PT on the Net Research

Pregnancy and Weight Gain


Question:

My client has been pregnant for three months and has gained a significant amount of weight (approximately 15 pounds). She uses her pregnancy as an excuse for her weight gain. I am not positive, but isn’t that a lot of weight to gain in the first trimester of pregnancy? Should I approach her about it?

Answer:

Ooh! Touchy subject! Responding to your concern, normally a female in her first trimester gains approximately two to five pounds. Healthy women on average gain a total of 25 to 35 pounds throughout their entire pregnancy. However, if a woman is carrying twins or triplets (nowadays septuplets), an above average weight gain should be expected.

If your client is rapidly gaining weight, it could be due to an over consumption of calories. Although most pregnant women say they are "eating for two," unfortunately, they are not. In the first trimester of pregnancy, an approximate 150 calorie increase per day is needed. In the second and third trimester, it jumps to approximately 300 to 350 calories per day. Unfortunately, that’s really not a heck of a lot.

A good suggestion may be to advise your client to see a nutritionist or a registered dietician. This way, a trained specialist will inform your client about the calorie amount she needs to consume. Because a pregnancy requires an increase in nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron, folic acid, etc., you may use this as an incentive (and an excuse) to get your client to see such a professional. This way, it turns out to be a win-win situation. Your client gets good nutritional advise, and you get your client to her goals.

Final Comments: Don’t stress your client about her weight gain. A little too much is better than too little. The last thing you want is for her to start making major restrictions on her diet. If your client has gained too much weight, I am sure her doctor will inform her.