Gaining a Healthy Amount of Weight During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time! As your baby grows bigger, you’ll start gaining more weight too. But how much weight is normal and healthy?

The amount of weight you gain during pregnancy can vary a lot! Most women gain somewhere between 22 and 28 pounds in total. You’ll start gaining more weight after week 20 of your pregnancy. A lot of the weight is from your growing baby. But your body also stores up fat to help make breastmilk for your baby after they’re born.

Gaining too much or too little weight can cause some problems. So it’s good to try to gain a healthy amount! Here’s what to know:

Gaining Too Much

It’s easy to gain too much weight when you’re pregnant. Eating for two can pack on the pounds!

Gaining extra weight can raise your blood pressure. It can also raise your risk for:

  • Gestational diabetes – When you have too much sugar in your blood during pregnancy. It raises your chance of having a really big baby.
  • Pre-eclampsia – When your blood pressure gets too high. Most cases are mild. But it can sometimes become serious.

Your pregnancy isn’t the time to start a diet though! Not getting enough healthy food can hurt your baby’s growth.

Instead, focus on eating nutritious foods. Your doctor may have tips if your BMI is over 30 before getting pregnant.

Gaining Too Little

Not gaining enough weight can cause problems too. It raises your chance of:

  • Having your baby prematurely (born early).
  • Having a baby with low birth weight (under 5.5 pounds).

Not gaining weight can mean your body isn’t storing enough fat for breastfeeding.

If you were slim before pregnancy, you may stay slim during it. Some women do and still have healthy babies.

However too little weight gain can often be from not eating enough or from being underweight before pregnancy.

Staying Active

Staying active during pregnancy helps get your body ready for labor and delivery! Keep up your normal exercise, unless your doctor says not to.

Walking, swimming, yoga, and other gentle workouts are great options. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it.

Drink plenty of water and don’t exercise in the heat.

Get Advice from Your Doctor

Your doctor may have special diet and exercise tips if:

Your BMI is over 30.

Your BMI is under 18.5.

Bring up any concerns about your weight at appointments. Your doctor can help you find the healthiest plan for you and your baby!

The right amount of weight gain varies. Focus on eating nutritious foods, staying active, and getting advice from your doctor.

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