How much can you gain during your pregnancy?

You might think, if babies weigh roughly between 2.5 and 4.5 kilos at birth, where do all those extra pregnancy kilos come from? Well, don't forget the placenta and amniotic fluid. But the fact is that every woman gains many more kilos during the pregnancy that’s not just in her belly. But how much is still healthy?

Being pregnant puts your body to work. Not only are you growing a whole new human being, but your own body is also bracing itself to get through those nine months . So they are largely functional kilos. Gaining weight during pregnancy is therefore part of the deal. Don't overdo it, but don't panic about it either.

‘You have to eat for two?’ Those are really old-fashioned statements. Of course, you do need some extra vitamins and nutrients. Like calcium for bones.

Do the maths

Let’s talk about those functional kilos. After all, what can you subtract from your own weight gain? Just add it up: once you are pregnant, you produce more blood. A total of 1 litre, that weighs 1 kilo. Your uterus around your baby has also had to grow, which is about 1 kilo. The placenta (with the membranes) weighs about 650 grams at the end. Then the amniotic fluid of 600 grams approx. And also, don't forget your breasts. You can count another 400 to 800 grams for that. Your body also automatically stores extra fuel and energy in fat, around 3.5 kg.

Together with your baby, this puts your average pregnancy weight at 11 kilos. The secret, though, is in the word average. Of course, no woman and no baby are exactly average. But the arithmetic does show where those extra kilos on the scales come from.

Pregnancy weight gain and your BMI

So gaining around 11 kilos is quite normal. In fact, between 11 and 16 kilos is quite normal. Although this is actually especially true if you had an average BMI before you got pregnant. Your BMI is another calculation, with your height and weight. Fortunately, there are handy online BMI measurement tools.

If you had a slightly lower BMI, or were underweight, then gaining some extra weight during pregnancy is of course fine. And if you were already overweight, your body no longer needs extra fatty tissue as a storehouse. Gaining a little less pregnancy weight is therefore still healthy. In short, a clear figure cannot be given. The most important thing is to listen to your midwife's advice during your check-ups.

Gaining weight during pregnancy per trimester

When will you gain the most weight in your pregnancy? You won't gain much weight at first. Your baby is still just a mini pea and all the extras in your body, such as placenta and extra blood are gradually increasing. Up to week 13, you may gain around 2 kg on the scales. After that, it picks up, by the end of week 26 it can be as much as 9 kilos. In the last 3 months it slowed down again, about 3 to 4 kilos. Again, of course, these are averages. 

Eat for two

'Have some more, you have to eat for 2 now!' These kinds of statements are somewhat old-fashioned and a persistent misunderstanding. At least when it comes to quantities. Of course, you do need extra vitamins and nutrients, such as calcium for bones. And about from week 16 onwards, some extra calories too. But if you eat too much and get overweight, you will soon have trouble getting those extra kilos off. And if you grow fast, you can also get stretch marks faster. It is also less good for your baby, who may also gain weight later on. An extra sandwich, bowl of yoghurt and extra scoop in the evening will often get you there. Read more about it at het Voedingscentrum. Otherwise, just listen to what you feel like.

Losing weight during pregnancy

Although you may not feel like anything at first. Nausea in the morning or all day long. Smells you don't like and tastes you don't like any more... It could just mean that in the first few weeks you lose rather than gain weight. That doesn't have to be dangerous, you can often catch up afterwards. 

If you are afraid of gaining too much weight, do not go on a diet. Your baby needs sufficient nutrients. And if you lose weight by dieting, the waste products stored in your fat will end up in your blood. And thus to your baby. That's not so healthy. Just try to keep moving, and eat healthy to avoid gaining too many extra pounds. Save losing weight until after your pregnancy. Happy kilos!


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