WEIGHT GAIN DURING PREGNANCY
Less than half of total weight gain resides in the foetus, placenta and amniotic fluid. The remainder is found in maternal reproductive tissues, fluid, blood and maternal stores (largely composed of fat. The increasing subcutaneous fat in abdomen and thighs serves as energy reserve during pregnancy and lactation.
By full term, average weight gain during pregnancy for a normal healthy woman with desirable body weight is 12.5kg ranging between 11 - 13 kg.
The pattern of weight gain is as important as total weight gain. During first trimester there is little increase in weight (0.7 to 1.4kg). Thereafter a steady gain of 0.4kg/ week is desirable.
Nutrition requirements increase tremendously during pregnancy and lactation owing to the physiological changes. Wholesome nourishment before pregnancy has a greater impact on long term health than at any other time. A woman who has been well nourished before conception enters pregnancy with a good reserve of nutrients so that the needs of the growing foetus can be met without affecting her health. A well nourished foetus enters life with good physical and mental health. Moreover the reserve of nutrients laid before and during pregnancy help towards successful lactation after parturition.