Help! Unexplained Weight Gain!

Cynthia Flynn's picture


Dear Midwife,
I would really appreciate a response, as I am worried about the following issue: I am 25 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. I was 174 pounds and 5' 7.5" tall prior to becoming pregnant. I expected to be larger than in previous pregnancies and I expected to show sooner. I wasn't prepared for what I currently face, however.

I had complained to my ob/gyn that I was having trouble breathing, similar to the breathing problems experienced near full-term. My uterus was found to be 35 centimeters when I was 24 weeks pregnant. Previous ultrasound had indicated that I am carrying a singleton. I am not excreting protein into my urine. My doctor sent me for an ultrasound immediately. The amniotic fluid volume is fine, no fibroids have been detected via a level II ultrasound, the baby has no physical anomalies except for a small choroid plexus cyst in the left ventricle, my triple screen came back normal and the baby was found to be in the 93rd percentile for her gestational age (my four year old is in the 95th percentile for height and weight, so this didn't surprise anyone).

I am concerned because I was only five centimeters from full term size at 24 weeks. I have noticeably grown in the past week and a half. I was this big at delivery with both of my sons (one born 8lbs. 6 ounces at 41 weeks, one born 7lbs. 6 oz. at 36.5 weeks). Do you know what is going on? My ob/gyn has no explanation. I am also gaining weight quite rapidly, especially now. My blood pressure is fine (110/70), but I am retaining a lot of water. By gaining rapidly, I mean I gain about 10 pounds a month, mostly in the waist. I am watching what I am eating; eating not much more than my 4 year old, but it doesn't seem to matter.

I am also exercising (30 minutes of aerobics for pregnancy 3 days a week). Nothing is slowing the weight gain. Any suggestions? I am quite miserable and am finding it hard to move around. At 25.5 weeks, I have gained approximately 34 pounds, all but three pounds of which were gained during this second trimester. With each of my sons, I gained 50 and 45 pounds, losing all the weight within 3-4 months. I am really worried. Any suggestions? I don't see how I can make it another 14.5 weeks! At this rate, I will gain far above what I did with them. Thanking you ahead of time.

Additional information: I am 32 years old and normally very, very active, as I normally play many sports. I had a blood test to look at thyroid function and everything was normal. HELP. Thank you.


Boy, this sounds like a challenge. The first thing I would check is your tolerance to glucose (sugar), both with a 1-hour glucose test and maybe a hemoglobin A1c for good measure. I would wonder about early onset gestational diabetes. But if that is ruled out, then I would just say that you have larger than average babies because you are taller than average yourself, and that you are carrying this baby higher than you usually do. And that it likes to stretch! For the water retention, I'd measure to make sure you're drinking at least 3 quarts/day, and also make sure that you have at least three servings of protein and 3 glasses of milk each day. And maybe take a bath or two, which will also help to relieve water retention. I'm sorry this is turning out to be so difficult, but I wish you the very best -- good luck!

-- Cynthia, CNM