It's normal to gain weight during pregnancy. In fact, it's recommended, says obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Geraldine Mendoza during Makati Medical Center's first leg of its Pregnancy and Beyond seminars held on February 24, 2018.

"The amniotic fluid and placenta are mostly affected if [a preggo] doesn’t gain weight," Dr. Mendoza stressed. Since your unborn baby gets his nutrients via the placenta, any weight issues have an impact on your baby's weight at birth, his length, head circumference, and more.

Your unborn baby accounts for only 29 percent of the pounds you gain. Eight percent comes from the amniotic fluid and six percent is from the placenta. The rest (57 percent) is the increased fluid, which is primarily tasked to supply blood, oxygen, and other nutrients to your baby; the deposits of fat, protein, and other nutrients that will help you make breast milk; and your boobs, among others. 

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How many pounds are we talking about here? We must determine your Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine the optimal weight gain during pregnancy, says, Dr. Mendoza.

If you weigh 121 pounds and stand 5'3 inches tall, convert your weight from pounds to kilograms. Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 pounds. That's 121 divided by 2.2, and you'll get 55 pounds.

Second, convert your height from inches to meters: Divide your height in inches by 39.37. One foot is equal to 12 inches, so five feet is 60 inches and then add three inches. That's a total of 63 inches. Divide 63 by 39.37, and you'll get 1.6002 meters.

Third, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters times your height in meters. Multiply first your height in meters by itself: That's 1.6002 times 1.6002, which is equal to 2.5606. Then, divide your weight in kilograms by its product: That's 55 divided by 2.5606. And viola! Your BMI is 21.48. 

(You can make your life easier with this online BMI calculator here.)


Your BMI will tell you if you're underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. Here's the weight you should gain for the whole duration of your pregnancy. If your BMI is...

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Normal: You should gain about 25 to 35 pounds

Losing weight at the beginning is normal. "If your weight gain is within the recommendation, it will decrease the [likelihood of] adverse outcomes."Dr. Mendoza said. "If your weight gain is not so much, then you are at risk for having small gestational age infants," she cautioned.

Extra weight gain, on the other hand, can also cause severe backaches, increased fatigues, varicose veins, and a more challenging road to going back to your pre-pregnant weight, according to the book What To Expect When You're Expecting

Overweight/Obese: You should gain only between 15 to 25 pounds

Overweight or obese pregnant women are most likely to deliver large babies, according to Dr. Mendoza. Keeping your weight gain to a minimum can help prevent developing pregnancy complications or needing a C-section to give birth. 

Underweight: You should gain between 18 to 40 pounds. 

"The importance of weight gain increases if your pre-pregnancy weight is below the ideal BMI. You need to gain weight more to reduce the risk of having low birth-weight baby," stressed Dr. Mendoza. Not gaining weight could lead to premature birth.

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A pregnant woman should not be packing on too many pounds too fast. "During the first trimester, you should only be gaining about one pound per month for the first three months. That's about two to four pounds for the whole first trimester," said Dr. Mendoza. "This increases to one pound per week starting from the second trimester to the last trimester," she added.

Dr. Mendoza reminds preggos, "Whatever you put in your mouth goes to the baby as well. Since the baby takes what it needs from the mother, inadequate diet leads to nutritionally deficient mother and baby." Even if you have the license to eat without worrying about adding pounds, it's not healthy for you to eat for two or consume only empty calories. Make sure that the pounds you gain are within limits and are packed with the nutrients you and your baby needs during pregnancy.


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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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