While pregnancy is often thought of as a time when you can eat anything you want, it’s really a time when you should get the best nutrition possible so you have a safe, healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. We’ve put together some helpful information about weight gain during pregnancy for you to discuss with your provider.
Excess prenatal weight gain carries risks
Nutrient deficiencies interfere with development and can have devastating effects on a growing fetus. However, eating too much or eating unhealthy foods is also detrimental. Gaining too much weight increases your risk of gestational diabetes, and women who develop this condition during pregnancy are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes within the following 10 years.
Additionally, gestational diabetes increases the risk that your child will develop diabetes or become overweight. Women who have gestational diabetes also deliver bigger babies. Your provider can monitor your weight and recommend changes if you’re gaining too much.
Many pregnant women gain too much
You need to put on some weight to support a healthy pregnancy. The extra pounds come in the form of increased fluid retention, higher blood volume, amniotic fluid, placenta development, nutrient storage and the weight of your baby. However, nearly half of pregnant women put on too much weight during pregnancy, according to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The problem of gaining too much affects women across all pre-pregnancy weights. Even women who are underweight prior to getting pregnant can put on too many additional pounds during pregnancy.
What’s more, women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy are the most likely to gain too many extra pounds during those vital nine months.
How many extra calories do you need?
Eating a balanced diet is important before, during and after pregnancy. You’ll need more calories to support your baby’s growth, but you shouldn’t think of pregnancy as a free-for-all in terms of eating as many calories as you want.
The idea that pregnant women are eating for two may influence how much pregnant women think they need to eat. However, you may be surprised to learn that the average woman only needs around 300-400 extra calories a day to support fetal growth and development. These additional calories should come from healthy foods that supply the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you and your baby need.
What’s considered healthy weight gain during pregnancy?
The team at Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Center can help determine how much weight gain is healthy for you during pregnancy. The amount you should gain depends on your weight before you were pregnant. In general, the more you weighed before pregnancy, the less you should gain during pregnancy.
A weight gain of 25-35 pounds is typically healthy if your BMI is within the normal range. However, if you are underweight at the start of your pregnancy, you should put on around 28 to 40 pounds to support a healthy pregnancy.
Women who start out overweight should gain 15 to 25 pounds. It’s important to attend all of your prenatal appointments so your obstetrician has the opportunity to monitor your weight and the growth and development of your baby.
Weight gain is a normal, necessary part of pregnancy. The Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Center team can provide you with key recommendations to help support your baby’s health along with comprehensive prenatal care. Call our office today or use the online tool to schedule a prenatal appointment.