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Pregnancy and weight gain

Pregnancy is the time to build and support a new life. It's not a time to diet.

If you're like many pregnant women, you may be worried about gaining weight. But remember, pregnancy is not the time to diet, remind the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Pregnancy Association. It's the time to build a support system for your baby.

Women who gain the right amount of weight have a lower risk of having an underweight baby. But women who gain too much weight may have more problems, such as:

  • Backaches.
  • Varicose veins.
  • High blood pressure.

If you gain a healthy amount of weight, it also makes it easier to lose weight after baby arrives.

How much weight you need to gain during pregnancy depends on how much you weighed before you became pregnant. March of Dimes offers these guidelines:

  • Women of normal weight before pregnancy should gain 25 to 35 pounds.
  • Women who were underweight before pregnancy should gain 28 to 40 pounds.
  • Women who were overweight before pregnancy should gain 15 to 25 pounds.
  • Women who were obese before pregnancy should gain 11 to 20 pounds.
  • Women who are having multiple babies should talk to their doctors about how much weight to gain.

Most women gain as little as 1 to 5 pounds during the first trimester. After that, about a pound a week is normal.

If you gain less than 5 pounds during the first trimester, don't worry. You can make it up later. The most important thing is that you gain the proper amount of weight overall.

Watch out for rapid weight gain. If you gain 2 to 5 pounds in a week, talk to your doctor. It could be a sign of a dangerous condition called pre-eclampsia.

Remember, you should not try to diet at any time during pregnancy. If you're worried that you're gaining too much or not enough, talk to your doctor.

Reviewed 9/14/2023

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