Weight development in pregnancy

In many women, pregnancy is the time in life when the quality of food takes on a whole new meaning. The process of eating becomes more conscious, the body senses the increased need. But not all women are eating well.

Balanced weight gain is important

Especially in early pregnancy, a balanced weight gain is important. Women of normal starting weight for pregnancy (body mass index = BMI 20 to 26) have a daily requirement of about 2500 kilocalories. That corresponds to an additional requirement of only 150 to 250 kilocalories. In other words, a small piece of smoked mackerel. Or a small slice of wholegrain bread with cream cheese. Or half a pound of fresh cherries.

Normal weight women should increase 11 to 16 kilograms over the nine months. Women underweight more (up to 18 kilograms), and women overweight less (seven to ten kilograms). Whether you are normal, underweight or overweight, you can calculate with the BMI calculator. Thus, half a year after delivery, especially when the woman is breastfeeding, the scales will only display about one kilogram more than before pregnancy. However, if women take more than necessary, they will hang on average 2.5 kilograms after breastfeeding. It can even be over 6 kilograms if the massive increase occurred before the 20th week of pregnancy.

Lush mom, fat kid?

The starting weight of a pregnant woman has an influence on the development of her baby. For example, underweight and low weight gain during pregnancy may be associated with growth retardation and reduced birth weight. Severe obesity often causes problems during pregnancy, such as hypertension or gestational diabetes.

Diets are taboo

Nevertheless, diets should definitely be avoided during the nine months. A diet inevitably leads to an undersupply of the baby due to the low intake of food. Nutritional supplements, however useful and important in pregnancy, can not compensate for this deficiency. In addition, diets in this time of upheaval and reorientation favor mood disorders and mental health problems.

Nutritional advice in pregnancy

It is therefore by no means superfluous if the midwife or the gynecologist closely monitors weight development during the nine months. They do it for the good of mother and child. However, the maternal weight alone does not allow an accurate prediction of the development of the baby in the abdomen. Many other factors are involved in this: age and height of the mother, her blood pressure, the number of previous pregnancies and whether it is a multiple pregnancy. The nutrition of the mother with trace elements also plays an important role in the child's health status. Iron and zinc deficiency, for example, lead to a lower birth weight.

Eating disorders endanger the baby

Particular problems arise when women with an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder desire a child. However, in women with an eating disorder that leads to underweight, ovulation and menstrual bleeding often remain. Only at a BMI of about 19, the fertility occurs again.

An eating disorder should be treated with psychological support before a woman becomes pregnant. Otherwise, there are risks such as miscarriage, massive pregnancy, delayed child growth, low birth weight, or complications at birth. In addition, the later development of a mental disorder is also more likely in the child. These risks are significantly lower if psyche and body are recovered from the eating disorder before pregnancy.

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