Weight gain and pregnancy do go together, but that doesn't make it a pleasant or easy conversation. You should be sure to talk to your practitioner about what special needs you may have if you experience any of the following issues during pregnancy:
- You have special diet restrictions or needs.
If you are a vegetarian, vegan or have other special needs in pregnancy, it is important to discuss with your practitioner about your weight gain and dietary needs. It is possible to have a very healthy pregnancy without meat and/or dairy, however, you will need to be informed and committed to your dietary needs.
- You're overweight.
Being overweight when you're pregnant will get you a lot of pressure about your weight gain. The important thing to remember is that you must gain weight. Some practitioners recommend that you only gain between 11-20 pounds. You should choose a weight gain goal based on a discussion with your doctor or midwife. Having someone to guide you might help each pound count and make your weight be less of an issue. Keeping your weight in check can also help to stave off certain pregnancy complications that may be more likely to occur when you're overweight.
- You're underweight.
When you are starting a pregnancy being underweight it may be more important for you to also gain weight early in pregnancy. Your pregnancy may take its toll on your body in many ways, the calories you take in for you and your baby are important. Some practitioners will advise you to gain slightly more weight than average, between 28-40 pounds, depending on where you are starting. Some of this may also take into account how healthy you are and why you are underweight.
- You have a history of an eating disorder.
Past or present eating disorders can play havoc with you in pregnancy. It is imperative that you confide in your practitioner and continue having a dialogue. Weight gain is a necessary part of pregnancy and even many years later, it can cause issues for women with disordered eating.
- You are expecting twins or higher order multiples.
How to determine what you should gain is also dependent on how many babies you are busy growing. The truly important part with multiple pregnancy is also the pattern of weight gain. It is very important for you to gain weight early in pregnancy since multiple pregnancies tend to be shorter. So consider gaining about 20 pounds by around the 20th week of pregnancy. This can help increase the weight of each baby helping to prevent low birth weight in the event of preterm labor.
Your midwife or doctor should discuss your nutritional needs as well as weight issues. You should talk to them about your thoughts and feelings about gaining weight. You should also consider asking for a referral to a dietitian or someone who specializes in nutrition and pregnancy, particularly related to your above issue.
It is possible to have a healthy baby even with a pregnancy that requires special attention. The good news is that, unlike other complications or issues, what you eat is completely in your hands.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines. Kathleen M. Rasmussen and Ann L. Yaktine, Editors; Committee to Reexamine IOM Pregnancy Weight Guidelines; Institute of Medicine; National Research Council; 2009.