Existing belly fat shouldn’t be something that you worry about when you get pregnant, but you should at least be aware of your BMI and how much you weigh. If you have existing belly fat when you get pregnant, it may take your baby bump longer to become noticeable, but don’t worry.
Once you reach the second trimester of your pregnancy, your uterus will expand as the baby grows, and your belly fat will be distributed evenly, giving you a more natural-looking pregnant belly.
How Much Belly Fat Should I Have Before Getting Pregnant?
A BMI (body mass index) of 24 or less is considered healthy and not overweight. This means you can gain 25 pounds during pregnancy and maintain a healthy BMI and body weight.
A BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, and you should only gain between 15 and 25 pounds during pregnancy. A BMI of more than 30 is considered obese, and you shouldn’t gain more than 20 pounds in your pregnancy.
Belly Fat and the First Trimester
The first trimester of your pregnancy (from start until week 12) is when you are the least noticeably pregnant. During this time, your uterus has not expanded beyond your pelvic region to give you the pregnant belly shape. Any existing belly fat will remain in this area during this time.
You won’t gain as much weight in the first trimester of your pregnancy as you will during the last trimester. Before getting pregnant, you should know your starting weight and monitor your weight weekly to ensure you’re not gaining too much weight too quickly.
You’re less likely to gain much weight during the first trimester because of morning sickness. Not only are you likely to suffer from morning sickness, but you are likely to have less of an appetite during this time, which can ultimately cause a small amount of weight loss.
Belly Fat and the Second Trimester
The second trimester will start at week 13. At this point, a pregnant woman will start to regain energy and likely get an appetite back. It’s common to gain between 10 and 15 pounds of excess weight during the second trimester. Try not to gain more than 15 pounds during the second trimester, as the third trimester is when you will begin to gain ½ a pound per week.
During the second trimester, your existing abdominal fat will begin to distribute during this time as your uterus expands beyond the pelvic region to give you the traditional look of a pregnant belly.
Belly Fat and the Third Trimester
By the third trimester (week 27), your belly should have a pregnant shape to it. While you will have existing belly fat that has been distributed, your belly will have a pregnant look to it overall, even if you were overweight or obese at the time your pregnancy began.
At this point, you will need to be extremely mindful of your weight so that you don’t gain more than one pound per week. Your baby will gain most of its weight during the third trimester, but that shouldn’t mean that you gain weight. Gaining a pound per week should account for ½ pound of your baby’s body weight during this time.
How to Monitor Your Weight and Existing Belly Fat When Pregnant
You should monitor your diet, weight, and BMI during your pregnancy by recording your food and taking regular measurements on a scale. We recommend using a scale that calculates both your weight and BMI to know if you’re in the healthy, overweight, or obese range for body mass.
Talk to your doctor about how much total weight you should gain during pregnancy. You shouldn’t partake in exercise or any other activities you weren’t actively involved in when you got pregnant. Make sure you and your doctor develop a plan for how much weight you should gain and how you should monitor your weight and body fat during your pregnancy.
Other Ways to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy
Take a Prenatal Vitamin
A prenatal vitamin will ensure that both you and your baby get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed to stay healthy. Your baby will deplete these from your system first, so a prenatal vitamin will help restore your body with what your baby has gotten from you.
Drink Plenty of Water
A healthy body water percentage is important for everyone, but it is especially important for pregnant women. Your baby will be surrounded by amniotic fluid and will begin drinking it by week 12, so it’s important to make sure there is plenty of water in your body to sustain both you and your baby.
Do Not Eat Before Bed
Rest is important while you’re pregnant. Do not eat right before going to bed as your body will store the food as fat cells, most often in your belly. Get plenty of rest and avoid eating right before bed to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. Also, it is important to maintain a healthy diet to help avoid excess fat and excess weight gain.
Although it may take until you’re near the end of the second trimester, your existing belly fat will finally disperse and distribute evenly on your belly, giving you the look of a traditional pregnant belly. Make sure that you monitor your weight gain by recording your food and taking regular measurements on your scale.