How much weight should a woman gain during pregnancy?
Recently, actress Fann Wong, who is eight months pregnant, said she gained 17kg, while her friend, who is also eight months pregnant, gained 7.5kg.
There is no short answer to this. It depends on various factors, including the woman's pre-pregnancy weight and her body mass index (BMI).
Some women are already overweight when they get pregnant. Others may gain weight too quickly during their pregnancy. Either way, a pregnant woman should not go on a diet or try to lose weight during pregnancy.
Being overweight before pregnancy increases the risk of various pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic health website.
Although a certain amount of pregnancy weight gain is recommended for women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy, some research suggests that women who are obese can safely gain less weight than what the guidelines recommend.
If the woman is underweight before pregnancy, it would be essential for her to gain a reasonable amount of weight while she is pregnant. Without the extra weight, the baby may be born earlier or smaller than expected.
Talk to your doctor about planning a healthy diet.
In the first trimester, most women don't need to gain much weight. If she starts out at a healthy or normal weight, she needs to gain less than 2kg.
But steady weight gain is important in the second and third trimesters. This often means gaining about 1.4kg to 1.8kg a month until delivery.
It is also important to realise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy weight gain. The woman's health and her baby's health also play a role, as well as how many babies she is carrying.
For those who have normal pre-pregnancy weights, the recommended weight gain is between 17kg and 25kg, according to Mayo Clinic. Assuming Fann Wong belongs to this category, then she looks to be on the right track.
For those who are overweight, it is 14kg to 23kg and for those who are obese, it is 11kg to 19kg.
This article was first published on July 7, 2014.
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