Healthy Eating during Pregnancy

Healthy EATING DURING PREGNANCY 7
A
MERICAN ACADEMY OF PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS (AAPA)
Weight Gain
DURING PREGNANCY
Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy
helps to make sure the pregnancy outcome for both
mother and baby is healthy. Women who gain too little
weight are at risk of having a small baby (less than 5
1/2 pounds). On the other hand, women who gain too
much weight have a greater risk of having an early
baby or a large baby. Additionally, gaining too much
weight during pregnancy may be associated with
health problems such as gestational diabetes, high
blood pressure (preeclampsia), and varicose veins in
the mother.
In addition to weight gain associated with the
growth of the baby during pregnancy, pregnant
women store fat to prepare for breastfeeding. Women
below optimal weight need careful monitoring and
meal planning advice in preparation for breastfeeding.
The chart, “Where Does Weight Gain Go?” highlights
the typical distribution of weight during pregnancy.
GOALS FOR WEIGHT GAIN
Goals for weight gain should be based on pre-pregnancy
weight, height, age, and usual eating patterns. In 1990,
the IOM issued guidelines for weight gain during preg-
nancy, which are still used today. Because every woman
and every pregnancy is unique, pregnant women should
talk to their healthcare provider to ensure proper
weight gain throughout their pregnancy.
A weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds is considered nor-
mal for healthy women of normal weight (with a BMI of
18.6 to 24.9). BMI is one way to determine if individuals
are at an appropriate weight. This tool can also be
Baby 7
1
2
Placenta 1
1
2
Amniotic fluid 2
Mother
Breasts 2
Uterus 2
Body fluids 4
Blood 4
Maternal stores of fat,
protein, & other nutrients 7
TOTAL 30 lbs.
SOURCE: Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth, Third Edition,
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Approximate Weight Gain, in pounds
WHERE
DOES
THE
WEIGHT
GO?
Women should listen to their
bodies’ signals and stop eating when
they feel full, instead of overeating
because “you’re eating for two.”
Page 7/12
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