You're expecting. Congratulations! If this is your very first child, you might wonder just how much weight gain you'll experience during your pregnancy. Many pregnant women might also think about how much pregnancy weight might appear in parts of their body, such as their thighs.
As an expectant mother, you're over the moon about the bundle of joy that is coming your way.
While you might love (almost) everything about your growing little one and the process that will bring them into your life, you might also worry about whether you will need to buy a whole new wardrobe after the baby arrives.
What no one loves is the bloating, the swollen hands and feet, or the fat on your thighs that seems to be increasing by the day.
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This worry is perfectly normal for most pregnant women. As you go through each trimester, your pregnant body will go through a lot of changes.
Whether you're wondering when you can get back into your pre-pregnancy swimsuit or just can't wait to get into your favorite pair of jeans after your little one makes their debut, you'll learn the proper amount of weight that should be added during your pregnancy.
What is a Normal Amount of Weight Gain?
Weight gain, especially in the second and third trimesters, is completely normal and something you shouldn't worry about excessively. Most pregnant women gain more weight in the second trimester than in the first and third trimesters. Most of the weight in the third trimester comes from the weight of the baby.
A lot of factors determine just how much weight a woman will gain during her pregnancy. Among these factors are the amount of amniotic fluid and blood volume present during this time. One of the more important factors is the mother's body mass index or BMI.
Pregnant women with a higher BMI will gain more body fat during their pregnancy.
While women with a higher BMI will often need to deal with extra weight, this doesn't mean that these mothers can't have a healthy pregnancy. Instead, they will need additional monitoring during the first, second, and third trimesters to ensure that the baby healthily comes to term.
During the gestation period, changes in the amount of amniotic fluid can have a large influence on how much weight gain a woman experiences during this time.
- At 8 weeks, most pregnant women will see their amniotic fluid increase at a rate of 10 mL a week.
- This rate will increase to about 25 mL a week at 13 weeks.
- At 21 weeks, a woman will see the maximum increase in this area at 60 mL a week.
- The increase then stops completely at 33 weeks.
The amount of water weight gain that an expectant mother will experience will depend on the fetus's weight.
In the case of uncomplicated pregnancies, water weight gain is distributed in the following manner:
- Fetus: 5.3 pounds
- Placenta: 1.1 pounds
- Amniotic fluid: 1.7 pounds
- Uterus: 1.7 pounds
- Mammary gland: .37 pounds
- Blood: 2.8 pounds
Where Does Weight Accumulate During Pregnancy?
Up to about the 15th week of pregnancy, most of the weight gained during this time will come from the mother. At this point, your baby could weigh as little as 65g.
For this reason, most of your weight gain will not come from the developing fetus. As stated, most of your pregnancy weight will come in your second and third trimesters.
This is when both your supportive tissue and your baby develops. Because this process happens later in the gestation cycle, you should gain no more than 4.4 lbs during the first trimester.
About 35% of your pregnancy weight gain will come from your developing baby, the placenta, and amniotic fluid. As you're giving birth to your child, you will lose this weight.
The remainder of your weight gain will come from water retention, larger amounts of blood volume, uterine tissue, and breast tissue. A portion of your body fat reserves from your pregnancy will be used for the breastfeeding process.
Provided that you stay within normal weight gain ranges throughout your pregnancy, you and your baby will be less likely to experience complications during the birthing process.
This can also improve the state of your health during your pregnancy and in the first days of your baby's life.
Will My Thigh Fat Go Away After Pregnancy?
Many pregnant women will begin to worry about the added weight on their thighs. They might comb through Google's search results for ways to get rid of pregnancy thigh weight. Or they could look too restrictive diets or large amounts of exercise to get rid of this extra weight on their thighs.
Don't worry too much about your extra thigh weight. This is all a part of bringing new life into this world. But while you might recognize that you're bringing a lovely soul into this world, you might still want to fit into your prepregnancy jeans.
Later, you'll learn about exercises and other ways that you can get rid of that excess pregnancy weight on your thighs. For now, note that some additional weight will remain on your thighs, even after you give birth.
Also, your hip bones may spread so that your baby can get through the birth canal more easily. Many new mothers find that their hip bones don't ever go back to their original position, even years after giving birth.
But don't worry too much about this process. Many mothers find that they can get either completely back to their pre-pregnancy weight or very close to their pre-pregnancy body.
How To Tell The Difference Between Weight Gain and Fluid Accumulation?
Of course, weight gain is to be expected during pregnancy. But not all the weight that you will gain at this time will come from the fetus, amniotic fluid, and other bodily processes. Some of your pregnancy weight will come from fluid accumulation.
How will you know whether your weight is coming from your baby, your bodily processes, or just plain water weight? Most expectant mothers can figure out when they're dealing with water weight by looking for simple signs on their body. For example, if you see some fluid and swelling around areas such as your ankles or wrists, this is a sign that you are retaining water.
You can also press your thumb or fingers on an area of your body to see if you're retaining water there. Just press your fingers on your skin in the area of your choice for a couple of seconds. If you then remove your fingers and see some sort of indentation, then that's water retention.
In What Trimester Do You Gain The Most Weight?
You will experience most of your weight gain during the final months of your pregnancy. At the 27 week mark, your baby will weigh around 2 lbs. At 32 weeks, it will weigh up to 4.5 lbs.
Those women who carry their babies to full term should have newborns that weigh up to 10 pounds.
During your third trimester, most healthy mothers will find that their babies grow at about an average of six inches.
As you progress in your pregnancy, your weight gain will come from other factors than your developing baby. You will also gain pregnancy weight from the following bodily processes:
- Amniotic fluid
- A uterus that increases in size
- Stores of body fat
All of these factors will cause you to gain weight during your pregnancy. For these reasons, your medical team doesn't want you to gain excess weight during your first two trimesters.
Can I Tone My Legs During Pregnancy?
One great exercise that you can do for weight loss and toning is leg lifts. This exercise uses the weight of your own body to tone and slim down your thighs without costly equipment.
- Lie on your left side.
- Line up your knees, hips, and shoulders so that they're in a straight line. Hold up your head with your left arm.
- Place the other arm on the floor or your mat.
- Lift your right leg as high as you are able to do comfortably.
- Do 10 repetitions on one side, then switch to the other side.
You can also do squats to tone your thighs while you're pregnant. You'll get the very best results by maintaining proper form while doing this exercise.
- First, stand up while setting your legs hip-width apart. Place both of your hands on your hips.
- Press your belly button towards your spine while pointing your tailbone to the floor.
- Squeeze your shoulders so that they go down and back.
- While keeping your weight situated towards your heels, bend your knees.
- Press your hips to the floor as if you're about to sit in a chair.
- Making sure that your knees don't sit over your toes, Straighten yourself so that you're back in your starting position.
- Once you're at the top of your lift, squeeze your buttocks so that your hips are brought back under your shoulders.
- If you're in your third trimester, grab hold of the back of a chair for balance.
Another great thigh toning exercise stands with your right side next to a chair to do the standing hip lift. Hold onto the back of the chair as you put your left hand on your hip.
Stand on your right leg without excessively leaning. Lift your left leg off the floor so that it's at the midpoint of your body. Make sure that your shoulders and hips are square. Don't rotate your shoulders and hips. Position your left leg so that it's sweeping up and out to the left. Then you can switch sides.
The last exercise you can do to tone your legs while you're pregnant is ballet legs.
- Position your right side next to a chair.
- Hold onto the chair as you place your left hand on your left hip.
- Bend your left knee so that your left foot sits upon your right calf. This is the first position.
- Stretch your left leg out in front of you. Return to the first position.
- Do a few more reps, then switch to the other side.
To tone your pregnancy thighs, you won't have to do sweaty leg presses or any other type of strength training.
Doing these leg exercises are a great way to get some light cardio in while also getting rid of that dreaded cellulite at the same time. These thigh toning exercises are gentle enough that they can be done throughout your entire pregnancy in a safe manner.
Along with moderate eating habits and watching those extra calories from that occasional bowl of ice cream you like to sneak in on hard days, keeping the appearance of your thighs under control during your pregnancy can become a lot easier.
How can I slow down my pregnancy weight gain Safely?
One of the best things you can do to slow down the pregnancy weight gain process is to remain active as much as possible.
Doing this will not only allow you to have a delivery that is free of most complications. It can also speed up the postpartum weight loss process.
Some of the benefits in engaging in safe levels of physical activity during pregnancy include the following:
- Helps with backaches and constipation
- Slows down weight gain
- It gives you additional energy
- Helps with sleep
- Improves your moods
How Can Excess Pregnancy Weight Gain Be Treated?
To best decrease the risk of excessive weight gain during pregnancy, try to engage in weight loss activities before you get pregnant. Just by losing a small amount of weight, like 10 to 20 pounds, can act as a jump start to improving your overall health. It will also get you on the right foot so that you can have a much healthier pregnancy and delivery.
If you gain too much weight during pregnancy, this can lead to many different health complications for yourself and your baby.
These complications can include gestational diabetes, sleep apnea, disorders related to high blood pressure, and the need for a C-section. The baby could then become more likely to be overweight or obese when they get older.
Even if you have extra weight, you can still have a healthy pregnancy. You will just need to undergo additional supervision from your medical team and make preparations for special considerations that may need to take place for your delivery.
During your pregnancy, you will also need to take special care to eat a healthy diet to ensure a gestation period and delivery free of the most serious complications.
Does breastfeeding help you lose pregnancy weight?
As you know, breastfeeding can add much-needed nourishment and nutrients to your growing baby. But it can also help you lose a lot of weight that you gained during your pregnancy. As you breastfeed your little one, you will use the fat cells placed in your body when you get pregnant.
This not only jumpstarts your breast milk production. It also gives needed calories and nutrients to your little one.
By breastfeeding, you can burn up to 500 calories a day. Even as you eat a bit more to sustain this natural process, you can still lose weight. As long as you take care to eat the recommended amount of calories that your doctor taught you, you can lose up to a pound a week, just from breastfeeding.
How Long Does It Take to Lose Pregnancy Weight?
During the delivery process, you will lose about 10 - 12 pounds. These lost pounds came from the release of amniotic fluid, placenta, and other bodily fluids that accumulated during the 9 months of gestation.
Being that the average pregnant woman gains between 25 - 35 pounds during her pregnancy, losing between 10 - 12 pounds during delivery will get you on the right path to pregnancy weight loss.
The remainder of your baby weight will come from your blood supply, your breast tissue, your bigger uterus, and your stores of fat. Because this type of body fat is harder to excise, it will take some effort on your end to get rid of the excess weight.
For example, when it comes to your post-pregnancy stomach, don't expect to get back into your pre-pregnancy form right after your baby's debut. Expect the size of your stomach to get close to your pre-pregnancy body around six weeks after your baby's birth.
When can you expect to lose your pregnancy thigh weight? For many new mothers, this can depend on a lot of factors. The first factor involves your pre-pregnancy BMI.
Those women with a higher pre-pregnancy BMI can expect to experience longer lag times between their baby's birth and the arrival of their pre-pregnancy form.
As stated before, some mothers find that they still have excess weight on their thighs a few years after giving birth. This is due to water retention and your hip bones' movement to make way for your baby in the birth canal.
But while the shifting of your hip bones may be permanent, many women find that they can get either completely back to their pre-pregnancy body or at least within a few pounds of it.
Most new mothers should be able to shed their baby weight around six months after they give birth. Experts recommend losing about a pound a week. Most mothers of newborns will lose a larger amount of weight at the beginning. As they get closer to their weight loss goals, the post-pregnancy weight loss will begin to slow down. By the end of your weight loss journey, you should be losing about a pound a month.
Best Ways to Lose Pregnancy Weight
As a new mother, you don't have to resort to excessive exercise or super restrictive diets to lose all that excess baby weight. When it comes to losing excess pregnancy weight, it takes time and a lot of patience.
While experts state that most women can lose the baby weight in six months, one study found that most women were heavier a year after their birth than pre-pregnancy.
But for those new mothers who must get back to their fighting weight soon after birth, this process merely consists of a few practices with which you might already be familiar. First, create realistic weight loss goals.
Don't expect to get back into all of your pre-pregnancy clothing within weeks of giving birth. Don't go on crash diets. Restricting calories or the amount of food you consume can be detrimental to your health and a fragile time for many mothers. If at all possible, breastfeed.
Breastfeeding can help you lose some excess weight in a time when new mothers just don't have the time for a lot of physical activity.
Eat a diet that largely consists of healthy proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid sugar, refined carbs, and other processed foods. When it comes to losing that pregnancy weight, it really is doing the simple things that will get you the very best results.
As you go about the next 9 months carrying life, you might pine for your pre-pregnancy body. While this pining for the thighs that could easily slide into your favorite pair of jeans is perfectly normal, it's important that you consider both your health and that of your baby when engaging in weight loss practices.
Most experts say that most of your weight loss activities should occur after the baby's birth. While there are some things that you can do while pregnant to gain only healthy amounts of baby weight, put most of your effort on growing a healthy fetus and being your healthiest self during this wonderful time.