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Pregnancy weight gain – how much should I expect to put on?

pregnancy fitness weight

A statement of the obvious, but all women will put on weight during pregnancy – it’s inevitable given you’re growing someone in there. That said, there is a ‘healthy level’ of weight gain and in this country (and in particular in my Enfield borough) there is a high level of pregnancy obesity, so dropping all your exercise and eating for two is not the way forward.

In this post I’m going to detail what you should expect to put on, how to keep that weight gain to a minimum, and also why you should be trying to keep it down:

So what is the extra weight gain made up of?

Well, the foetus for a start, but also all the parts connected to it, so the placenta, the amniotic fluid and the uterus, as well as the extra protein and fat stores and your increased breast size.

These are generally the parts that we can’t control, but we can of course control the extra weight put on by becoming sedentary or simply eating too much.

What should I expect to put on?

Well it does depend on your Body Mass Index (BMI), which looks at your height and weight, prior to pregnancy. The Institute of Medicine issued these guidelines to say how much you should expect to gain based on your BMI category prior to conception:

*For the optimal growth of your baby, aim to put on 1 to 5 pounds in the first trimester and about 1 pound per week for the rest of your pregnancy.

This handy little calculator can give you a more detailed reading based on stage of pregnancy. To find out your BMI use this NHS calculator.

Why should I try and keep it to a minimum?

Medical risks

There are multiple medical issues attached to gaining excessive weight, such as:

  • Gestational diabetes

  • Urinary tract infections

  • High blood pressure

  • Miscarriage

  • Labour complications and increased risk of bleeding after birth

It can also result in an increase in the weight of your baby, which can then potentially lead to a more traumatic labour and the need to interventions (forceps, c-section etc).

Your body

It’s something most mums-to-be worry about and that’s the fact of getting back into your old clothes once you’ve had the baby. By keeping the weight down (through healthy eating and exercise), you’re more likely to spring back to your old body quicker, and it’ll be much easier to get back on track with your health and fitness levels.

My caveat here though, is that you do need to make sure you’re not rushing things and that you’ve corrected any issues that may have come about from the labour, before putting too much emphasis on getting your body back. Your body has gone through a lot over the last 9 months and it needs time to recover.

How do I keep it to a minimum?

Well, as I alluded to earlier, eating healthily and staying active are the prime things you should be looking to do. Look in your local area for pregnancy fitness classes – these will be tailored to the growing body, so you can be assured of a good yet safe workout. If there aren’t any classes nearby or that’s not your thing, then just take to the pavement and get walking. Read my other blog post on exercising in pregnancy.

  • Keep hydrated – often we mistake hunger for thirst, so have a drink when you think you’re hungry and that cake may well not be needed

  • Eating for two is a fallacy – an extra 300 calories is all that is needed from the second trimester and that really isn’t much extra!

  • There are many things that it’s suggested you shouldn’t eat during pregnancy, so take the opportunity to re-assess your nutrition. Now is not the time for dieting (baby needs the nutrients to grow, so taking out certain food groups isn’t advised), but it is the time for healthy choices.

Dieting and losing weight is out........Putting on excessive weight is out........Simply eat sensibly and exercise moderately and you should be able to keep that weight gain to a minimum and be on track to both have a healthy baby and healthy mummy.


If you're looking for an exercise class and live around Enfield then get in touch about my BumpFit class or alternatively speak to me about personal training. Email me here

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