When do you gain weight during pregnancy?

What is a proper amount of weight gain during pregnancy? Are vitamin and mineral supplements necessary for all pregnant women? 

The Committee on Maternal Nutrition of the National Research Council indicates that an average weight gain during pregnancy of 24 pounds (or a range of 20-25 pounds) corresponds with a “bet- ter than average course and outcome of pregnancy.” 

The gain during pregnancy consists of the weight of the infant plus the following average gains: placenta and amniotic fluid, over 3 pounds; increased size of uterus, 2 pounds; mammary glands, 4/5 pound; and an increase in the mother’s blood volume, 2 4/5 pounds. This additional weight of the mother (about nine pounds) plus the weight of the child (about seven pounds) still leaves a few pounds unaccounted for. The unspecified weight comes from a built-in safety factor: Evidence shows that during pregnancy the hormone, progesterone, stimulates a certain amount of extra fat storage, and even women who are assured by their physicians that they are not gaining too much weight may notice a little extra fat on the hips, upper thighs, and back because of the hormone action. This extra weight is readily lost after pregnancy. 

When do you put on weight during pregnancy?
There appears to be no reason for limiting weight gain to less than 20-25 pounds for the normal, healthy woman. Ideally, the gain may occur as one to three pounds during the first three months with the remainder accumulating rather evenly and consistently during the last six months. Remember, however, that the physician treats individuals, not groups of average or “normal” people; there- fore, he makes his recommendations for the individual pregnant woman. Generally, nutrient requirements increase significantly after the first few weeks of pregnancy. The physician may recommend vitamin and mineral supplements, but these cannot be substituted for (or in any way decrease the need for) good food habits. Basically, the diet of a pregnant woman is a conventional one, modified to emphasize foods high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

Q&A - Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Some obstetricians believe that most women will require supplemental iron and folic acid (one of the B vitamins). Beyond that, a woman who eats properly may need no supplements at all.

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