Even for the most body-secure among us, gaining anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds during pregnancy is no picnic. Sure, we have days where we are full of energy and glowing and ready to flaunt our adorable baby bumps. But we also have days, especially in the third trimester, where we feel less like mama-goddesses and more like sweaty, frumpy, nothing-fits-anymore messes.
To take the edge off, I turned to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report on pregnancy weight gain, which provides the evidence base for their widely-referenced weight gain guidelines:
- Underweight: Gain 28-40 pounds
- Normal weight: Gain 25-35 pounds
- Overweight: Gain 15-25 pounds
- Obese: Gain 11-20 pounds
Some of what I learned from their report was outright reassuring, like that a sudden bump up in weight in the second trimester is common and does not imply that you will continue to gain weight at a fast clip. Other facts, like that 15-30 percent of the fat gained during pregnancy goes straight to our thighs, were less reassuring. Continue reading “Five little known facts about pregnancy weight gain”
Weight gain during pregnancy is not steady. Most women gain the most weight in their second trimesters, and much of this weight is water.
24 weeks into my first pregnancy, I was feeling smug. I had been eating right, continuing to exercise, and the last dregs of first trimester nausea and fatigue had faded. I was feeling good.
That is, until my OB took me down a few notches at my 6 month appointment.
She told me I had gained “too much weight”. She passed the chart. It was all there in black and white.
Although I had been on target to gain the “correct” amount of weight by the end of my pregnancy, I had gained a whopping 8 lbs in a month. I was now on a trajectory to gain over the upper limit of 35 pounds. She began what was clearly her set lecture. “Eat less bread. Eat only half of the sandwich…”
But as she spoke, my mind began to wander. I was pretty taken aback. I silently reviewed my recent eating habits. No, I did not think they had changed. Certainly not enough to cause a gain of 8 lbs in a month. And yes, I had been exercising my normal amount. If anything, I had become more active in my second trimester. My energy levels had gone up in the last couple of months, not down.
Convinced that I had done nothing dramatically different in the last month, I started to wonder whether we could accurately or reasonably expect a steady rate of weight gain. Maybe it’s normal to gain a lot of weight in the middle of pregnancy, and less towards the end. Maybe pregnancy weight gain looks more like a curve than a line. Continue reading “Weight Gain in the Second Trimester: A Sudden Bump Up Is Common — And No Reason to Panic”