Gaining the recommended amount of weight at an appropriate rate is a reassurance that your baby is growing well and you are remaining healthy.
Proper weight gain is an indication that you are succeeding in your efforts to choose foods wisely and balance your food intake with your physical activity.
If your BMI is within the desirable range at the beginning of your pregnancy, you will be expected to gain 25 to 35 pounds.
If you are underweight when you begin pregnancy, you will be encouraged to gain the number of pounds to reach a desirable weight for your height plus the 25 to 35 pounds for a healthy pregnancy.
In general the more overweight you are, the less weight you are required to gain.
It is never recommended that you lose weight during your pregnancy on purpose. Intentional weight loss can be harmful to your unborn baby.
Some women experience a small amount of harmless weight loss with nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy or during illnesses.
Your weight should return to normal and you should begin to gain weight when your appetite returns to normal.
You should discuss your weight gain recommendation and your progress with your provider. When a 25 to 35 pound gain is recommended, you will gain 3 to 6 pounds in the first 3 months, and 2 to 4 pounds a month after that.
Gaining the right amount of weight for your pregnancy has several advantages other than for the health of your baby:
You will feel good about yourself
- You will look good
- You will be able to remain as active as possible
- It prepares your body for the nutritional calorie demands of breastfeeding
If you maintain sensible eating habits and activity, you should return to your pre-pregnant weight within 2 to 4 months after your baby’s birth.
Before planning other pregnancies, be sure to reach a desirable weight for your height. Your provider can refer you to a registered dietitian for help if you need it.
Obesity and pregnancy
Obesity during pregnancy can increase your risk for:
- gestational diabetes
- pregnancy-induced hypertension
- fetal distress
- large babies
- premature labor and delivery
- urinary tract infections
- fetal anomalies
- shoulder dystocia
- cesarean section - which could be associated with increased risk of wound infection, blood clots, and delayed wound healing
It is recommended that if your BMI is 30 or greater that you discuss your dietary options and optimal weight gain with a dietitian.
You may be screened for gestational diabetes early in your pregnancy. Your provider may suggest more frequent visits to assess for any pregnancy complications.
Gastric bypass and pregnancy
Women who have undergone gastric bypass surgery before becoming pregnant are at increased risk for certain complications during their pregnancy. Please check with your provider for further information.