How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?

On May 28th 2009, the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) released new recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy.  These recommendations are based on prepregnancy BMI (body mass index).  To determine your body mass index click here.

Prepregnancy BMI Weight Gain in Kilograms Weight Gain in Pounds
Underweight <18.5 12.5-18 kg 28-40 lbs
Normal Weight 18.5-24.9 11.5-16 kg 25-35 lbs
Overweight Weight
7-11.5 kg 15-25 lbs
Obese > or = to 30 5-9 kg 11-20 lbs

(These recommendations are modified by the IOM for women with multiples.)

The IOM recommendations were influenced by the issue that women often gain too much weight during pregnancy and have trouble losing it. This increases risk for many health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes.  Risk for preterm birth, small and large size babies, and the epidemic of childhood obesity which are all linked to maternal weight also influenced these recommendations.

But aren’t I eating for two? 

Pregnancy does use more calories, approximately 300 per day for a single pregnancy during the second and third trimester.  For example, this would be equal to calories provided by acup of yogurt and a small sliced apple… much less than most would think.

What you can do:

  • Discuss your desire to plan a pregnancy with you’re your healthcare provider. 
  • If you are overweight or obese, try to lose weight prior to pregnancy by healthy eating and physical activity. 
  • See a dietitian prior and during pregnancy for help.
  • Set specific attainable goals.
  • Continue healthy eating and exercise during your pregnancy, most pregnant women can continue exercise during pregnancy,P01210.
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