Weight gain during pregnancy
One of the changes experienced by pregnant women is weight gain. This weight gain is needed to support the development and the health of the fetus in the uterus. However, weight gain is not always the same for each pregnant woman. This closely depends on your body mass index and body weight before pregnancy. Body mass index is obtained from the division of body weight in kilograms with your body height in meters squared. Weight gain during pregnancy affects the health of the mother and baby at birth. Pregnant women who have excess weight during pregnancy increase the risk of experiencing diseases related to pregnancy. While pregnant women who have less weight during pregnancy can increase the risk of babies born with low weight. Gaining weight during pregnancy is very important for the baby because the baby’s weight at birth and the baby’s health status depends on the mother’s weight during pregnancy.
The following are the estimation of normal maternal weight gain according to BMI (Body Mass Index):
- For mothers who have less weight (underweight) before pregnancy (those who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 18.5 kg / m), it is recommended to increase weight by 13-18 kg during pregnancy.
- For mothers who have a normal weight before pregnancy, (who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5-24.9 kg / m), it is recommended to increase body weight by 11.5-16 kg during pregnancy.
- For mothers who have more weight (overweight) before pregnancy, (who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25-29.9 kg / m), it is recommended to increase body weight by 7-11.5 kg during pregnancy.
- For women who are obese before pregnancy (those who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 kg / m or more), it is recommended to gain weight of 5-9 kg during pregnancy.
- For mothers who are pregnant with twins, it is recommended to increase body weight by 11.5-24.5 kg during pregnancy.
It is estimated, weight gain in the first trimester is around 0.5 – 2 kg. After that, body weight is estimated to increase every week in the second and third trimesters. It is around 0.4 – 0.59 kg (for underweight), 0.36 – 0.45 kg (for normal weight), 0.23 – 0.32 kg (for excess body weight), and 0.18 – 0.27 kg (for obesity weight).
Here are some the possibilities of this weight gain is diverted to:
- Infants: 3-3.6 kg.
- Placenta: 0.7 kg.
- Amniotic water: 1 kg.
- Breasts: 1 kg.
- Uterus: 1 kg.
- Increased blood volume: 1.4 – 1.8 kg.
- Increased fluid volume: 1.4 – 1.8 kg.
- Fat reserves: 2.7–3.6 kg.
Tips for increasing the weight gain
During pregnancy, mothers do need more calorie intake, but it doesn’t mean they have to eat every meal in two servings. Mothers must consume enough food and contain lots of both animal and vegetable protein. We know that, the need for nutrition during pregnancy increases. As supervision of the adequacy of these nutrients can be used to increase the weight of the pregnant woman. Usually, the increase in the weight of pregnant women is on average 6.5 kg – 16 kg.
Here are several tips recommended to get a proper increase in body weight:
- Eat enough but frequent servings. For example, a mother can eat 5-6 times a day with small portions.
- When eating foods such as scrambled eggs, cereals, or boiled potatoes, you can add nonfat milk powder to it.
- Also add peanut butter when eating fruit, bread or biscuits.
- Always provide snacks such as crackers, dried fruit, nuts, ice cream or yogurt.
- Mothers are also advised to add extra butter or cheese to the food
- Keep doing light exercise regularly
No need to worry about increasing weight gain because it is important for baby’s health. Therefore, try to gain weight in the normal range during pregnancy. Overweight pregnant women during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and labor, such as gestational hypertension (high blood pressure during pregnancy), gestational diabetes, large babies (macrosomia), and cesarean delivery.
This condition can also increase the risk of the baby experiencing health problems and obesity in childhood. While pregnant women who have less weight during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature babies (birth before the age of 37 weeks) and low birth weight.
If you have excess weight, you should reduce weight by exercising and reduce eating unhealthy foods, such as sweet and high-fat foods. If the mother has less weight, the mother should eat more diverse healthy foods.
Several lists of nutrition needed during pregnancy
- Protein. During pregnancy, protein requirements increase by around 50%. Proteins can be found in some kind of nuts, soybeans, seeds, eggs, and fish.
- Calories. Based on the number of recommended nutrition, additional calories are needed for pregnant women in ± 285 calories. To ensure that calorie use during pregnancy is adequate, energy input must be above 36 calories/kg/ day in a balanced distribution. Several substances are protein for ± 15%, ± 30% of fat and carbohydrate for ± 55%.
- Fiber and liquid. Mothers should not limit the amount of fluid that must be consumed during pregnancy. Mineral water is the best drink to consume because it will make the kidneys function properly and prevent the mother from constipation. If the mother suffers from mild fluid retention (edema), as a result, the condition will not change even if the mother reduces fluid consumption.
- Iron. During pregnancy, the need for iron is greatly increased for the formation of fetal blood and the supply of lactation during the six months after giving birth. In this phase, breast milk does not contain iron salts. Maternal supplies as a backup for blood replacement lost during labor. Giving iron begins after the feeling of nausea and vomiting is gone, one tablet a day for at least 90 days.
Each tablet contains iron 60 mg and folic acid 500 mg. If the mother feels nauseous, constipation or diarrhea due to iron tablets, it is recommended to drink it after eating or before going to bed. Iron tablets should be eaten with fruits that contain vitamin C because to increase absorption. Don’t drink with milk, tea or coffee because it will inhibit absorption.