Monday, 18 February 2008

How much weight should I put on during my pregnancy?

You may be worried about gaining weight during pregnancy, or you may have started the pregnancy with more weight than you would have liked says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown, who specialises in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy..

However, under no circumstances should you diet while you are pregnant as you may deprive yourself and your baby of important nutrients, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown. Further, your body may start to detoxify (losing toxins stored in fat throughout your body) and these toxins may pass through your baby before being excreted.

If you eat a healthy, nutritious diet you will not put on any more weight than is necessary – so avoid the temptation to ‘pig-out’ as it will be harder to lose weight once your baby is born. As a rule of thumb, a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is considered to be no more than 33lb (15kg) and also not less than 11lb (5kg). Women who are underweight prior to pregnancy should gain a little more, and overweight women, a little less.

Women who do not gain enough weight have an increased risk for delivering babies with low birth weight (less than 2500 gm, or 5.52 pounds).

And babies who are underweight are at risk for physical and psychological childhood disorders, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown:
· They are more likely to experience asthma, respiratory tract infections, and ear infections.
· Babies who are born weighing less than 1000 gm (2.2 lbs), are at greater risk for cerebral palsy (a neurological abnormality).
· They are more likely to score low on intelligence tests and are more likely to have delayed development.

Conversely though, gaining too much weight can also be a problem. It can make pregnancy an unpleasant experience, causing
· Backache;
· Leg pain;
· Varicose veins; and
· Fatigue.

It may also lead to hypertension and diabetes. Excess weight may also be difficult to lose after delivery.

Excessive weight gain may also cause problems for the baby. Technically, an overweight baby is one who weighs more than 4500 gm, or 9.9 lbs. Large babies make vaginal deliveries more difficult, increasing the risk for cesarean section. Overweight babies may have an increased risk for health problems later in life, such as
· Obesity;
· Adult rheumatoid arthritis; and
· Diabetes.

To find out more about Nutritional support during or before your pregnancy, contact UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown Dip.ION (mBANT), specialist in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy care in the city of London, EC2. I have also written a free e-book on how you can improve your diet during your pregnancy, which can be obtained by clicking on my link.