Gain as little weight as possible during pregnancy

What To Expect When You Are 18 Weeks Pregnant

In Pregnancy week 18, you will see that your belly is now quite low and the position of the uterus will be a bit below the naval area – the size will have also increased to that of a tiny watermelon. The form will not be round yet and will be more oval is shape.

18 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

18 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

Some women also experience compression of veins – especially the vein that is responsible for pumping impure blood to the heart, known as inferior vena cava. You need to apply as little pressure as possible and you can do this by sleeping on your side rather than on your front. Changes in the baby show that it would have increased in size (length is now about 6 to 7 inches) and weight is about 6 to 8 ounces. It is during this week that the skin is developed – forming the dermis and epidermis. Reproductive organs are also formed and the bones solidify from their earlier cartilage stage. Pregnancy is one of the most intriguing, joyful experiences in life. A normal pregnancy term is 40 weeks. This wonderful journey brings with it numerous changes that the expectant mother has to cope with through the term. The most common 18 weeks pregnant symptoms include lower back pain, mild abdominal cramping and joint aches. As the uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby, it exerts pressure on the ligaments that keep it in place. The weight of the uterus causes the ligaments to stretch thus resulting in cramps experienced mainly on either side of the uterus. In addition, the increasing weight of the uterus puts pressure on the lower back making backache a very common 18 weeks pregnant symptom. A change in posture is also noticed as the pregnancy proceeds and most women tend to tilt backward. The increasing weight of the uterus also puts pressure on the ureters thus slowing down the flow of urine from the bladder. This causes urinary tract infections in many expectant mothers. On the other hand, the pressure exerted by the uterus on the bladder may also cause an increase in the need to urinate.

18 weeks pregnancy symptoms also include breast tenderness and fullness owing to the active hormones and mammary glands in preparation for the coming of the little baby. The increase in blood supply to the breasts may also make the veins prominent. Varicose veins are a common 18 weeks pregnant sign caused due to hormonal changes, pressure exerted by the uterus on major blood vessels in the pelvic region and increased blood circulation. Weight gain during pregnancy leads to increased pressure on the knee joints resulting in joint pain. Many women also experience swelling or bloating due to water retention. Another 18 weeks pregnant symptom is a fluttering feeling in the uterus as the baby begins moving around. However, many women experience this sensation only by the 20th week of pregnancy. Due to the hormonal and physical changes that take place, many expectant mothers are known to face depression and insomnia. The surge in progesterone and estrogen levels in the blood stream also causes mood swings, dizziness, fatigue, sleepiness and lack of concentration. However, these symptoms are more commonly seen during early pregnancy. Nausea, vomiting, food aversions and food cravings are other early pregnancy symptoms that may carry on till the 18th pregnancy week or more.

18 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound

Most doctors recommend an ultrasound examination of the uterus to ascertain the actual status of the pregnancy. An ultrasound is one of the most reliable methods as it reveals what is actually happening within the mother’s body. The main purpose of an 18 weeks pregnant ultrasound is to rule out the possibility of any pregnancy abnormality or deformity in the developing baby. At times, an ultrasound reveals life altering abnormalities and having a clear picture of reality is helpful in making important decisions with regard to the pregnancy. At this stage in a pregnancy, the baby’s heart is visible in a sonogram and any deformities may be clearly seen.

Pregnancy Week 18 Weight Gain

Most pregnant women hate to look in the mirror and see a reflection without a good figure. However, the truth still remains that an expectant mother is bound to put on weight and gain a lopsided figure in the bargain. As much as women despise weight gain, an increase in weight is essential for the success of the pregnancy. At 18 weeks of pregnancy, the uterus is approximately the size of a melon and can be felt below the belly button. 18 weeks baby weight gain stomach begins to show gradually. In many women, 18 weeks pregnant weight gain is not very obvious as most women tend to put on weight evenly. The average weight gain ranges from 25 to 35 pounds for the entire pregnancy term and by the 18th week of pregnancy, most women put on 6 to 12 pounds. 18 weeks pregnancy weight gain is usually half a pound to a pound for the week. A wholesome diet, sufficient rest and light exercise are the key factors to a successful pregnancy. A balance of various nutrients, especially folic acid, calcium, omega 3 fatty acids and iron are essential for the proper formation and development of the baby. 5 to 6 small, light meals spanned over the day are better than 3 heavy meals. Building up the immune system through the consumption of fruits and vegetables is essential to fight off infections that may prove detrimental to the health of the mother and baby alike. Poultry and fish are also recommended. Caffeine, alcohol, drugs and cigarettes must be avoided completely. Light exercise in the form of regular walks is highly recommended to keep a check on excessive weight gain and indigestion. It assists in keeping the expectant mother fit and flexible as well. All pregnant women must keep a check on weight gain by monitoring it throughout the pregnancy term to avoid weight related complications. If monitored regularly, corrective measures can be taken to regulate excessive or low weight gain for the benefit of the mother and baby alike.

16 Weeks Pregnant Bleeding

Bleeding is the most common pregnancy complication and must not be taken lightly, irrespective of the amount of bleeding. Many women take bleeding at 18 weeks lightly as they think that it is implantation bleeding. However, it is essential for them to realize that the process of implantation takes place by the 5th week. Hence, 18 weeks implantation bleeding is simply not possible. Similarly, since menstruation ceases on successful implantation, an 18 weeks pregnancy period is also unnatural. 18 weeks pregnant bleeding could be the result of ruptured blood vessels in the cervix due to the pressure exerted by the uterus and the increased blood flow to the pelvic region. 18 weeks bleeding during pregnancy is usually the result of a pregnancy complication that could result in pregnancy loss if not attended to in time. If 18 weeks pregnant bleeding is accompanied by the passage of blood clots, back pain and cramping, it could be a bad sign, signaling an inevitable pregnancy loss. Consulting your doctor to determine the cause of bleeding is highly recommended.

How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy?

There are specific guidelines about weight gain during pregnancy. These are set based on your Body Mass Index (BMI) prior to pregnancy. While they are only a guide, your doctor will want you to try and stay as close to them as possible.

Here are the guidelines that have been set:

Body Mass Index 18.5 to 24.9

If you have an average build prior to pregnancy with a BMI that is between 18.5 and 24.9, it is recommended that your weight gain be kept between 25 and 35 pounds.

Body Mass Index Under 18.5

If you are smaller build and your BMI was under 18.5 before you got pregnant, you need to gain a little more weight during pregnancy, and try to gain around 28 to 40 pounds.

Body Mass Index 25 to 29

If you have a larger build with a BMI around 25 to 29 pre-pregnancy, they recommend that you try to keep your weight gain between 15 and 25 pounds.

Body Mass Index 30 or Higher

If you are considered obese with a BMI that is 30 or higher before pregnancy, you need to keep your weight gain at about 11 to 20 pounds. While dieting during pregnancy won’t be considered healthy for you and your baby, you might need to see a dietician to design a diet that gives you and your baby enough nutrition.

How Many Extra Calories Do I Actually Need?

The calories you need are organized by which trimester (3 months) you are in during your pregnancy. Here are the guidelines:

First Trimester (1 to 3 Months)

During this trimester, you need to be eating around 1,800 calories per day. This is very close to a normal daily calorie intake for a non-pregnant, average sized woman. This means you won’t need much extra during the first trimester. If you are wondering, “how much weight should you gain during pregnancy,” most people don’t even begin to gain weight in the first trimester.

Second Trimester (4 to 7 Months)

During your second trimester, you will need to add about 300 calories a day to your diet. The total needed intake during this time is around 2,200 calories. When you think about 300 calories, this equals; a baked potato, a bowl of cereal, or an extra egg.

Third Trimester (8 Months to Birth)

The last trimester of pregnancy is when your body will be putting on the most weight. On average, expect to gain around 1 to 2 pounds per week this month. Your calorie recommendation for this month is 2,400 calories per day. To get to this amount, you really only need to add 200 calories per day from things like; a peanut butter sandwich for a snack, crackers and a few pieces of cheese, or cream cheese on a bagel with your usual breakfast.

Healthy Foods During Pregnancy to Keep Weight Gain Steady

A steady and sensible weight gain will help you have a healthy pregnancy. This means omitting sugary, processed, and high calories foods. Focus on the food groups and eat a variety of high nutritional food choices each day. Choose foods from these groups:

Grains are very important. You can’t get your daily grains in the form of; cereal, bread, quinoa, rice, and oats. They will give you needed folic acid, iron, and energy to fuel your body.

You should be eating at least 9 servings of grains daily. 1 serving = 1 slice of bread, ½ cup rice, or 1 cup of cereal.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and Vegetables will give you the majority of vitamins, minerals, and folic acid you need. They also help you get enough magnesium in your diet. Vegetables can help you meet your fiber needs to avoid constipation.

You need 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. 1 serving is about ½ to 1 cup.

Milk and milk products will help you meet your needs for protein and calcium everyday. You need this to help your baby build strong healthy bones, and tissue. If you do not get enough calcium during pregnancy, it will be taken from your bones.

Try to get at least 3 servings of dairy each day. This is about 1 cup of milk, 2 ounces of cheese, or ¾ cup of yogurt.

Meats and Protein Foods

Protein is going to be the main food that helps your baby grow. Try to eat lean meats like; chicken, fish and turkey. They will provide you with iron, and protein. If you are vegetarian, make sure you eat plenty of; beans, nuts, and eggs if you are lacto-ovo vegetarian.

A serving of meat or fish is about 6 ounces or the size of a deck of cards. Try to get at least 3 servings daily.

Pregnancy Eating Tips

“How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?” The answer is not too much, or not too little. In order to gain just enough for a healthy baby, eating a sensible diet is the best bet. These tips will help you along the way:

  • Eat a balanced diet with a variety of healthy foods each day
  • Try to exercise at least 30 minutes daily (with your doctor’s okay)
  • See a dietician if you need a special diet due to; obesity, diabetes, gluten intolerance, vegan diet, or if you cannot tolerate milk (lactose intolerance).
  • Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water daily
  • Ask your doctor about prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements

Manage food cravings sensibly. A small cup of ice cream is better than the entire pint. Munch on vegetables if you crave something crunchy. Try an extra piece of fruit if you crave sweets.

Eating for Two When Over or Under Weight

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Weight gain during pregnancy helps your baby grow. Gaining weight at a steady rate within recommended boundaries can also lower your chances of having hemorrhoids, varicose veins, stretch marks, backache, fatigue, indigestion, and shortness of breath during pregnancy.

Why is weight gain important during pregnancy?

Eating for two is important. The extra weight you gain during pregnancy provides nourishment to your developing baby and is also stored for breastfeeding your baby after delivery.

Eating for Two: Where does all the extra weight go?

Here is an approximate breakdown of your weight gain:

  • Baby: 7-8 pounds
  • Placenta: 1-2 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
  • Uterus: 2 pounds
  • Maternal breast tissue: 2 pounds
  • Maternal blood : 4 pounds
  • Fluids in maternal tissue: 4 pounds
  • Maternal fat and nutrient stores: 7 pounds

How much total weight should I gain?

The amount of weight you should gain depends on your weight and BMI (body mass index) before pregnancy.

  • 25-35 pounds if you were a healthy weight before pregnancy, with a BMI of 18.5-24.9.
  • 28-40 pounds if you were underweight before pregnancy with a BMI of less than 18.5.
  • 15-25 pounds if you were overweight before pregnancy with a BMI of 25-29.9.
  • 11-20 pounds if you were obese before pregnancy with a BMI of over 30.

At what rate should I gain weight during my pregnancy?

How much you should gain depends on your weight before you were pregnant and how far along you are in your pregnancy. For the average woman who starts her pregnancy out at a normal weight, your weight gain will look something like this.

If you start out your pregnancy over or under-weight, you will want to talk with your health care provider about what your weight gain rate should look like.

Healthy weight before pregnancy:

Throughout your pregnancy the goal is to keep weight gain as steady as possible because your baby requires a daily supply of nutrients that comes from what you eat.

It is normal for your weight gain to fluctuate a little from week to week. However, you should contact your health care provider if you suddenly gain or lose weight, especially in your third trimester. This could be a sign of certain complications.

What if I am carrying twins?

If you are pregnant with twins, your weight gain should be monitored by your health care provider. Weight gain should increase significantly, but will not double. If you are in the normal weight and BMI category before pregnancy, your weight gain should be about 37-54 pounds. Overweight women will aim for a weight gain of 31-50 pounds.

Women who begin pregnancy at an obese weight should strive for a 25-42 pound gain. Of course, these may all be altered by your health care provider’s recommendation and your specific situation.

Does being underweight pose any risks to me or my baby?

Due to morning sickness, many women have trouble gaining weight in the first trimester, and worry about what effects this has on their baby’s development. Some women lose a little weight in the beginning of their pregnancies. Fortunately, at this time, the baby does not need as many calories and nutrients as later in pregnancy.

It is important to gain weight at a steady pace throughout pregnancy. If a woman does not gain weight throughout pregnancy, complications such as a low birth weight or premature delivery could occur. Babies who are born to mothers who do not gain more than 20 pounds are often considered small for gestational age (SGA), meaning they may have been malnourished during pregnancy.

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy:

A sensible meal plan that is rich in vitamins and minerals is essential for a developing baby. You may want to ask your health care provider for food recommendations, or seek the help of a nutritionist in your area. Women who are underweight during pregnancy tend to eat low calorie foods and not enough protein.

The following are ways to get more calories:

  • Eat breakfast every day. Peanut butter or a slice of cheese on toast can give you an extra protein boost.
  • Snack between meals; yogurt and dried fruits can provide protein, calcium, and minerals.
  • Try to eat more foods that are high in good fats such as nuts, fatty fish, avocados, and olive oil.
  • Drink juices made from real fruit that are high in vitamin C or beta carotene, such as grapefruit juice, orange juice, papaya nectar, apricot nectar, and carrot juice.
  • Avoid junk food. (learn more about foods you should avoid)
  • Consult your health care provider about taking prenatal vitamins and any additional supplements.

Can gaining too much weight be harmful?

The following are potential problems with gaining too much weight:

How does being obese affect my pregnancy?

Many overweight women have healthy pregnancies and deliver without complications. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks that extra weight can have.

Pregnant women who are struggling with obesity may have:

  • An increased risk for gestational diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Difficulty with hearing the heartbeat and measuring the size of the uterus
  • Difficulty with vaginal delivery if the fetus is much larger than average

Fortunately, appropriate medical and self care can lower the risks of these complications. Your health care provider may suggest that more tests be done during pregnancy. These might include ultrasounds to measure your baby’s size, a glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes, and other diagnostic tests later in pregnancy to monitor your baby’s development.

The following self care tips can help you make your pregnancy a healthy one for you and your baby:

  • Avoid pregnancy risks such as alcohol and smoking.
  • Try not to gain too much weight; your health care provider will provide recommended weight gain.
  • Be selective about your food choices; choose food sources that contain vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Last Updated: 07/2015

Compiled using information from the following source:


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Mom’s Weight During Pregnancy Affects Her Daughter’s Risk Of Being Obese

“The findings are especially important because of the growing epidemic of obesity in women,” Stuebe says. “If we can help women reach a healthy weight before they start a family, we can make a difference for two generations.”

Stuebe analyzed data on mothers’ recalled weights and weight gain for more than 24,000 mother-daughter pairs. The heavier a mother was before her pregnancy, the more likely her daughter was to be obese in later life. For instance, an average-height mother who weighed 150 pounds before pregnancy was twice as likely to have a daughter who was obese at age 18 as a mother who weighed 125 pounds before pregnancy.

Weight gain during pregnancy mattered, too both too little and too much weight gain increased a daughter’s risk of becoming obese, especially if a mother was overweight before she got pregnant.

“Women should aim for a healthy weight before they get pregnant, and then gain a moderate amount,” Stuebe said.

Using the Nurses’ Health Study II, Stuebe analyzed data for more than 24,000 mother-daughter pairs. The daughters, all registered nurses, are part of the Nurses’ Health Study. They reported their weight at age 18 when they joined the study in 1989, and they reported their current weight in 2001.

In 2001, each mothers was asked to recall her pre-pregnancy height and weight, her weight gain while she were pregnant with her daughter, and her daughters’ weight at birth.

Daughters whose mothers gained 15 to 19 pounds during pregnancy had the lowest risk of obesity. Compared to this group, daughters whose mothers gained more than 40 pounds while pregnant were almost twice as likely to be obese at age 18 and later in life.

Too little weight gain was also linked with a daughter’s obesity risk. Pregnancy weight gain of less than 10 pounds was associated with a 1.5-fold increase in the odds of being obese at 18 and a 1.3-fold increase in odds of being obese in later life.

Stuebe performed the study while at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Co-authors are Michele Forman, of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Karin B. Michels, also of Brigham and Women’s and Harvard Medical School. It was published June 16, 2009, in the online version of the International Journal of Obesity.

Source: North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Sources of information:

Eating for Two When Over or Under Weight

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