So, here is a question most first time mums always seem to ask me:
“How much weight will I put on during pregnancy?”
Obviously there is no direct answer to this question as there is no one size fits all solution, there are however certainly rules and principles that we can stick to to work out roughly how much weight gain should be expected.
Personally I aim for my clients to put on 20% of their starting weight, as I feel if they are training right and eating right then there should be no real reason to gain much more than this. This however is not the only measure I concentrate on, I have worked with pregnant mums for many years now and realise that there are other factors that might influence weight gain, fluid retention being the main culprit.
I have trained women that have put on as much as 15kg in the final trimester alone, despite having a good exercise and food plan. This is why weight gain can certainly change from one person to the next. So you are probably wondering what measurement I do concentrate on?
Body fat percentage! Yes, that’s right, I like to track all my clients body fat percentages throughout pregnancy. You might think that taking body fat percentages are only for clients trying to lose weight or professionally athletes, but that is the not case.
I will show you a table of weight gain throughout pregnancy to help explain my case.
By way of illustration, a 60kg female should gain approximately 12kg during pregnancy, at the rate of approximately 1-2kg per month. This weight gain is usually made up of the following (approximated, of course):
Uterus and amniotic fluid
Extra blood and fluid
Extra fat stores
As you can see from the table above, only 2.5kg of weight gain is from extra fat stores, and it is this measurement that I like to keep as low as possible but still maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
By tracking the body fat percentage you can monitor how much weight a client is putting on in a healthy way and how much is in an unhealthy way. Fluid retention will soon disperse after birth but extra body fat stores are going to be harder to shift, so the lower you keep that figure the better.
My client that put on 15kg in her third trimester only put on just over 2% body fat during pregnancy despite putting on a total 33kg from her starting weight. After 6 weeks after birth she was only 5kg heavier than her staring weight and by 3 months she was only 1kg over where she started, which is a fantastic effort. Well done Louise!
So in answer to the question, I like to say try not to worry about weight gain, as long as you are exercising regularly and eating healthy nutritious food, then your baby should be growing up in an fantastic environment.
The less body fat you gain the quicker you will bounce back to your old self, and as I have said many times before, eating for two doesn’t mean your unborn baby loves banana bread as much as you do!
If you have any questions about weight gain or any topics in this blog then please feel free to send me an email.