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Gaining pregnancy weight is a natural part of healthy baby growth. Those extra pounds help fetus development, and they are your body’s way of creating ideal birth conditions. However, gestational weight gain often raises questions about appropriate weight levels. It’s essential to understand the impacts of healthy weight gain to ensure a productive pregnancy.
What is pregnancy weight gain?
It may seem like an obvious question, but pregnant weight gain is much more than your baby’s weight. Maternal body changes are a sign of thriving development. You have many new parts developing, such as blood volume, fluids, breast tissue, and a whole new organ (also known as the placenta). Depending on the person, this can add about 25 to 30 pounds. These crucial additions make a hospitable environment for your baby, who wouldn’t be able to grow without them.
How does pregnant weight gain vary between people?
There is no clear-cut answer to how much pregnancy weight you’ll gain. However, you and your physician can estimate by considering unique factors. These include genetic components, starting weight, and how many fetuses you carry.
“The more we find out about diet, nutrition, lifestyle, and medicine, the more we understand the number on the scale is more than consumed calories,” said Megan Ames, Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) at SCL Health’s Bloomin’ Babies Birth Center. “There are so many things that contribute to how your body looks and feels, even before getting pregnant.”
So, how much is too much pregnancy weight?
We know what you’re thinking; there must be a healthy weight gain threshold. Of course, it’s possible to gain too much pregnancy weight, just like it’s possible not to gain enough weight. But instead of getting caught in the numbers, focus on the whole picture. Are you active? Do you work a lot? What food is in your fridge? Establishing these baselines can help progress healthy pregnancy weight.
“If a client’s weight is trending higher than we would like, we identify if there’s a knowledge deficit,” said Ames. “We remind them of risks with high weight gain, not to be punitive, but to be informative. There are risks like hypertension, having the baby early, prolonged labor, and diabetes.”
How can I get my pregnancy weight back on track?
Scheduling regular provider visits are critical during pregnancy and provide an opportunity to discuss weight concerns. “We hope that clients feel connected with us enough to be honest about their social, mental, and physical health,” said Ames. “We want to communicate that the goal is for both mother and baby to thrive.”