Healthy weight gain during pregnancy
You are expected to put on weight during pregnancy. It is common to gain ten to fifteen kilos. But a few kilos more or less is also completely normal, provided you are well and the baby is developing normally. If you lose a lot of weight due to nausea, get help – it's not good for either you or the baby.
If your weight was normal when you became pregnant, you can probably expect to gain around twelve kilos. If you were underweight to start with, it's not a problem if you gain more.
Don't go on a diet at your own initiative
Never go on a diet when you are pregnant. You and your baby need good nutrition to deal with the pregnancy and develop normally. Read tips on eating healthily during pregnancy here.
If you were overweight before getting pregnant, it can be good to gain a little less weight. Gaining the right amount of weight reduces risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Labour is usually also easier if you don't gain too much weight.
If you have a very high BMI (Body Mass Index), your midwife will follow a special protocol and you will probably be referred to a dietician to help you eat healthily during pregnancy.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day and avoid foods and drinks with empty calories such as sugary soft drinks, sweets, cakes and pastries. Eat at regular intervals to reduce sugar cravings.
What does the extra weight consist of?
It is normal to gain ten to fifteen kilos during pregnancy.
Some of the extra weight consists of fluid and blood.
At the end of the pregnancy, the baby accounts for about 3.5 kilos of the weight gain. The rest consists of:
• Uterus – approx. 1 kg
• Placenta – approx. 0.5 kg
• Breasts – approx. 1 kg
• Amniotic fluid – approx. 1 kg
• Fluid retained in the body – approx. 1.5 kg
• Increased blood volume – approx. 1.5 kg
• Fat deposits for breastfeeding – approx. 0.5-1 kg
If you lose weight
Some women lose weight despite trying to eat, because they feel sick and vomit frequently over a long period. If you have big problems with nausea during pregnancy, there are things you can do and even medicines you can take.
In rare cases, mothers with persistent vomiting have to be fed with a drip. However, this is unusual.
If you can't keep much food down, it is mainly you who is affected – your body usually makes sure your growing baby gets the nutrition it needs.
If you have suffered from an eating disorder in the past (bulimia or anorexia), you might start having thoughts about it when you are pregnant. If the disorder returns, it is important for you to speak to your midwife or doctor about it.
How much more should you eat?
• Months 1-3: It is enough to eat one extra snack between meals – for example a piece of fruit – during the first trimester.
• Months 4-6: Add another snack – maybe a slightly more substantial one – during the second trimester.
• Months 7-9: It is good to eat two substantial snacks during the day, for instance yoghurt and a sandwich, plus at least one fruit.
Food cravings - pica disorder
It is common for pregnant women to get cravings for specific foods, such as liquorice, avocado, chocolate or oranges. But there are also women who get cravings for wall plaster or other inedible things. The medical term for this type of pregnancy eating disorder is pica disorder.