Skip to main content
weight gain during pregnancy

Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Tips for Malaysian Mums

It’s one of the many things that new mums worry about when they’re about to become a new parent – weight gain during pregnancy. Read further to know more information, guidelines, and to have the right resources on this topic.

As a woman, it’s inevitable to always be on the lookout for weight gain. That includes body image, keeping the Body Mass Index within the normal range, and avoiding obesity. When you become pregnant, there are many more important things to keep in mind than physicality. That’s why it’s essential to eat a nutritional and balanced diet so you can gain a healthy amount of weight during your pregnancy. It’s also so your body can provide your growing child with the nutrients that they need for a healthy prenatal development.

Eating right during this period provides adequate protein for a healthy fetal development, additional calories and related nutrients to maintain good maternal health, have normal birth weight for your child, and it fulfils the nutrient requirements to promote your infant’s immune system.

But… How much weight gain is okay?

Let’s admit it. During pregnancy, we oftentimes use the excuse “eating for two” or that we’re breastfeeding anyway whenever we want to have that extra hamburger or apple pie. And of course we just hope our stomach and metabolism will be extra forgiving about it. When the numbers on the scale increase, don’t beat yourself for it, mum! We’re humans and we’ve all been there. The truth is, we will gain weight throughout the 40 weeks, but achieving the right weight is important to make sure it’s still considered healthy weight gain. 

  • If you’re underweight, you should gain between 12-18kg.
  • If you’re of normal weight before expecting, you should gain between 11-16kg.
  • If you’re overweight, you should gain between 7-11kg.

Generally, pregnant women gain around:

  • 0.9-1.8kg for the first 3 months
  • 0.45kg a week for the rest of the pregnancy 
  • and if you’re carrying twins, 16-20kg throughout pregnancy

(Note: these are general figures. Do consult with your healthcare provider for numbers specific to you, taking into account factors or medical history if any such as genetic disorders, cancer, high blood pressure, anemia, cardiovascular disease, parental obesity, infections, complications, etc.)

 

Where exactly does the weight go?

Yes, hearing you’ve gained that amount of kgs can sound… daunting. More so when you see your abdomen get really big! But don’t worry, mum. Aside from gaining because of body fluids, the weight gained is actually pretty distributed. According to WebMD, on average, the weight goes to:

  • Your child: 3.6kg
  • The placenta: 0.9-1.3kg
  • Blood supply: 1.8kg
  • Breast tissue: 0.9-1.3kg
  • Amniotic fluid: 0.9-1.3kg
  • Having a larger uterus: 0.9-2.2kg
  • Stored fat (for breastfeeding and delivery): 2.2-4kg

 

Achieving a Healthy Weight Gain: Eating Well & Being Active

Weight management is more of a learning journey than a problem-solving one. Did you know that research indicates that on average, expecting mums don’t need any additional calories during the 1st trimester? They only need an additional 360kcal per day during the 2nd trimester and 470kcal per day during the 3rd  trimester. To meet the increased calorie needs, it’s recommended to eat several small meals throughout the day – something like 5 to 6 small meals, instead of 3 big meals.

As much as ice cream and other confectionery sound so good especially if you have morning sickness, it’s highly recommended to eat foods that are nutrients dense. This is so it meets your increased energy needs and nutrient needs, such as protein, folate, calcium, iron, and B-vitamins. Here are some tips you can follow to have a healthy pregnancy diet: 

  • Make sure every meal you have has every food group in it.
  • Try to limit your intake of high-calorie foods such as deep-fried foods, fast foods, processed meats, sweet desserts like cakes, cookies and snack foods (that means no commercially-prepared potato crisps, “keropok” or “kerepek”!).
  • Watch out for the way foods are being prepared. Choose foods that are prepared healthily such as steamed, baked, grilled, braised, or poached. Boiling is good as well!
  • When cooking at home, use moderate amounts of high-fat ingredients such as cooking oils, margarine, butter, mayonnaise or “santan”. “Santan” can be substituted with low-fat milk or yoghurt.
  • Control your salt intake. Too much sea salt can cause water retention and may cause high blood pressure. So, you can have that gravy or sauce. Just control, mum.
  • Choose plain water as much as possible. Avoid sugary products and drinks and food additives; those only give you empty calories (soft drinks, cordials, and the like) and try not to have sugar substitutes as well. If you have a sweet tooth, go for fruits such as banana, orange or even orange juice for liquids.
  • Choose your proteins wisely. Protein is essential for your child’s growth but be mindful of fatty acids. Good sources of protein include fish, eggs, and legumes.
  • Have calcium too such as milk or cheese like cream cheese. 
  • Add more leafy vegetables to your meals such as kale, spinach. This can help with better digestion too. If salad is not your favorite, try adding them to your soup!

Treating yourself from time to time is no biggie. You deserve it! But do remember to balance your diet, eat in moderation, and keep a variety when it comes to choosing the foods you consume. You may also consult a nutritionist or your physician for advice. Reading the nutrition facts label also helps you to be more informed.

If you need extra nutrients for your growing child, Frisomum® Gold is formulated with DualCare+™ essential nutrients which support physiological changes during your pregnancy. It also provides a good foundation for your child. The best part about Frisomum® Gold is that it helps pregnant mums maintain healthy weight throughout their pregnancy!

 

When it comes to a Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy…

Keep your body active and exercise regularly. It helps you control your healthy weight gain, reduces the risk of diabetes or gestational diabetes, hypertension, and it speeds up the post-natal recovery so you can return to your pre-pregnancy self faster. Generally speaking, exercise not only promotes good posture, but it also prepares your body for a smooth delivery by strengthening and stretching your muscles. Try out brisk walking or swimming during pregnancy and for post-natal weight loss, you may consult with your general practitioner or healthcare provider for professional medical advice especially if you’ve had a caesarean section surgery or had obstructed labour and other medical procedures.

Read more info here.

 

Reference:

Prof Dr Poh Bee Koon (2014) Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy, Available at: https://mypositiveparenting.org/2014/08/03/healthy-weight-gain-during-pregnancy/ (Accessed: 25th February 2021).

Dr. Zainab bt. Kusiar (2012) Nutrition during Pregnancy, Available at: http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/nutrition-during-pregnancy/#:~:text=If%20you%20are%20of%20normal,gain%20about%2016%20%E2%80%93%2020%20kg (Accessed: 25th February 2021).

WebMD Gain Weight Safely During Your Pregnancy. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/healthy-weight-gain#1 (Accessed: 4th January 2022).