I’m pregnant for the first time (four months along) and am concerned about the weight I am gaining. I spent most of my 28 years trying to stay fit and keep the weight off, but now I’m gaining what for me is too much weight. How much should I be gaining, and will I be able to lose it after the baby arrives?
It’s great that you care about keeping fit. Pregnancy can be a challenging time for women who have always been concerned about weight gain. Be assured, a healthy pregnancy requires weight gain and giving up a slim figure. On the positive side, it can be quite liberating to give yourself permission to gain weight and enjoy the temporary changes in your body’s topography.
Most healthy women should expect to gain about 25 to 35 pounds for the entire pregnancy. Underweight women should expect to gain a little more; overweight women should anticipate less weight gain. In the first three months of pregnancy, weight gain should be minimal (3 to 4 pounds). In the latter half of pregnancy, you can expect to gain about a pound a week.
It’s important to remember that pregnancy is NOT the time to diet. You will need an additional 300 calories a day to provide adequate nutrients for you and your baby. Eating healthy foods (fruits and vegetables, adequate protein, whole grains and plenty of dairy) should be your main focus, rather than the weight you are gaining. Exercising regularly is also important and can help you feel healthy throughout the pregnancy.
There will be some initial dramatic weight loss in the weeks following the delivery, but it will likely take many months to reach your pre-pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day and may help you achieve your goals. But once again, adequate nutritional intake and exercise should be your focus.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.