If you are plus-size and wondering whether you should gain weight during your pregnancy; the answer is, yes. However, the amount of healthy weight gain during pregnancy varies depending on your body mass index (BMI): less recommended weight gain for a greater BMI. Such weight gain is also influenced by the number of children you are carrying.
Therefore, your BMI is probably between 25 and 29.9, which is considered overweight. Alternatively, your BMI could be 30 or more, which is considered obese. Take note that this is a pre-pregnancy BMI measure.
Guidelines For Pregnancy Weight Gain
The following are guidelines for plus-size pregnancy weight gain as recommended by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (IOM):
1. Pregnancy weight gain for a single baby:
(i) For a pre-pregnancy BMI of 25 to 29.9, a weight gain of 15 to 25 pounds is recommended
(ii) For a pre-pregnancy BMI of 30 or more, a weight gain of 11 to 20 pounds is recommended
2. Pregnancy weight gain for twins:
(i) For a pre-pregnancy BMI of 25 to 29.9, a weight gain of 31 to 50 pounds is recommended
(ii) For a pre-pregnancy BMI of 30 or more, a weight gain of 25 to 42 pounds is recommended
The Process Of Pregnancy Weight Gain
As much as it is important to gain a certain amount of weight during pregnancy, the timing of this weight gain is critical. To start with, the first three months (trimester) would have only minimal weight gain. At this stage, you should not take extra calories in your diet. This is because the baby is still so small, regardless of the rapid growth and development that normally characterizes this stage of development.
In several instances, some women do gain weight in the first trimester due to food cravings or fluid retention. On the other hand, other women actually lose weight due to a reduced appetite.
During the second trimester, the baby’s increasing weight necessitates extra weight gain by the mom-to-be. In this period, plus-size moms-to-be (BMI of 24.9 or more) should put on about half a pound of extra weight each week.
Extra Calories To Eat During Pregnancy
In general, your diet should consist of nutritionally balanced, healthy meals. To cater for the extra energy needs for a single baby’s development, you should also take in 340 extra calories in the second trimester. During the last trimester, this amount should go up to 450 more calories per day. However, more physically active women would require extra calories in their diet.
In the case of twins, the mom-to-be should eat 440 extra calories per day during the second trimester. In the third trimester, between 500 to 600 extra calories each day is required.
During pregnancy, you may experience fluctuations in appetite that can affect the amount of calories you take in. The best way to overcome this is by eating well balanced meals containing whole grain or fiber-rich foods that give a feeling of fullness.