My name is Tanya and I am 6 months pregnant. I have already gained like 20 lbs and am terrified of excessive weight gain. I work out regularly, eat well but the pregnancy weight just keeps piling on. I know a lot of it will come off with the baby, but I just don’t want to put too much weight on.
What do you think?
Tanya, 27, Albuquerque
How many times have you heard a pregnant person say they are eating for two? Well eating for two could be a true statement, but one of the two people are between 0 and 8 pounds, not a 200lb person. Although increasing your caloric intake is important during pregnancy, there are misconceptions around the amount of calories that should be increased during the 9 months of pregnancy. Pregnant women often experience increased cravings which may make it more difficult to control caloric intake, but increasing calories at a moderate and gradual rate is essential.
So, how much should you be eating? The average woman should increase their calories by 300 a day during pregnancy. This is not a definite number for all women, there are circumstances that influence the number of calories a woman should increase such as weight, height, activity level, and more.
I can’t tell what your starting weight was, or even what kind of shape you are in. I assume you must be in good shape since you state you work out regularly. If you were below average weight for your weight and height then you should gain between 28 and 40 pounds. If you were average weight for your height before pregnancy, then you should aim to gain between 25 and 35 pounds. Finally if you are overweight for your height, then you should look to gain between 15-25 pounds.
You can determine if you were underweight, average, or overweight before pregnancy based on your height by calculating your BMI. Calculate your BMI by using this simple equation kg/m2. Once you have your BMI calculated, use this number to determine where you stand. A health range is between 18.5 and 24.9. A BMI above 24.9 is considered overweight and a number under 18.5 is considered underweight. A BMI calculation does not take into consideration all factors of a person, such as muscle mass, so consult your doctor if you need a more accurate result.
Currently your weight gain seems to be within range. Remember that while weight may continue increasing in the last trimester, your appetite will be reduced as the baby continues to grow and place pressure on your stomach and other organs. Many women have far less appetite in the last trimester than in the second.
I would focus instead on consuming high amounts of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and multi-grain products. I would ensure that I limit my sugar and processed food intake. These things will help you to keep your weight under control and ensure you are consuming good quality foods for your growing baby.