What is a healthy weight gain during pregnancy?

The latest NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidance, released in July 2010, says that:

  • Women who are a normal weight for their height (BMI 18.5–24.9) should gain 11.5–16 kg during pregnancy.
  • Overweight women (BMI 25–29.9) should gain 7–11.5 kg
  • Obese women (BMI greater than 30) should only put on 5–9 kg.

So try not to pack on more than this, otherwise you’ll still be left with a lot of weight to shift when your baby is born – this isn’t healthy for either of you. Try not to weigh yourself too often. Focus more on how your body looks and feels and remember that lean muscle weighs more than fat.

Where Does the Extra Weight Go During Pregnancy?

You’ll be pleased to hear that the weight you are putting on is not all sitting on your hips ready to bulge over the top of your fave jeans once you have had your baby. Here is a rough idea of where the weight goes:

Baby: 8 pounds

Placenta: 2-3 pounds

Amniotic fluid: 2-3 pounds

Breasts: 2-3 pounds

Blood: 4 pounds

Stored fat: 5-9 pounds

Uterus growth: 2-5 pounds

Total: 25-35 pounds

Remember that everyone is different and you may gain more or less than this.

Benefits of water/aqua aerobics during pregnancy

I came across this fab web page today from the Jagran Post, which talks all about aqua/water aerobics during pregnancy. It is a great exercise for all fitness levels, especially in the later stages of pregnancy.  It reads…..

You can gain a lot of health benefits by exercising during pregnancy as it lessens various complications. Some of the benefits of water aerobics during pregnancy are relief from various discomforts of pregnancy without putting too much strain on the limbs. You do need to check with your health care provider for the ideal method but the low impact exercise that water aerobics provide is recommendable if you do not have problem with staying in water.

If you have a problem with exercising in summer months, the water can be a great place to stay away from the heat. If you are going through the cold season, water aerobics can be performed indoors. Staying in water helps to take the pressure away from the belly that is growing. Not only that, you also feel refreshed by performing these exercises.

A recent research has shown that there is and additional benefit in performing water aerobics during pregnancy. The study was undertaken in Brazil in which the women engaging in water aerobics from the middle of pregnancy till the end needed lesser pain medications during labour than a control group. They were required to work for three days in every week.

Women who perform water aerobics may avoid getting swollen knees and ankles and yet get a workout. It is a good way of improving the strength of your stomach and preventing the problem of spider veins on the legs. The low impact in these exercises results in these benefits.

The refreshing effect of water has many benefits. Water aerobics helps to control morning sickness, balance the mood and enhance the energy level.

Water aerobics can be customised to suit different stages of pregnancy. The exercises involved include breathing techniques that women learn during antenatal classes.

You naturally want to be in water when pregnant. With water aerobics, you also give your body a great workout. As you carry an additional 35 to 50 kgs during pregnancy, being in the pool relieves you of this strain. It feels a lot lighter in water.

With these workouts in water, you can expect to get the best possible exercise for maintaining your health. It would be advisable that you take the advice of your health care provider before starting these workouts. There are some conditions in which these should not be performed. Moreover, you also need to be careful in performing these exercises and ensure that you do not put any strain on your stomach or excessive pressure on your back.

Courtesy: Onlymyhealth

Research published in the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine

Here is more evidence that exercise and a healthy diet during pregnancy are beneficial to both mum and baby.

Click here to view the article

In summary: Low or moderate exercise and healthy eating habits markedly decrease the likelihood of excessive gestational weight gain, according to research published in the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. This study, in the August edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®, demonstrates that a prenatal Nutrition and Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program, called the NELIP, was successful in preventing excessive gestational weight gain and reducing postpartum weight retention in women who were of normal weight prior to pregnancy.

A quote from the study:

“Women benefit greatly from being active throughout their pregnancies and physical activity is strongly recommended by professional organizations. However, most pregnant women remain inactive and this may be contributing to excessive gestational weight gain, which is associated with an increased risk for future obesity in both the mother and offspring,” said lead author Stephanie-May Ruchat, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario. “Myths about nutrition in pregnancy can also be misleading. For example, mothers-to-be should be warned that ‘eating for two’ does not mean they need to eat twice as much but that they should eat twice as healthy. An increase of only 200 to 500 kilocalories per day in the second and third trimester is recommended, depending on the body mass index of the women prior to pregnancy (the heavier the woman is, the fewer extra calories per day she will need during pregnancy).”

Evidence is growing all the time. I hope this ever growing bank of positive research can start to give women across the world confidence and motivation to stay fit and healthy and not gain too much excess weight during pregnancy.


New mums all lose their baby weight at different rates

I am all about health and fitness during pregnancy and for new mums, but there is no escaping the fact that we are all built differently and our bodies will grow and change and adapt to carrying a baby in different ways.

Some girls have tiny bumps, other are big all over. Some will be left with a huge tummy and some will be left with a wobbly bum. Some will be left with hardly any weight at all!

My advice would be to exercise during pregnancy, particularly keeping your core strong, other muscles fit and toned and heart and lungs fit and healthy with cardio exercise. Also, to not eat excessively, just consuming a couple of hundred extra calories a day in the last trimester (and a bit more if you are exercising). That way, however your body responds you have the best possible chance of losing your baby weight quickly. If you do nothing at all during pregnancy you are probably going to have a harder time getting back into shape afterwards.

This is aside from all the amazing benefits this will bring you and your baby, compared to inactive and overweight mums.

Personally I think she looks amazing now and she is absolutely right not to model herself on anyone else. For the record I also think Amanda Holden looks incredible and I’m not sure that ‘it’s in her genes’ as Jodie says. I bet she did lots of clever exercise throughout her pregnancy and as soon as she could afterwards – you don’t get results like that by magic!

Lets not try to be like anyone else and be happy and healthy in our own skins.