OK, so you're technically not eating for two, but when is there another period in your life when adding extra cheese to a pizza or having a malted milk shake with dinner tastes so good as it does during pregnancy? Never. The answer is never. But your body's going through a lot of changes too, making your weight shift up as you, you know, grow a baby. For some, they don't notice any weight gain until the second or third trimester, but when do you gain the most weight during pregnancy?
The weight gain of pregnancy is a marathon, not a sprint. It's a long, slow jog up the scale until you deliver. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), depending upon your weight when you get pregnant, you should gain between 10 and 35 pounds over the nine month period of pregnancy. However, when those pounds kick in is somewhat unique per mother. According to the study, most women shouldn't gain any more than four pounds during the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy. There isn't a need for a big calorie boost, and you're not building the blood and fluid reserves that you do during subsequent trimesters. During the second and third trimesters, you should be gaining between one half of a pound and one pound per week. Some women experience a jump somewhere in their second trimester, according to the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) at the National Institutes of Health, not only because of a lot of water weight gain, but also because of increased appetite after possible nausea in the beginning of gestation.
When I was pregnant, I gained the lion's share of my pregnancy weight between weeks 24 and 34, and that's pretty common, according to maternal nutritionist April Schuyler MS RD. She tells Romper, "Pregnancy gain isn't a straight line. Weight will dip and spike as the weeks go on, and you need to remember, it's not all fat and baby weight in those numbers." In fact, she says, most of the weight gained in the second trimester is fluid related. Your body adds a ton of water and blood volume during this period to cushion and feed the baby for the entirety of the pregnancy. It also has to be enough to keep your system running as smoothly as possible while you provide for your child.
I was so worried about my weight when I was pregnant, and that's not healthy either, according to Schuyler. "It's easy to get into a pattern of disordered thought when you're pregnant." She says that between Hollywood making pregnancy look like a breeze that you simply bounce back from, to rampant before and after photos on Instagram, it's easy to get caught in a comparison trap, and that worry begins even before you give birth.
When you gain the most weight during pregnancy is based on your body, your needs, and is completely individual. Schyler suggests talking to your obstetrician or midwife to determine how much weight you should gain, and to address any concerns you might have over your eating habits and exercise. "You should strive to eat healthy and exercise while you're pregnant, but you should also enjoy this short period in your life," she tells Romper. And it's true. There's something to be said for fueling your body and feeding your baby, but there's also truth in the fact that you're pregnant for a finite amount of time, and if it ends up bogged down with the minutiae of your food intake, you're not enjoying it as you perhaps could.
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