The Right Weight for a Healthier Pregnancy
For a healthy pregnancy, you can’t really eat for two, or you might gain too much. Here’s how much weight you should really gain.
If you are thinking of becoming pregnant or are already pregnant, your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and delivery are higher when you gain the right amount of weight.
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Some people think that because you’re eating for two, your calorie intake should be doubled. But that’s not quite true.
Yes, you are eating for two, but there are guidelines regarding the amount of weight you should gain to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both you and your developing baby.
How do you know how much weight is safe to gain during your pregnancy? First, calculate your body mass index (BMI).
For your individual BMI, the National Institutes of Health recommends the following:
The amount of weight you gain is important because being overweight or obese can predispose you to developing diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), which can cause complications for both you and the baby.
You are also at greater risk for developing high blood pressure during pregnancy (gestational hypertension) and a condition called pre-eclampsia, which is the onset of high blood pressure and proteins in your urine and can eventually lead to seizures.
Being overweight or obese — especially with the development of any of the above complications — can also cause your baby to be born too early.
A new Swedish study, which included more than 1.5 million deliveries, showed that being overweight or obese during pregnancy increased the risk for preterm delivery, with babies being born as early as 22 weeks gestational age. Because many of the baby’s organs have not been completely developed by this time, he or she is at risk for having long-term disabilities, or even of dying.
What does this mean for you and your baby? The more weight you gain over the recommended guidelines, the higher your risk is for delivering your baby before your due date.
Here’s a start in preventing some of the complications I’ve talked about if you are already overweight or obese:
So, if you are not yet pregnant but thinking of having a baby — and you are overweight or obese — now is the perfect time to begin making lifestyle changes in preparation for a healthier pregnancy.