider has no concerns, then I definitely feel that you should not have any either!
It is normal to gain weight on thighs during pregnancy?
Pregnancy weight gain doesn’t tend to distribute itself evenly, as regular weight gain would. It tends to accumulate around your hips, bum, and thighs.
The average pregnant woman will gain a 5th or more of the total pregnancy weight gain on her upper thighs.
They are your fat stores in preparation to feed your baby once it’s born!
Fear not though! The pregnancy weight gain on your thighs is the first fat store to go post-delivery.
How much weight gain is normal during pregnancy?
Your total pregnancy weight gain, again, depends on your starting weight.
If you were underweight before pregnancy, you should expect to gain between 28 and 40 pounds.
If you were a normal weight before pregnancy, you should expect to gain between 25 and 35 pounds.
If you were overweight before pregnancy, you should expect to gain between 15 and 25 pounds.
Please, please remember that these are ‘averages’! It doesn’t have to mean anything if you don’t fit into these numbers!
How can I avoid gaining weight during pregnancy?
Quite frankly, you can’t and you shouldn’t.
Pregnancy weight gain is made up of so much more than just fat! You need to gain weight during pregnancy for your baby to grow and develop properly.
You can, however, avoid excess pregnancy weight gain.
If you had a healthy lifestyle before your pregnancy, maintain it! If you were slightly less than healthy, then there’s no better time to start!
Make sure that you eat a healthy, balanced diet, drink plenty of water and undertake some form of regular, gentle exercise.
How much weight do you lose when you give birth?
Most women tend to lose around 13 pounds during childbirth. This includes the weight of your baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid.
Post-delivery, you will still have a lot of fluid to lose. It will gradually get removed from your body over several weeks post-delivery.
Don’t focus on how much you may or may not lose during childbirth – it won’t all disappear in that one moment!
What does pregnancy weight gain go on?
A full-term pregnancy weight gain of 30 pounds will tend to be made up of the following:
- Seven and a half pounds of baby
- Seven pounds of fat stores
- Four pounds of fluid
- Two pounds of breast tissue
- Four pounds of additional blood
- Two pounds of uterus tissue
- One and a half pounds of placenta
- Two pounds of amniotic fluid
See, it’s a lot more than just fat that your gaining! Remember that you’re gaining a whole half a stone of baby to start with!
Whatever rate of pregnancy weight gain you have or whatever total you end up with, don’t panic!
Focus on the fact that your body is doing something AMAZING! It is growing a whole human being!
There is no rush to loose the baby weight!
You will have all the time in the world to lose the weight once baby gets here. There is no rush to be back in your pre-pregnancy jeans!
Trust me on this one – you will miss those maternity jeans once they’re gone! Don’t rush to be rid of them. I have never in my life been comfier then when I was in my maternity jeans! I still long for them now (and secretly still have them in my wardrobe!)
If you want to do some more reading on pregnancy weight gain, please see the link to the NHS information here: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/how-much-weight-will-i-put-on-during-my-pregnancy/