I’m overweight. How can I control my weight gain throughout my pregnancy?
Good job mama. Keeping an eye on your weight -- while also getting enough nutrients for you and baby -- is really important and boosts your odds of having a safe, healthy pregnancy, birth and baby.
You may already know that women considered overweight should gain less weight than underweight and average weigh women should. Here’s the breakdown of ideal weight gain total during pregnancy:
Average BMI (18.5 to 24.9): 25 to 35 pounds
High BMI (25 to 29.9): 15 to 25 pounds
Very High BMI (30 or more): 11 to 20 pounds
So no, you shouldn’t be trying to lose weight right now, but you should be aiming to gain it slowly and healthfully. Your doctor or midwife will weigh you at each prenatal visit and track the amount you’re gaining at each visit.
Of course, keeping your pregnancy weight gain within a specific range is easier said than done. The best thing you can do to keep your weight under control is to get moving. “When women get pregnant, they tend to start eating more and exercising less. It’s almost impossible not to gain too much weight if you do that, ” says Debra Goldman, MD, ob/gyn at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.
Create an exercise plan that include at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days per week -- no matter what your fitness routine was before. “If you weren’t doing anything before, start slow,” says Golman. “Just five minutes a day, starting off. We’re not expecting somebody to go from zero to kickboxing or Pilates classes. Brisk walking, spinning or swimming are great workouts. Just be sure to incorporate some cardio to keep your metabolism working.
Also, keep an eye on the calories. In the first trimester, you’re not supposed to be eating any more calories than the usual 2,200 to 2,900 per day that’s recommended for non-pregnant women. In the second trimester, you’re supposed to add on only 340 calories per day, and in the third trimester, you should only add on 450 calories per day, which basically means one or two healthy snacks.
Here’s the deal on pregnancy weight gain -- it’s not always neat and consistent. Some women lose weight during the first trimester because they’re so sick. Others gain a bunch in the beginning. And almost every woman has at least one month when she gains more than the recommended half-pound to pound per week. Your healthcare provider is more concerned with your overall health and weight gain than with what happens during any particular month.
But if your weight changes drastically (either up or down) in a month, your healthcare provider might want to take a closer look at your eating and exercising habits, and make some adjustments that will benefit you and your baby. You may also be examined more closely to rule out any potential pregnancy complications.
Learn how much weight is appropriate to gain for a healthy plus-size pregnancy. Plus, get weight-control tips to keep yourself on track.
Plus, More from The Bump:
Finding the Right OB for a Plus-Sized Pregnancy
Healthy Meal Ideas for Pregnancy
The Dos and Don'ts of Pregnancy Exercise