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How Much Weight Should You Gain While Pregnant?

Sure, you may be eating for two, but that doesn’t mean you should eat twice as much. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy could lead to health problems for both you and your baby. On the other hand, gaining too little also is harmful. How do you know what number is just right?

Just like maternity clothes, weight gain during pregnancy isn’t one-size-fits-all. However, there is some general advice: the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends normal weight women should gain is 25 to 35 pounds.

If you’re underweight, overweight, obese or carrying more than one baby, your target may differ. For example, the Institute of Medicine recommends that overweight women gain 15 to 25 pounds and that obese women gain 11 to 20 pounds.

The bottom line: It’s best to talk with your doctor about your situation.

There Are Risks in Gaining Too Much — Or Too Little

One study found that women who gain more than 40 pounds appear more likely to have babies weighing nine pounds or more. Babies of this size tend to have difficult births and are at risk of being overweight later in childhood.

In addition, pregnant women who gain extra weight may have a harder time dropping it than women who gained the recommended amount. Research shows that if new moms don’t lose extra pounds within six months of birth, their risk of being obese is higher later in life.

However, pregnancy isn’t the time to start a low-calorie diet. Eating the right amount of healthy foods helps your baby develop properly. Gain too little, and you risk having an underweight baby or a premature birth.

Step on the Scale to Keep Pregnancy Weight on Track

Experts recommend eating about 300 more calories per day while pregnant. Talk with your doctor to determine the ideal calorie goals for your own pregnancy.

Aim to gain two to four pounds total during your first trimester and three to four pounds per month during your second and third trimesters. Talk with your doctor about adjusting your diet if the needle on the scale rises too slowly or quickly.

Exercise also can benefit many pregnant women. In addition to keeping weight in check, working out:

  • Improves sleep
  • Soothes pregnancy-related aches and pains
  • Prepares your body for labor by increasing strength and stamina

Most pregnant women can safely exercise the recommended 30 minutes or more on most days of the week, but check with your doctor first to be sure.

Tanner Healthcare for Women, a Tanner Medical Group practice, is located in Carrollton. For more information, visit TannerHealthcareForWomen.org or call 770-834-0170.

Maternity Care

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