Rapid Weight Gain: Is This Normal?

I'm five months pregnant and 32 years old. My weight gain was normal in the first four months. I didn't have any morning sickness at all and I have been eating well. During the holidays I found myself eating a lot of sweets -- three to four chocolates and some cookies each day. Of course, I eat three good meals a day too. After 18 weeks I gained 10 pounds! I was so shocked and depressed. My doctor said it's okay and my husband said I should enjoy my body change.

Before I got pregnant, my normal weight was about 108 pounds. Is this rapid weight gain normal?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Rapid weight gain of more than two pounds a week is a concern because it could signify excess fluid retention, but since you have checked with your doctor, you can feel comfortable that this is not the case, which is why I agree with your husband and doctor. Do not worry about your weight gain over the past month. Holidays have the habit of putting weight onto the most well-intentioned folks. My guess is that the weight you gained is due in part to the holidays, but also to the pregnancy. The fourth month of pregnancy is a time when the rate of weight gain picks up, and is even slightly greater than during the third trimester.

You actually need more calories during the second trimester than during the first to supply your baby with the energy and nutrients it needs for the rapid growing it is doing.

Now that the holidays have passed, you won't have to worry about the temptations of unnecessary treats, and you can focus on eating a healthy diet that will provide the optimal nutrition for you and your baby. Every day include three servings of low-fat calcium-rich foods like yogurt and skim milk. Have six or more servings of fruits and vegetables, particularly those high in folic acid (orange juice, spinach) and vitamin C (orange juice, sweet peppers, melon, broccoli), have seven servings of whole grains, three servings of leans meats, fish or poultry, and be sure to have two fish meals per week -- but not tuna or swordfish, which are apt to contain heavy metals (fish supplies important omega 3 fatty acids), and very importantly... drink plenty of fluids.

Relax about your weight gain. No doubt, with the decrease in sweets, your weight gain will fall off a little, although hopefully not too much. Your baby is depending on you not to worry so much about how much weight you gain, but how well you are eating.

Thanks for writing, and enjoy your pregnancy!

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