Katie Condon Registered Dietitian, MS, RD, LDN
Women may experience worry about their weight during pregnancy while they see a number on the scale go into a foreign territory. However, every pregnancy is different, and this includes the amount of weight a mother will gain. Women are encouraged to gain weight so the body can build a healthy pregnancy. Below is a breakdown of where the weight goes when growing a baby and how the weight gain contributes to the functions of the growth.
- Baby: 6-9 lbs
Most full-term babies weigh between 6 to 9 pounds at birth.
- Placenta: 1-2lbs
The placenta is an organ that develops in the mother’s uterus during pregnancy. It provides the necessary oxygen, nutrients and life support for the baby. The placenta also removes waste products and carbon dioxide from the baby’s blood by sending it back through the umbilical cord to the mother’s circulation to be eliminated.
- Amniotic fluid: 2-3lbs
Amniotic fluid is a clear, yellow fluid that forms within the first 12 days after conception. It contains important nutrients, hormones and antibodies. It surrounds your growing baby and protects the baby from bumps and injuries.
- Breast tissue: 2-3lbs
From the start of pregnancy, fatty tissue and blood flow increases to the mother’s breasts to help milk ducts and mammary glands grow. The increase in fat storage in the breasts, help to maintain lactation for breastfeeding after the baby is born.
- Blood supply: 4lbs
The total volume of blood almost doubles during pregnancy in response to the increased requirements made by the mother, the placenta and the baby’s tissues and organs.
- Fat stores: 5-9lbs
Mothers aren’t just growing their baby’s; their bodies are also preparing for motherhood. It takes a lot of physical energy to feed and nurture the baby. Therefore, for preparation, the body stores energy in case of famine, to prioritize the baby’s needs.
- Uterus: 2 -5lbs
The mother’s uterus grows to make room for the baby. During pregnancy, the lining of the uterus thickens and its blood vessels enlarge to provide nourishment to the baby.
Remember, every pregnancy is different and different requirements for weight gain will be recommended if a mother is underweight, pregnant with twins or triplets. It is always important to talk with your doctor about your weight gain and pregnancy to know what is healthy for you!