How much weight should I gain during pregnancy? 1 pound per week? 25-40 pounds over the entire pregnancy? Is is possible to control the weight gain? These questions were on my mind throughout much of my pregnancy.
It didn’t take me too long into my pregnancy to realize that my doctor’s instructions to gain 1 lb per week was baloney. Before pregnancy, I was very fit and maintained a healthy BMI (body mass index). However, I was concerned about gaining too much or too little weight. My doctor prescribed the magic 1 lb per week weight gain. So, I bought myself a scale. I had never owned a scale before! Prior to pregnancy, I preferred to weigh myself in the gym on occasion, just to make sure I was maintaining my weight. I even recommend to my clients that they only weight themselves one time per week at most – just to make sure they don’t become obsessed with the numbers. But this was different – right? This is pregnancy weight gain and it’s important to get on the scale every day and make sure you aren’t gaining too much or too little – right? 1 lb per week – right? WRONG!
I learned, after many weeks of frustration, ups and downs, and obsession over numbers, that my body is going to do what it needs to do to make a baby. There were weeks that I gained 3 lbs, and there were weeks that I gained no weight at all. Between weeks 15 and 20 of pregnancy – I swear I gained 10 lbs – but that was what my body needed to do. These particular weeks I was also famished and it felt like I was filling a black hole when I ate. I absolutely could not get full- but again, my baby was growing, my belly was growing, and my body needed fuel to function properly.
I tried to find articles about the fluctuation in weight gain that I was experiencing, but I could not find a single thing. I called and talked with 3 different male doctors at my OB/GYN, and they all said the same thing- just gain 1 lb per week. Well, I have news for all of these male doctors in their 50’s – 1 lb per week is not a reality – maybe it is for the perfect celebrity pregnant person from the perfect sitcom – but not for me, and not for a lot of women I know. The important thing is that you are living healthy, feeling healthy, and giving your body what it needs to make that baby to the best of its ability!
Pay attention to how you look and feel. Are you seeing weight gain on your arms or legs – or just your stomach? If you’re eating healthy and maintaining an exercise program, you will likely see the pregnancy weight gain only around your mid-section up until the end of your pregnancy!
At the end of my pregnancy, I had gained 28 lbs total. Considering the fact that pregnancy is 40 weeks, I certainly gained less than 1 lb per week. I felt great and took the weight off within days. Focus on what is important. Prioritize health for you and your baby, and the pregnancy weight gain will take care of itself. Next time around, I will not keep a scale at the house!