Many women hate facing the scale, during pregnancy this is no different. However, it is likely that your care provider is going to ask you to get on the scale at every visit.
So what exactly are they looking at?
Your care provider is monitoring your weight to help you achieve a healthy pregnancy. Gaining too much weight or not enough weight can put you and your baby at risk for complications. Your care provider is also monitoring for any spikes in your weight gain. A sudden spike could be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
How much weight should you expect to gain?
This is going to depend on a few different factors but mostly your weight prior to starting pregnancy. This is normally based on your Body Mass Index or BMI.
Here are some general rules of thumb:
If you were underweight - 28-40 pounds.
If you were a normal weight - 25-35 pounds.
If you were overweight - 15-25 pounds.
If you were obese - 11-20 pounds.
There are different guidelines for women who are carrying multiples and other special circumstances so it is important that you talk to your care provider about your expected weight gain based on your individual situation.
Also be aware that weight gain is not steady throughout the entire pregnancy. For some women due to morning sickness and food aversions they may even lose a little weight in the first trimester.
In the first trimester you should expect to only gain about 3-4 pounds.
In the second trimester the weight gain will pick up and be around 14 pounds.
In the third trimester your weight gain may taper off for an additional 10 pounds
Where is all this weight going?
So if the baby is only a few pounds at birth where is all this weight going.
Here is a breakdown assuming a 30-pound weight gain:
The baby – 7.5 pounds
The Placenta – 1.5 pounds
Amniotic fluid – 2 pounds
Bigger Uterus – 2 pounds
Increase in breast tissue – 2 pounds
Increase in mother’s blood supply – 4 pounds
Extra fluid in mother’s tissue – 4 pounds
Increase in maternal fat – 7 pounds
Are you really eating for two?
Well sadly this is definitely not the case, so your pregnancy is not a reason to have a free for all (though indulging every once in a while can be fun).
How much should you be eating?
During your first trimester you do not need any additional calories. During your second trimester an additional 340 calories is the general recommendation. Finally, during your third trimester an extra 450 calories is all that is needed.
If you are having a hard time seeing the numbers on the scale go up talk to your care provider. They may be able to make accommodations to make the process easier for you. One example I have seen is to get weighed facing away from the numbers and only having your provider bring up your weight if there is an issue you need to be aware of.
It is important that you take concerns that your care provider have about your weight gain seriously. Be open and honest with them when they ask questions about your diet. They need the most accurate information so they can help guide you. With accurate information about your diet and exercise they can give you information that is tailored to you instead of a cookie cutter answer that is based strictly on numbers.