According to the official view, a woman of average weight before pregnancy should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy, and up to 40 pounds if carrying twins. Underweight women should gain 28 to 40 pounds while overweight women may need to gain only 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy.

As a general rule, you should gain about 5 pounds during your first three months of pregnancy and one pound per week during the remainder. You may ask yourself why so much weight gain when the baby is born weighing only about eight pounds on average? Here is where the extra pounds go:

Baby 8 pounds
Placenta 2-3 pounds
Amniotic Fluid 2-3 pounds
Breast tissue 2-3 pounds
Increased blood supply 4 pounds
Extra fat stores 5-9 pounds
Uterus increase 2-5 pounds
Total: 25-35 pounds

It’s also helpful to have guidelines, but the last thing that you should do during pregnancy is worry excessively about your weight—strict attention to limiting weight gain often leads pregnant women to restrict their intake of nutritious food. If you gain 50 pounds, don’t worry about it. It’s better for your baby for you to gain a little too much weight than not enough.

If you feel you are gaining more than a little too much, cut back on carbohydrate foods like potatoes and bread, but not on nutritious foods like raw milk, butter, seafood, and meat.

Exercise during pregnancy

It’s important to exercise during pregnancy, but don’t overdo—marathon running, contact sports, and extreme workouts are not a good idea! As you grow larger, your balance may be affected, making exercise that involves balance, such as biking, skiing, and horse riding a danger. A walk in the fresh air every day provides the perfect level of activity.

Speaking of fresh air, don’t neglect to sunbathe if weather permits. Folk wisdom say that sun on the belly nourishes the growing child.

Exercise that strengthen the abdomen and lower back will prepare you for the extra weight of the third trimester and make delivery easier. Be careful, however, with exercise that put stress and strain on the joints, such as excessive stretching and lunging. During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which is design to loosen the joints and make delivery faster. You may find that you have an increased flexibility and range of motion, but this increase flexibility also makes you prone to injury. If you couldn’t touch your toes before pregnancy, don’t try to do so while you are pregnant!

Swimming is a great activity during pregnancy—it strengthens breathing and relieves pressure on the abdomen. Unfortunately, most pools are heavily chlorinated, and chlorine is not a good chemical to be breathing in while you are pregnant. But if you have access to warm sea water, clean fresh water or salt water- treated swimming pool, by all means, swim as much as you like.

Gentle prenatal yoga is another great choice for exercise during pregnancy. Yoga squatting exercises can help prepare the pelvis for birth.

An ideal activity during pregnancy is gardening, mainly because it involves squatting. The motion from standing to squatting with legs slightly apart helps move the baby’s head downward into the right position for birth. And gardening strengthens all of the muscles in a relaxed and natural way—much better than trying to build up strength using exercise machines. Plus, it takes place in the fresh air and sunshine—all good for your developing baby.

Do not forget regular sexual intercourse with your partner as it is an important physical exercise during pregnancy. Studies indicate that long periods of sexual cohabitation with the father of a woman’s child significantly decrease her chances of suffering preeclampsia. The effect is credited to immune factors in the father’s semen. It also stimulates labor.

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