One of the most common questions posed when a woman comes to us during pregnancy is about pregnancy and weight gain.
The amount of weight you gain during pregnancy depends on your starting weight and the particular health needs of you and your baby. At Medical Care for Women in Astoria, New York, we help you follow a healthy diet, take appropriate prenatal vitamins, and include safe physical activity to foster a healthy pregnancy.
A healthy weight gain differs between women. To provide some important context about weight gain and pregnancy, the team of providers at Medical Care for Women can give you lots of information about the topic.
Weight gain during pregnancy
Yes, you’ll gain weight – and it’s best not to gain too much or too little weight while you’re pregnant.
Too little weight gain can increase the risk of certain health problems and complications during pregnancy and delivery. For example, your baby could be born at a low birthweight or premature.
If you gain too much weight, you have a higher risk of:
- Premature birth
- Large birth weight (over 8 pounds, 13 ounces)
- Heavy bleeding after delivery
- Delivery by cesarean section
Extra weight gain can also put undue stress on you – mom’s – joints and put you at risk of associated health problems, such as gestational diabetes.
The right amount of weight gain
When you consult with the doctors at Medical Care for Women, we give recommendations as to the right amount of weight gain for you. We consider factors, including how much you weighed before you got pregnant as well as the particulars of your personal health history.
In general, the following guidelines apply to women who are pregnant with one baby:
- If you started pregnancy underweight, gain 28-40 pounds
- If you started pregnancy at a normal weight, gain 25-35 pounds
- If you started pregnancy overweight, gain 15-25 pounds
- If you started pregnancy obese, gain 11-20 pounds
If you’re pregnant with more than one baby, your weight-gain goals will likely be higher.
Gain weight the right way
A pregnant woman needs just 300 extra calories per day, so you don’t have license to gorge on fast food, desserts, and other treats.
A healthy weight gain is achieved by making smart choices about meals and snacks. Meals should focus on items such as whole grains, leafy greens (with bonus folic acid to prevent birth defects), fruits, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins, such as chicken and lean steak.
Most women should avoid going on a calorie-restrictive diet or try to lose weight while pregnant, especially without the oversight of one of our physicians. If you need help eating healthfully during pregnancy, we can refer you to a registered dietitian, who can help you plan your meals and make smart eating choices.
If you’re pregnant or plan to get pregnant soon, contact the staff at Medical Care for Women to help you make the healthiest choices for yourself and your baby. Use the online tool to request an appointment or call us at 718-278-0888.