Monthly Archives

January 2021

The Truth About Weight Gain during Pregnancy

By PregnancyNo Comments

What is the recommended pregnancy weight? How much weight gain is too much? How much is too little?


Weight gain has always been a controversial topic, especially in the case of pregnant women. The truth is, weight gain is absolutely normal and healthy during pregnancy. As a general guideline, if you are at a healthy weight before getting pregnant, gaining an extra 11kg to 16kg is normal. If you were underweight before, you would need to gain more weight. Conversely, you should gain less if you were overweight before.

That being said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to determine pregnancy weight gain. Many women gain more weight than the recommended range, yet are still perfectly healthy. There are many factors at play here.


How Much Weight Do Women Gain During Their First Trimester?

Generally, women tend to gain 0.5kg to 2kg in the first trimester, followed by 0.5kg every week for the rest of the pregnancy. However in reality, every pregnancy is different and may not necessarily follow this pattern of weight gain. Some women don’t gain much weight at all during the first trimester. In fact, some women even lose weight in this period due to the constant vomiting and nausea caused by morning sickness. On the other hand, you might gain weight rapidly (up to 5kg even!) in the first trimester, before slowing down during the rest of the pregnancy.


What is Pregnancy Weight Made Up From?

Most people think that if you gain weight during pregnancy, it means you gained more fat. That is untrue! Fat only makes up a small percentage in the added weight.

  • Fat storage for breastfeeding

Pregnant women gain 2kg to 5kg of fat as the body prepares for breastfeeding after delivery. Fat cells stored in the body is used to produce milk and feed your baby. This is also why breastfeeding mothers tend to shed their pregnancy weight faster.

  • Breast Tissue

Similar to the increase in fat cells, your breast tissues will also grow in size to prepare for breastfeeding. This may add around 1kg of additional weight to your body.

  • Muscle Mass

Most women come to realize the benefits of exercising during pregnancy. When you exercise, your body weight tends to increase slightly as you gain more muscle mass.

  • Blood Volume

Did you know your body’s blood volume will increase by 50% during pregnancy? That translates to approximately 2kg extra weight! The extra blood volume is needed to carry oxygen to your baby and the rest of the body. This is another reason why pregnant mothers often have swollen hands and feet.

  • Growing Uterus and Baby

As your baby and uterus grows in size, this packs on additional weight as well. Your uterus may weigh up to 2kg, while your baby may weigh around 3kg to 4kg near the end of the pregnancy.

  • Placenta

Placenta is a completely new organ that only grows during pregnancy, and it may weigh up to 1kg.

  • Amniotic fluid

Amniotic fluid is the fluid that surrounds your baby in the uterus. It is an important part of your baby’s development. Low amniotic fluid is dangerous, hence it is always safer to have more amniotic fluid as your pregnancy progresses. Amniotic fluid in the body weighs approximately 1kg.

With that in mind, now you know why it makes sense to gain at least 10kg of weight during pregnancy in order to deliver a healthy and strong baby!

The mental pressure of gaining weight (or not!) adds stress to many pregnant women, on top of dealing with existing pregnancy woes. But here’s the truth: too much or too little weight gain is usually not an issue. It only becomes an issue when the baby is not growing properly.

As new mothers, women should realize that your bodies are incredible and stop obsessing over the perfect body, and follow your bodily cues. If you are feeling hungry, eat! But do know that pregnancy is not a license to eat for two and to give in completely to your pregnancy cravings. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is the way to go. And most importantly, trust that your body is getting the right nutrition and gaining the right amount of weight to nurture a wonderful new life inside!

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What Are Pregnancy Cramps and Should You Be Worried About It?

By PregnancyNo Comments

Here is our guide on pregnancy cramps – what’s normal, what’s a source of concern, and how to tell the two apart.

Cramps are normal parts and parcels of pregnancy and are likely to occur throughout all trimesters. Women often get worried about cramping during pregnancy and wonder if it’s a sign of miscarriage. The good news is – most pregnancy cramps aren’t dangerous as long as the pain isn’t alarming, persistent, one-sided, or accompanied by spotting (bleeding). Also, cramping in itself is not generally a sign of miscarriage, and neither does it lead to miscarriage. Miscarriage is caused by an unusual growth in the egg or embryo, in which the body responds to by terminating the pregnancy.

When Your Cramps are Normal

The first cramps may come as you first discover you are pregnant. Also known as implantation cramping, it can feel like the onset of a period as the fertilized egg implants itself on the uterine wall.

In the first trimester, your uterus will begin to expand and this may cause mild to moderate cramping in your lower back. The sensation may be similar to period cramps. This is because the uterus is a muscle, and when it contracts, it may feel like a cramp. Another explanation could be the Braxton Hicks contractions, where your cramps are actually practising contractions that can start as early as the second trimester. These contractions are more uncomfortable rather painful, last for roughly 30 to 60 seconds, are irregular and tend to stop entirely on its own. It is not a cause for concern. Over the next two trimesters, it is normal to feel mild cramps once in a while as your body continues to grow. Especially in your third trimester, you will begin to feel more pressure and cramping in your pelvis as your baby is growing very large by now. Changing positions and lying down on your side may ease your discomfort.

Pregnant women tend to feel pain on one side of the abdomen. This is not a cramp, but simply the ligaments around your belly stretching itself. The pain usually lasts a few seconds and is perfectly harmless.

If you get cramps, but a trip to the toilet or passing gas gives your relief, this means the cramps are likely caused by gas, bloating, indigestion or a full bladder, which are commonly experienced by expecting mothers.

As much as your cramps may be normal, do bring it up at your next prenatal appointment as your doctor may be able to pinpoint the issue and offer practical solutions.

When Your Cramps are Abnormal

In the third trimester, frequent cramping is generally not considered normal. If you are experiencing 6 or more contractions within an hour, you should speak to your doctor to rule out premature labour. Other symptoms of premature labour include back pain, pressure in the pelvic region, spotting and leakage of fluids from the vagina.

However, when you start to notice bleeding, sharp pain and dizziness accompanying cramps, you should beware as it could be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg does not enter your uterus but stays in the fallopian tubes. In serious cases, it may attach itself to one of your ovaries, cervix or even abdomen. However, it is a rare condition that only occurs in 1% to 2% of pregnancies.

Bleeding can also be a sign of miscarriage or placenta previa, a condition where the placenta detaches from the uterus wall and covers the cervix. This could lead to excessive bleeding during childbirth that seriously affects you and your baby’s health. Placenta previa occurs in 1 out of 200 pregnancies. While uncommon, women who have had C-section, an abortion, or previous uterine surgery are at an increased risk of getting placenta previa.

Another cause for concern is one-sided pain or cramps, which may be linked to preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication where the mother has high blood pressure, protein in urine and swelling around the legs and hands. It usually happens after the 20th week of pregnancy and may cause pain in the upper right area of your abdomen. Around 5% of expecting mothers have preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a severe condition that results in seizures and poses a serious health risk to mother and baby.

For the most part, cramps tend to go away on its own when you get enough rest. The best way to manage cramps is to lie down, get plenty of rest and make yourself comfortable. However, if you feel your cramps are not getting better over time, it would be wise to talk to your doctor immediately. It is better to be safe than ignore an issue that may turn out to be a serious concern!