Pregnancy Weight Gain – Risk of Excessive Weight Gain

What is a normal pregnancy weight gain? There is no fixed parameters on the ideal weight gain. The usual consensus is 25-35 pounds in total. However, what if you are underweight. It would be fair to assume that if you’re underweight, that you would be able to gain more than 35 pounds in order to maintain an ideal healthy weight.

Excessive weight gain can cause the following problems:

o Can create problems for woman’s health during gestation

o Can create additional problems during delivery

o Excessive weight gain has been linked to more likely to cease breast feeding sooner than normal weight women

o Puts extra strain on circulatory and digestive systems

o Blood pressure may increase since heart has to work harder to pump blood to various parts of body.

o Can create additional leg pain, increased fatigue, varicose veins, and backache due to overworked muscles

o Can result in a larger baby, decreased the chances of normal delivery

o If a caesarean is needed, it may become more difficult

o It would obviously be more difficult to return to your prepregnancy weight if you gained an excessive amount during pregnancy.

o Can increase chances of hypertension and diabetes

o Children whose mothers exceed recommended weight gain were 48% more likely to be overweight at age 7 than those whose mothers stayed within recommended weight gain.

** Research sources: (study division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY and Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital & Research Institute), (Study published in American Journal of Clinical nutrition), (Book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff, and Sandee E. Hathaway, B.S.N)

My first pregnancy, I craved junk food all the time. I would eat a full meal, and 45 minutes later, I’d be craving more food. I loved Poutine’s, ice-cream, Reese’s peanut butter cups. I was lucky not to develop gestational diabetes because I didn’t watch what I ate. I gained 60 pounds and it took me over 16 months to return to my prepregnancy weight.

This time, I was a lot more disciplined. I don’t have the same cravings. I am happy eating fruits and vegetables. Although, in the first 7 months, my appetite required that I eat every 2-3 hours or I’d get dizzy, I was satisfied eating healthy snacks. Despite all this, I’ve now gained 67 pounds and am a lot larger this time around. My ob-gyn relates my weight gain to water retention. She assures me that it is not what I eat but how my body is reacting to my pregnancy. I can attest to water gain since my ankles look like they have been sprained more than once.

So although it is important to maintain a healthy diet (gives you more energy and better fuel for your body), don’t panic if you’ve exceeded the recommended pregnancy weight. Your practitioner is the best person to give you an analysis of where you stand as opposed to how best to take care of your body. Talk to your medical practitioner about any concerns. You will get lots of advice from family, friends, internet etc… but it is your practitioner who is medically capable of giving you the best advice.