When Enough Is Enough: Pregnant Women and Weight Gain

Weight gain is a natural and necessary part of pregnancy. Nevertheless, it is still something that many expectant mothers dread, and as you begin to learn about how to care for your body during pregnancy, you might be wondering how much is too much. The reality is that there is no “magic number” for pregnancy weight gain. Just as was true before you became pregnant, your weight depends on a number of factors including height, body type, and physical activity. The amount of weight gained during pregnancy can therefore vary widely from woman to woman, particularly for those carrying twins. There are, however, some simple guidelines you can follow to ensure that your body and your baby stay healthy.

When you first learn that you are pregnant, you should consult with your doctor or midwife to create a diet and light exercise plan that is safe and healthy. Some women also choose to consult a nutritionist or registered dietician. Although there is no fixed amount you can expect to gain, excessive weight can be dangerous, so you and your healthcare practitioner should remain vigilant. Most doctors consider 25 to 30 pounds of weight gain to be a rough average for a pregnant woman carrying one baby; however, some women gain as much as 60 pounds during a perfectly healthy pregnancy.

If you are gaining more weight than expected, it could be a sign of high blood pressure (preeclampsia), diabetes, or macrosomia (a big baby). Often, the more weight you gain, the more weight your baby gains, which can result in a condition called CPD (cephalopelvic disproportion) – a baby who is disproportionately large for the size of your inner pelvis. If this occurs, the baby delivery will have to be by Caesarian section. Though there is no way to guarantee a vaginal delivery, you will certainly increase your chances and promote the health of your unborn baby by following a strict and nutritious diet plan throughout your pregnancy.

Although cravings for particular food can occur (e.g. ice cream or pickles), moderation of indulgences is important. Exercise can help maintain proper weight gain and improve your chances for a vaginal delivery.

Knowledge is power. Keep yourself healthy, and keep an eye out for excess weight gain. If you know when enough is enough, you’ll be able to steer clear of serious health problems that could affect both you and your unborn baby.

You can also visit my blog for more info on staying healthy during your pregnancy.

Mark Zakowski, M.D.
The Safe Baby System