“How much should I gain while I am pregnant?”, “Do I HAVE to gain weight?”,  “Have I gained too much?” “Do I really have to eat for two?”

These are all questions we hear frequently and one of the biggest concerns people express about their pregnancies. In a culture that puts much priority in how we look especially as women the prospect of gaining weight can be unpleasent.

Before even going into this discussion I believe it is extremely important to talk about the negative connotation of gaining weight with pregnancy and the pressure to make out bodies look like they have never been pregnant before as soon as you have the baby!

The idea that we will have our babies and the next day look the exact same way we did prior to pregnancy is unrealistic and prohibits us from truly being able to see our own beauty.

Mama you are beautiful. Your stretch marks that show the evidence of a womb stretched to cradle your precious baby. The new curves that your babe will love to cling to as you rock them to sleep. Your body grew, birthed and nursed your babe and everything about that and the proof of it is beautiful. Tell yourself this everyday if you have too, but don’t ever forget it!

Now to answer the questions you actually came read!

I challenge most of my clients to instead of asking “Am I gaining too much?”, to ask, “Am putting food in my body that will nourish and grow my baby well?”. I believe this is a much more important light to put on this subject than a number on the scale.

Changing your focus from that number rising to eating whole foods with dense nutrient value is much more helpful. If you are feeding yourself too hunger levels with foods that will support your pregnancy well your body will gain what it needs. Spend time learning about nutrition.  Compose your diet of whole single ingredient foods like vegetables, beans, meat/game, fish and more vegetables! Discover new recipes for veggies you aren’t used to cooking. Limit foods in your diet that are processed and full of sugar. Also beware of simple carbs like pastas and breads. This is your simplest and most effective way to prevent excessive weight gain in pregnancy!

Now that we have covered that we can discus the number on the scale.

While pregnant a woman needs an average of 300 extra calories a day. Babies do have periods of growth spurts even wile in the womb and those times woman may need more calories than the average. Growing a baby is a lot of work and does require extra calories but also does not require you to have a second helping of pie because you’re, “eating for two”.

The actual number that a woman will gain is difficulty to discuss as it does vary greatly.

As a general rule a woman who begins her pregnancy very thin is likely to need to gain more weight that a woman. While on the other end of spectrum a woman who starts out her pregnancy with lots of curves may need to only gain very little.

A woman of average height and build will typically gain anywhere from 20-50 pounds during the pregnancy. A smaller woman may gain more while a curvy woman may need to gain less.

Again I can’t stress this enough the important part is choosing good foods to put in your body so it will gain what it needs! Not more not less! Talk to your midwife about baby’s growth. Ask her if she feels baby is growing appropriately. Talk to your midwife about your diet and see if there areas that could be improved by only a small change!