It is not appropriate to “eat for two” – a slight increase in calorie intake in the last three months of pregnancy (about 200-300 cal/day) and during breastfeeding is all that is needed.
Instead, take a close look at what and when you eat, and aim to change for the better. The commonest sources of unnecessary weight gain are simple carbohydrates, sugary foods and fruit juices, dairy products and lack of exercise.
However the demands of a pregnant woman vary and are different in different circumstances. The women who carry twins, or are under-weight before pregnancy or are still teenagers they need more calories intake. On the contrary overweight women should restrict their weight gain till the last trimester.
The weight that a woman should take depends on the BMI (Body Mass Index). This is a measure of your weight relative to your height and it is measured at your antenatal checkup. It is calculated by taking your weight in Kg divided by the square of your height in meters and is a measure of the relative amount of fat in your body.
Body Mass Index BMI Expected Weight Gain
under 19 (Underweight) 12,5-18 Kgr
19 – 26 (Normal weight) 11,5-16 Kgr
25 – 30 (Overweight) 7,0-11,5 Kgr
over 30 (Obese) 7,0 Kgr or less
In case of twins the average weight gain is between 15-20 kgr., and in triplets 20-23 Kgr.
The weight that the mother gains during pregnancy is distributed 40% to the fetus, 20% to blood, 10% to amniotic fluid, 10% to uterus, 19 % to placenta and 10% to breasts.
Maternal Weight may be reduced in early pregnancy if you vomit often, but this is usually not a problem because your underlying nutrition will provide vitamins, minerals and nutrients for your baby.
During pregnancy the body lays down αn average of 3.5kg of fat, most before 30 weeks. This provides αn energy buffer against food deprivation during labour and breastfeeding. Weight gain should be gradual and progressive, spread over 40 weeks, but some women gain more in the second half, and fluctuations are common. As a general guideline, a gain of 15kg (33lb) is probably excessive and less than 5kg (11lb) is too little; both cases deserve attention.
Weight -after pregnancy
Within α month of birth most women lose around two-thirds of the weight gained. The rest should be lost over months to ensure α good milk supply. Many mothers worry about their weight, but with α nourishing diet weight will gradually diminish.
Every woman takes her own time to regain pre-pregnancy weight after birth, and eating patterns also vary widely. For many it’s easy to lose the first two thirds of weight gained, and difficult to shift the last third. In any case, a slow loss is preferarable to maintain milk supply. Aiming to regain pre-pregnancy weight in six to twelve months is realistic – close attention to nutrition and regular exercise will help and will increase your feeling of well being.