Pregnant women sometimes think their belly grows much too quickly, or, on the contrary, they can hardly notice it for some reason. Learn how to make sure that the size of your belly is ok.
What Does The Size of Pregnant Belly Depend On?
Belly height, or your fundal height, normally corresponds to a certain stage of pregnancy. For example, on the 32nd week, the fundal height should be about 12-13 inches. On the other hand, the “bigness” of belly depends on individual characteristics of every woman. Sometimes, it depends on how a woman is built. Small women with narrow pelvis have bigger belly than those with voluptuous hips. But what’s more crucial for the size of belly is gaining pregnancy pounds.
How Many Pregnancy Pounds Can You Gain?
Every woman has her own norm. It depends on the body mass index. If you are expecting twins, that adds to your norm about 4-9 pounds. Most women gain 40% of pregnancy pounds within the first half of pregnancy and 60% within the second one. If a woman had normal weight before getting pregnant, she would add 3-4 pounds within the first trimester, gaining one pound per week during the second one and 1-2 pounds during the ninth month. The weight should be increasing evenly and steadily. This ensures the normal fetal growth.
BMI before Pregnancy Is Less than 20
If your BMI before pregnancy was less than 20 (low body weight), then your weight gain during nine months will put you into more than average weight category. Normal weight gain for women with BMI less than 20 is about 28-35 pounds.
BMI before Pregnancy Is Between 20 and 27
If your BMI was between 20 and 27 (normal weight), then the normal weight gains during the pregnancy will be 22-30 pounds.
BMI before Pregnancy Is Less than 27
If your BMI before pregnancy is 27, this indicates excessive weight (27-29 is overweight, more than 29 is obesity). But you shouldn’t try to lose weight during pregnancy. Trying to lose weight during pregnancy may affect the fetal growth in a bad way. So even if you had excessive weight before getting pregnant, you’ll have to add about 15-20 pounds more.
Why Is Excessive Weight Risky?
Excessive pregnancy pounds may lead to health problems both in a woman and her fetus. Uncontrolled weight gain is a symptom for late toxicosis that can cause miscarriage. If this is the case, women would have pains in lower back and lower belly. In severe cases, there can be pre-term birth or premature placental abruption.
Besides, excessive weight makes it hard for muscles to function. It also leads to swellings of legs, belly and arms. The woman will feel pains in back and lower leg muscles as well as will suffer from bad blood circulation in legs and varicose veins. The pregnant woman tends to feel increasingly tired more often and gets irritable. Late toxicosis puts the fetus at the risk of chronic oxygen hunger and even fetal death. Obese women have greater risk of these complications.
Swellings During Pregnancy and Their Prevention
Some women store excessive water in their bodies, for example, due to kidney disorders. So if a pregnant woman gains weight much too quickly, she has to check how much liquid she drinks and excretes during the day. A healthy woman excretes more liquid than she consumes. Liquid build-up in the body leads to weight gain. Apart from outer swellings, this leads to the swelling of internal organs. Placenta swelling is the most dangerous as it interrupts the normal fetal growth.
As a rule, all pregnant women are advised to cut down on salt, spicy, fatty and fried foods. The reason is that this kind of food promotes liquid storage in the body and leads to swellings. On the other hand, you shouldn’t drastically cut down on drinking liquid. Drink not less than 1.2 -1.5 liters per day.
Diabetes and Pregnancy
Women with diabetes are more likely to have bigger fetus and, therefore, gain more weight. If the woman was born big herself, she has to check her sugar levels in blood and urine as diabetes may be latent. Sometimes, diabetes expresses itself right during pregnancy. It can happen because your hormonal profile is changing. Those pregnant women will fall into the risk group, even if increased sugar levels showed off only in one out of several tests.
When Is Excessive Weight Gain More Dangerous?
Excessive weight gain is more dangerous during the second half of pregnancy, specifically from the 20th week. This may lead to late toxicosis. The earlier these complications occur, the more difficult the birth will be. This is why women are encouraged to watch their weight, measure the blood pressure and pass urine tests. Late toxicosis is usually associated with increased blood pressure and protein in urine. If all three symptoms are detected at once – swellings, increased blood pressure and protein in urine – the woman is urgently taken to the hospital.
Expectant mom – and her relatives – should care for her emotional well-being to avoid eating a lot because of stress or, on the contrary, the situation when the pregnant woman can’t eat because she is too nervous.
Average Pregnancy Pounds Distribution
- Fetus – 7-7.5 lbs
- Placenta – 1 lb
- Amniotic fluid – 1-1.5 lbs
- Increased womb –2 lbs
- Mammary glands – 1 lb
- Blood volume – 3 lbs
- Intracellular fluid – 3 lbs
- Fat tissue – 7 lbs
Total: about 26 lbs
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