How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?

How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?

For some women pregnancy is a bit easier. They gain the ideal amount of weight with little to no morning sickness, while for others it can be much more difficult. And there are always plenty of questions about how much weight gain is safe during your nine months of bliss.

For the most part, doctors caution women against following the old cliché of “eating-for-two during pregnancy.” Health experts say women should focus more on healthy eating and moderate weight gain instead. In fact, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently updated its guidelines on how much weight women should actually gain during pregnancy.

The IOM recommends women, who have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9, gain no more than 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy if they are carrying just one baby. And women who have a BMI of 30 or higher, should gain as little as 11 pounds, according to the IOM.

The maximum weight gain recommended for women who are considered to be overweight is 20 pounds. For women in the normal weight weight range and who have a BMI of 18.5 to 24, it’s okay to gain 25 to 35 pounds, says the IOM.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG),more than half of all pregnant women in the U.S.begin their journey to becoming a mom either overweight or obese.

These new stats are what prompted the IOM to change its guidelines, because of the serious health risks too much weight gain can be for mom, such as gestational diabetes and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, also called preeclampsia.

The ACOG also notes that women who do not maintain their weight during pregnancy are much more likely to undergo a cesarean delivery. There are also other serious health risks including  miscarriage, stillbirth and birth defects, according to the ACOG.

One of the best ways to avoid these complications is to exercise. The ACOG advises pregnant women to get 30 minutes of exercise on most days, if not every day. This can include walking, swimming or aerobics. Jogging is also a good exercise for women who were already joggers before they became pregnant.

The ACOG says pregnant women should avoid activities that involve high contact or the potential for falls, like basketball, soccer, skiing and racquet sports.

Adding weight control to prenatal care
In addition to learning the baby’s gender and peering at ultrasounds, the ACOG recommends women use their prenatal care visits to talk to their doctors about healthy eating and monitoring their weight.

Experts say pregnancy can be the ideal opportunity for women to focus on improving their nutrition and  healthy lifestyle habits.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.