Is Pregnancy Weight Gain Normal? What Can I Do?

As an athlete, pregnancy brings about an extra set of concerns. Not only do you find yourself navigating all the physical symptoms and changes of being pregnant and caring for a baby in your belly, but you likely have a bunch of concerns regarding your physical well-being in terms of athletic performance, safe exercise, and weight gain. These are all completely normal concerns, but ones that should be addressed promptly so you can continue on with a healthy and happy pregnancy. 

In this article, we are going to take a look at pregnancy weight gain. Is it normal? Do you always gain weight? Is there an ideal amount to gain? Can I exercise to manage weight gain? What about food? 

All of these questions can seem overwhelming, especially as you learn to navigate training and exercising throughout your pregnancy. For athletes who aim to have their body in peak performance, they can seem even more important and stressful. Check out some of the most common questions regarding weight gain and training:


Is Weight Gain Normal?

Weight gain during pregnancy is completely normal, healthy, and should absolutely be expected. Your body is going through a lot of changes as it prepares to grow a baby, and the gaining of weight is a necessary part of keeping you and the baby healthy. An average weight gain is 11-15 kg (25-35 pounds) for most women.

As an athlete in sports dominated by weight classes, such as Jiu-Jitsu, or Muay Thai, the sudden weight gain can seem startling and feel almost unwelcome. Keep in mind that as long as you have a healthy pregnancy and are cleared by your doctor, you can continue (with some modifications) to train throughout your pregnancy, even with the weight gain. 

Once you have the baby, your body will begin to make the transition back to your pre-baby weight, as well, especially as you dive back into your regular fitness routines. Not only that but getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight and fitness will be much easier if you stay active during your pregnancy and manage your weight throughout.

Overall, yes, you will gain weight, and yes, that is a normal and healthy part of pregnancy. Be ready for it and embrace it as it comes.


Why Do You Gain Weight?

Understanding why your body will naturally gain weight during your pregnancy will help you to welcome the weight gain instead of being nervous or fearful of it. Weight gain is an important aspect of pregnancy, needed for growing a healthy baby. Here is where the weight gain goes: 

  • Baby
  • Uterus
  • Placenta
  • Body Fluids
  • Blood
  • Breast Tissue
  • Amniotic Fluid
  • Maternal Fat Stores

Even if you plan to continue to train, exercise, and stay active throughout your pregnancy, your body (and baby) needs the weight gain for all of these vital areas to keep you and the baby healthy.


Can I Exercise To Manage Weight Gain? 

So long as your doctor has cleared you for working out, exercising, and staying physically fit throughout your pregnancy will help you manage your weight gain and keep you on track. Gaining weight is important, but gaining too much can pose issues. Regular exercise and movement will help you to maintain an appropriate weight gain throughout your pregnancy.

A general guideline for working out during pregnancy is that you can continue doing whatever you did before pregnancy. In the case of Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, however, you do need to make some obvious modifications to ensure that both you and your baby stay safe. Eliminating any kicks and strikes to the belly and avoiding the weight of someone on you while you’re on your back are examples. 

So long as you take precautions and make modifications for certain positions or strikes, you can continue to work out in your favorite sports, even while pregnant. Working out will keep you healthy and active while helping you to manage your weight gain and keep it at a healthy range. Being physically fit during your pregnancy has the added advantage of aiding in a successful labor and delivery process, as well.

For most, weight gain doesn’t even begin until the end of the first trimester. For others, there is often very little weight gain before the halfway point in the pregnancy. This means that although your body is likely starting to change, working out doesn’t often feel too “different” at that point yet. As the pregnancy progresses, your baby bump becomes more pronounced, and you start to gain more weight, exercising might need to change and adapt to your new body.

Managing your weight gain is an important part of having a healthy pregnancy, and exercise is one of the best ways to help you do so. 


Should I Eat To Manage Weight Gain? 

Eating well is a key component to having a healthy pregnancy and managing your weight gain. If you are a Muay Thai or Jiu-Jitsu athlete, you likely already have a good idea of how to fuel your body for success. Athletes need to eat quality foods and take in good hydration to ensure they are properly fueled and ready for their workouts. 

Pregnancy is no different. You need to fuel your day, keeping in mind that you are growing a whole human inside you! Pregnancy is not the time for a healthy mom to take on a diet. Feed yourself and your baby good, high-quality foods.

While the common saying goes that you are “eating for two,” that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to double all of your calories. You will likely find yourself a bit more hungry at various points in your pregnancy, and that is completely normal. You might find yourself with some strange cravings, like for ice cream, pickles, or even a steak. The best approach is to have a balance and eat treats in moderation. Have some ice cream if you’re craving it, but maybe avoid having it every day. 

If you can eat well, you will feel better, have more energy, be able to exercise, and manage your weight gain, as well. Eating is an important part of staying healthy and managing your weight gain during pregnancy. Make sure it is high on your priority list.


Weight Gain In Pregnancy

angela lee pregnant

If you are pregnant, you should expect to gain weight. Managing excess weight gain is doable, especially as you apply healthy exercise and food habits. As an athlete, you will find that doing so is not that different from when you are training in your sports. Make a plan, listen to your body, and make wise choices. Gaining and managing your weight is an essential part of having a healthy pregnancy, as even the most in-shape athletes need to gain weight to have a healthy pregnancy. 

Managing your weight gain, in congruence with staying active and exercising, will provide you with many benefits. You will better be able to return to your pre-pregnancy weight and fitness level, have an easier time in labor and delivery, have more energy throughout the day, and generally feel better in your new, growing body. Embrace the necessary weight gain, and be sure to find safe exercises that you love, in addition to healthy foods that support you and your baby.


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