There is no simple answer to the question how much is too much weight to gain during pregnancy. One should qualify the question for YOU. That number entirely depends on each woman and her weight pre-pregnancy.
It’s All About Where You Start
Pre-pregnancy weight normally determines the amount of recommended weight for any woman to safely gain during her pregnancy. BMI, or body mass index, has become the standard for determining whether a woman is of average weight, below average weight, overweight or obese.
One half of women in the US are overweight or obese before becoming pregnant. Dieting during pregnancy is not recommended, so women considering becoming pregnant may want to discuss with their doctor a plan to lose some weight ahead of time.
Unfortunately, women who fit into this category have a higher risk of complications, especially if they exceed the recommended amount of weight gain. They may require a C-section and gestational diabetes can become a problem, along with preeclampsia which is characterized by high blood pressure and fluid retention.
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines
BMI is the relationship between height and weight, and it estimates the percentage of body fat. A BMI over 30 is obese.
- Average weight women have a BMI of between 18.5 – 24.9, and their recommended weight gain is 25 – 35 pounds.
- Underweight women have a BMI of less than 18.5, and their recommended weight gain is 28 – 40 pounds.
- Overweight women have a BMI of 25 – 29.9, and their recommended weight gain is only 15 – 25 pounds.
- Obese women with a BMI over 30 + are recommended to only gain 11 -20 pounds.
Thinking about becoming pregnant? If you are on the borderline or overweight, see Virginia Women’s Health to set a goal for being at a healthy weight before becoming pregnant.
You’re NOT Eating For Two
That old phrase no longer applies, and can be dangerous to the health of your baby and you. There are ways to stay healthy, gain the appropriate amount of weight while pregnant, and not feel deprived or starving all the time. Some of these include:
- Eat more meals every day, but smaller ones. Choose lean meats and protein, with a balance of fruits and vegetables. Complex carbs like whole grain breads and pasta along with brown rice will be more nutritious for you and baby than regular carbs.
- Eat only healthy snacks while avoiding sweets and processed foods between meals. It will keep blood sugar in check.
- Drink lots of water. It will not only keep you hydrated, but will help with cravings. Watch that urine stays pale yellow or clear to know you are well hydrated.
- Walk every day. Start with 10 minutes and build up with each month.
- Remember that everything you eat is being passed on to baby.
- Stay faithful to your recommended weight gain.
If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, see Virginia Women’s Health to get your BMI checked and learn about your personal recommended weight gain.