During pregnancy, there are lots of steps you can take to help keep yourself and your baby healthy and to lower your risk of pregnancy complications. One of these steps is to gain the right amount of weight.
But how much weight gain is right for you and your baby? This is one of the most common questions that pregnant women ask.
There’s no one simple answer to this question. A healthy weight gain for one woman may be too much, or too little, for another. To give you some important context about weight gain and pregnancy, board-certified OB/GYN A. Michael Coppa, MD, offers the following information about this important topic.
Facts about pregnancy weight gain
It’s best not to gain too much or too little weight while you’re pregnant.
If you gain too little weight, the risk of certain health problems and pregnancy complications goes up. For example, your baby could be born too small (low birthweight) or too early (a condition known as premature birth or preterm birth).
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
How much should you gain?
During your appointment with Dr. Coppa, he calculates a target weight gain based on several 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, Dr. Coppa recommends higher weight-gain goals.
How to gain the right amount of weight
You may have heard people say that when you’re pregnant you’re eating for two. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean you should eat twice as much while you’re expecting. In fact, a pregnant woman needs only about 300 additional calories each day.
You can achieve a healthy weight gain by making smart choices about meals and snacks. It’s important to eat healthy foods that provide you and your baby with all the nutrients you both need.
Unless Dr. Coppa recommends it, don’t go on a calorie-restrictive diet or try to lose weight while you’re pregnant. If you need help eating healthfully during pregnancy, Dr. Coppa can refer you to a registered dietitian, who can help you plan your meals and make smart eating choices.
Learn more about healthy pregnancy
If you’re pregnant or plan to get pregnant soon, Dr. Coppa can help you make the healthiest choices for yourself and your baby. Book an appointment online or by calling one of our two offices today.