So, the fact that you’ve somehow found yourself reading this blog suggests to me that you’re pregnant, and interested in learning more about Weight gain during Pregnancy. In that case, Congratulations! If you’re not pregnant and have somehow found yourself browsing the internet at ridiculous o’clock in the morning, in a corner of the internet that has no real relevance to any area of your life, then hey – go to sleep! Or read on, we don’t mind either way 🙂
Whatever you’re reasoning for being here, then it’s worth mentioning that not everyone is always super comfortable with conversations around weight, be it loss or gain, and/or food. If you are after a fun read which doesn’t remind you of those Beautiful blue denims that no longer fit like they should, then you may want to check out Our Article on 4D Baby Scans. Or even learn more about Gender Reveal Parties.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Being pregnant, surely our minds are more preoccupied with other things – right? But, as women in a modern-day world living in a society that appears to be obsessed with Image and Weight – unfortunately we’re hounded with questions such as, ‘How much weight have you gained?’, ‘Are you worried about getting your figure back?’, ‘Did you see that influencer who was in the gym one week after giving Birth?’.
When it comes to Weight Gain during Pregnancy, it’s not the be all and end all, and yes, our bodies are amazing and beautiful and wonderful, and the ability to grow a tiny little human inside of us is incredible. However, for some of us it can be really tricky to keep our minds off the numbers that show up on the scales, and honestly – it really shouldn’t be the case. The thing is, we know this. And if our pregnant friend, heck, even a pregnant stranger came to us fretting about their weight – we’d tell them they are glowing and beautiful, and shouldn’t worry themselves with such trivial matters. So, why do we not treat ourselves with the same amount of kindness?
The changes that our bodies are going through can be extremely overwhelming. On top of our bums growing thrice the size, our breasts reaching whole new levels of the alphabet, and how these days our walk is more akin to a waddle. how our feet inflate to the size of flippers, and we’ve not even got started on the hormones! Oh god, the hormones.
If you are concerned about weight gain during pregnancy, then hopefully what you’re about to read will help at least a little. And above all else, remember that you’re not on your own.
Comparison is the thief of joy
First things first, and it’s a biggie – don’t compare yourself to other pregnant women. This isn’t a ground-breaking revelation, we all know that we shouldn’t compare ourselves, but the truth is – we all do it. Pregnant or not. Obviously this is much easier said than done, but just a friendly reminder that your pregnancy journey is your own, and the pregnant lady you follow on Instagram whom you have never met, who has managed to stay slim, gaining weight only in her belly and who somehow manages to find the energy to film herself doing yoga for her 7 billion followers – well, that’s her journey. Good for her. It’s important to acknowledge this straight off the bat. And if during your pregnancy you find yourself slipping and looking at other pregnant women and wondering why they’ve managed to keep the weight off, come back to this list.
Comparison is the thief of joy. Remember that, tattoo it on your forehead if you must. (Disclaimer – We are kidding! No tattoos please!)
The importance of Weight Gain During Pregnancy
In a world filled with female bodies that come in all shapes and sizes, there’s no singular pregnancy weight gain that can be applied to all women. It’d be ridiculous and hugely irresponsible to even do that. There’s no more an ideal pregnancy weight gain than there is an ideal pregnancy. Everyone is different. The reason doctors and nurses do keep an eye on weight all comes down to medical indicators. You’re growing a baby, which means that the tiny little foetus needs nutrition in order to develop and grow healthily.
If you’re not gaining enough weight, then it can be extremely dangerous to the development of the foetus. On the other hand, gaining too much weight at a fast rate will also result in health risks, such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. The tip here is, just listen to the professionals. Understand that the reasoning behind monitoring your weight is to ensure that you and your baby are healthy, not to judge or make you feel bad.
As a rough indicator however, a pregnant Woman would usually expect to gain between 10kg and 12.5kg during their Pregnancy. Most of this weight begins to pile on after Week 20. A good portion of the weight gain will be your baby, however your body will also be building up fat stores in readiness for Breast Feeding (Whether you like it or not!).
You can read more about Weight Gain during Pregnancy on the NHS Website.
Eating for two
Trying to resist your pregnancy cravings can feel like an almost impossible task, and a feat only accomplished by superhumans. Chocolate, cakes, doughnuts. In one breath we’re told to hold off the sweet stuff and warned against ‘eating for two’ in order to prevent rapid weight gain, yet at the same time we’re advised to not go on any diets. Make your bloody mind up! It’s almost as though we’re being set up for failure. The best tip is to eat when you need to. Don’t overdo it, but don’t restrict yourself completely. Have a piece of chocolate if you like. It’s also important to be aware of what you shouldn’t be putting in your body whilst pregnant. Do a bit of research online – a quick Google search or a look at the NHS website will give you a list of foods to avoid or be careful with. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/foods-to-avoid/
Try not to stress, there’s plenty of info available out there and it’s easy enough to get to. And obviously, check in with your doctor/nurse for reassurance and they will guide you.
Many Women decide to embrace Weight Gain during Pregnancy, and use it as an opportunity to treat themselves! If you fall into this category, you might want to consider Purchasing a cravings Box – Set yourself a daily treat limit and enjoy the experience!
Consider a blind weigh in
Now, as we’ve already mentioned – conversations around weight and stepping on scales can be difficult for some people. And if you’re someone who doesn’t feel comfortable getting weighed, then set yourself some boundaries and show yourself some kindness. We’ve acknowledged that it’s very important that the doctors and nurses monitor your weight, however, if you don’t want to know the number – then tell them you don’t want to know. As long as the medical professionals can keep track and are aware of your weight at different stages of your pregnancy, then that’s all that matters. You know what they say, ignorance is bliss and all that. Jokes aside though, be kind to yourself. Try not to get yourself into a state of panic by focusing too much on the numbers on a scale. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health at the end of the day.
Another top tip, is to consider investing in a Digital Smart Scale. You can simply place black tape over the reading on on the Scales, and the result will synchronise to your Smartphone. You cna then ask somebody else to read the results on your behalf. As a bonus – you now also have a great set of scales which can be used after your Pregnancy!
Weight gain pregnancy calculators – no, thank you
That’s right. Don’t even go there! We’ve been through this, but I’ll say it louder for those at the back – there’s no ideal weight gain in a world with such diverse, and beautiful female bodies. Pregnancy weight gain calculators, often found on the wonder that is Google, may give you a general idea of what to expect week-by-week. But again, they’re just numbers and you shouldn’t be fixating on them so much. Pregnancy weight gain isn’t a ‘one size fits all’, so remember that should you succumb to Google. And speaking of Google, typing ‘how much should I weigh at 20 weeks pregnant?’ into the search bar isn’t exactly recommended. Everyone is different.
Your Healthcare Provider, Doctor or Midwife will soon tell you if your weight isn’t quite where they would prefer it to be.
During Pregnancy Your body is doing incredible things
Your body is the vessel that harnesses a foetus the size of a poppy seed that grows into the size of a small pumpkin. And all along, feeds the life you’re making by developing extra tissue, producing extra blood and amniotic fluid as well as growing the placenta. Your breasts and uterus will have a growth spurt as well, so don’t be alarmed! All of these incredible things that are happening to your body are taking place to ensure that your baby is as safe and as cosy as possible. How your body functions is far more important than how it looks.
Consider some Light Exercise
During all the changes that you’re body is going through, the more physical activity you do – the easier it will be for you to come to terms with your changing shape. Obviously, don’t over exert yourself and don’t go joining a rugby team! However- running, dancing, yoga, and walking are all good ways to remain active. You are unlikely to put your baby at risk as light exercising whilst pregnant isn’t generally considered dangerous. In fact, there are examples of Women running Marathons rather than taking Maternity Leave! Read our Maternity Leave – Career Impact For further details of this amazing feat!
Some evidence even shows that women who are more active are less likely to experience problems later on in their pregnancy, and even labour. As you progress through your pregnancy, then obviously you will need to slow down a bit. Exercise doesn’t have to leave your face looking like a sweating tomato wearing a wig in order to be beneficial. A light walk will suffice. You don’t want to exhaust yourself – do what you feel comfortable doing and listen to your own body. Once the baby arrives and you’re ready to get back to it, then join a rugby team – by all means.
Exercise also has an incredible impact on your Mental Health, releasing Endorphins around your body, and working wonders on your ‘Body Positivity’ Perception. If you wish to read more about Body Positivity, and actions you can take, then we strongly recommend This Powerful Book.
Complications caused by weight gain during pregnancy
We already know that pregnancy isn’t the right time to be thinking about going on a diet, due to the fact that dieting can be detrimental to the health of the unborn baby, however If you gain too much weight during Pregnancy, then it may result in issues such as Gestational Diabetes, High Blood pressure and Pre-Eclampsia. Gestational diabetes occurs when there’s a high amount of glucose – AKA sugar – in your blood, which can result in your baby growing at a larger rate than usual.
Ultimately, this can cause problems during birth, however, the risks can be reduced if detected early in the pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia, which is another complication we mentioned above, is a rise in blood pressure and a condition that affects some women pregnant women from around 20 weeks. The cause of pre-eclampsia is still a bit of a mystery, but it’s thought to stem from problems with the placenta.
Complications caused by not gaining enough weight during pregnancy
We know of some of the complications that can arise should we gain too much weight whilst pregnant, but there are also some risks if we don’t gain enough weight. It might seem like we’re stuck in between wanting to cut down and reduce our sugar intake, and marching into the Supermarket to purchase every pastry-based delight on offer, as well as the brownies. And the cakes. And ooh, is that an iced bun?
We get it, it’s tough. Life’s all about balance, baby. A healthy one at that. So don’t restrict yourself when it comes to food – just try to eat healthy and make sure your gaining weight at a healthy rate. Not gaining enough weight can cause significant complications such as a premature birth, or under-developed babies. If you’re not gaining weight then it can also mean that your body isn’t storing enough fats that are needed to keep you and your baby going.
Post-Natal, if you decide to Breastfeed, you will also need to ensure you are consuming enough Calories to pass on to your Baby. Experts suggest an additional 400 Calories a day should be consumed to facilitate this, however your Midwife will advise you if they feel you would benefit from an increased or reduced intake.
The Wrap Up
Some women who are naturally slim may stay slim throughout their pregnancy, and they can actually go on to have perfectly healthy babies. Everyone is different.
It’s difficult to feel attractive during your pregnancy. Clothes aren’t fitting like they used to, you feel uncomfortable and frumpy. As difficult as it might sound, just try to enjoy it. When intrusive thoughts get the better of you and you find yourself hating the way you look, remember that you’re growing a baby inside of you. If anything, you’re a superhero. Alright, so you don’t fancy wearing a leotard and a cape given the way you’re feeling. But you’re a superhero, nonetheless. Try not to fixate on numbers and scales but try to remain healthy for both you and your baby. Not just physically, but mentally too. It’s equally as important, and often overlooked. Surround yourself with good people and talk openly and honestly about how you’re feeling. If you struggle with that, then speak with your doctor/nurse.