Maternal and Infant Health Program Maternal and Infant Health Program

Phone:
  SLC area: (801) 538-9970

FAX:
  SLC area: (801) 538-9409

Mail:
  Maternal and Infant Health Program
  P.O. Box 142001
  Salt Lake City UT
  84112-2001




I'm Gaining Too Much Weight During My Pregnancy. What Can I Do?
Courtesy of the Utah WIC Program

How Much Total Weight Should I Gain?

The right amount of weight to gain during pregnancy depends on how much you weighed before getting pregnant. Talk with your health care provider to find out what amount is right for you. General guidelines for weight gain are:

Pre-Pregnancy Weight

BMI
(kg/m2)

Recommended Weight Gain
Underweight <18.5 28 - 40 pounds
Normal weight 18.5-24.9 25 - 35 pounds
Overweight 25.0-29.9 15 - 25 pounds
Obese 30.0+ 11 - 20 pounds

Women pregnant with multiples: Normal weight women should gain 37-54 pounds, overweight, 31-50 pounds and obese, 25-42 pounds during pregnancy.

1st trimester: 1.1-4.4 pounds
2nd trimester: 0.4-1.3 pounds a week
3rd trimester: 0.4-1.3 pounds a week

Risks of Gaining Too Much Weight

Women who gain extra weight during pregnancy are more likely to have:

  • Gestational diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Backaches, leg pain and varicose veins
  • A cesarean section or other problems with delivery due to a larger than normal baby
  • Trouble returning to pre-pregnancy weight
  • Long-term health problems from obesity

Note: Gaining too much weight during pregnancy increases the baby's risk of being overweight during childhood.

What can I Do To Slow Weight Gain?

If you're gaining more weight than recommended, you'll want to make some changes to your diet. You should never try to lose weight during pregnancy. But if you can slow down how quickly you gain weight for the rest of your pregnancy, you'll have less problems with your pregnancy and delivery, and an easier time getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Tips to Slow Weight Gain:

  • Eat according to MyPyramid
    • Make half your grains whole
    • Vary your veggies
    • Focus on fruit
    • Get your calcium rich foods (choose low-fat dairy products)
    • Go lean with protein
  • Eat small frequent meals
  • Choose healthy snacks (fresh fruits, raw vegetables, low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, whole-wheat toast...)
  • Limit processes foods
  • Exercise

Note: Pregnancy only requires 200 - 300 extra calories per day.

Why Should I Exercise During Pregnancy?

Exercising during pregnancy will help you to slow weight gain and will result in a healthier pregnancy and delivery. Exercise is safe for most pregnant women. Talk to your health care provider to find out what type of exercise is safe for you.

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy:

  • Slows weight gain
  • Helps with constipation, backaches
  • Improves sleep
  • Gives you more energy
  • Improves your mood
  • Easier time losing weight after delivery

Note: Women who exercise during pregnancy may have shorter labors and easier deliveries.

Guidelines for Exercise in Pregnancy:

  • Avoid contact sports, activities that increase your risk of falling and jerky, bouncing movements
  • Don't exercise on your back after the 1st trimester
  • Avoid exercising in very hot weather
  • Exercise on all or most days of the week
  • Warm up and cool down
  • Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids
  • Never exercise to the point of exhaustion
  • Stop exercising and call your doctor if you experience faintness, headache, pain, bleeding or have trouble walking.

References:

Pregnancy Weight Gain: What's Healthy?
Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
Keeping Fit

Click here for pregnancy weight gain charts

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