“It’s normal to be surprised by your pregnancy weight gain—it can feel like a lot in a short amount of time,” says psychotherapist Maggie Baumann. But however little you may recognise your visage in the mirror, putting on pounds when expecting can actually be a good thing.
So just how much is normal?
“It depends mostly on your pre-pregnancy body mass. “For women with a normal BMI (18.5 to 24.9), we recommend about 25 to 35 pounds of pregnancy weight gain,” Underweight women have a bit more stretch: between 28 and 40 pounds. Overweight women are advised to keep between 15 and 25 pounds. And multiples of course increases the number.
As far as a weight gain timeline goes, it’s the second and third trimesters you should plan for elasticated waistbands. The exact gain per week is determined by starting point BMI, but on average, women in the normal weight range should see around a new pound per week on the scale.
The upside to upsizing while expecting is that your baby actually needs it.
“Women who don’t gain enough weight during pregnancy have a higher risk of having a preterm or low-birthweight baby,” points out professor of nutritional sciences Kathleen M. Rasmussen. “This can cause health issues for the baby, including breathing, heart, and digestive problems, at birth and later in life.”
The second positive on the extra weight is that you can ditch the guilt; it really is down to hormones (provided you’re not tucking in to that Ben & Jerry’s craving every night). What’s more, your hormones undergo a dramatic drop almost immediately postbirth—which means the weight starts to shed fast, too, not to mention you’re now minus bubs, placenta, an a whole lot of amniotic fluid.
“Provided you didn’t gain too much during your pregnancy, eating right and moderate exercise will help you lose the remaining baby weight relatively quickly,” Rasmussen says.