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Why have I gained so much weight during pregnancy?

Q: My starting weight before pregnancy was 74.5 kg and now I am 91 kg. I am 38 weeks pregnant.Why am I gaining excess weight? I eat a normal diet and walk 20 mins, 3 times a week. I have a lot of swelling on my face and legs. Is this the reason for weight gain? I drink 2 liters of water every day but the urine is comparatively very less. Please reply.

A:You were overweight before pregnancy, so, you should have taken care from the beginning. Right now, it is hard to evaluate your weight gain as you begin to retain fluid at the end of your pregnancy. You have also not mentioned weather you are carrying one foetus or twins. It is also not advisable to lose weight at this stage. The burning of fat stores during pregnancy could cause your body to release certain substances such as ketones that could harm your baby. You only need 200-300 extra calories for your baby. Avoid fried foods and chips and cut down on salt and sugar. Avoid foods that contain nitrites (which are added to fish and meat). No matter how much you gain weight, it is essential to take all the vitamins and minerals prescribed by your doctor. At this stage of your pregnancy, you must be having problems of backache and swollen feet due to the extra weight you have gained. I suggest:

  • You adopt comfortable postures in side-lying with pillows to support your legs and back.
  • While sitting, keep a foot stool or a low chair in front of you to rest your legs.
  • Keep shifting postures at regular intervals to avoid pressure on your back and legs.
  • Do regular breathing exercises. If you are hyperventilating, re-breathe into your cupped hands as this will slow down your respiratory rate by increasing the carbon-dioxide content of the inhaled air.
  • Practice relaxed breathing by taking 3 or 4 shallow breaths, then blow out (as if you are blowing out a candle ) with pursed lips.
  • Try and take a walk twice a day. You will have to make an extra effort to lose the extra weight around you after you have delivered the baby. Start from the first day itself after delivery weather you have had a normal delivery or C-section. You can start with breathing exercises, ankle and toe movements and calf pumps and as soon as you are stable, get out of bed and move around and gradually increase your exercise regime. Wishing you all the best for your delivery.

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