The average pregnant woman needs about 100-300 calories more than a non-pregnant woman. For those of you who grew up believing pregnancy means eating for two, sadly, that math just doesn’t add up! The good news is by following this dietary guideline, you can hope to gain a healthy amount of weight during the course of your pregnancy.
So how much weight is a healthy amount to gain during pregnancy?
For years the medical community has been advising an average of 25-35 pounds of weight gain during pregnancy. This is both a large range and not individualized for the needs of each mother. New recommendations for weight gain are based upon the mothers pre-pregnancy BMI.
If you don’t know your BMI, use this handy calculator from the CDC:
From there, this chart can be helpful in determining a more individualized range of healthy weight gain:
(Always work with your midwife to determine your safe recommended weight gain! These guidelines are for singleton pregnancies as mothers carrying multiples have different needs.)
Obesity is a factor for nearly 1 in 3 women in the US. (here and here) Although it is ideal to attain a healthy BMI before conception, pregnancy can offer extra motivation to modify diet and increase physical activity.
Obesity poses a host of problems to the pregnant mother, from miscarriage and gestational diabetes to complications during labor and birth. In addition, there are risks to the fetus of mothers who are obese including preterm birth, birth defects and childhood obesity. (here)
Working hard to attain and maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy has many advantages!
Be aware, pregnancy cravings may help or hinder a well-balanced diet! My cravings were as follows: First pregnancy I obsessed over rhubarb and almost anything dipped in ketchup. Second pregnancy I consumed an undisclosed number of Sonic cherry lemonades and brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts. Everything in moderation is a strong theme in my life!
How much weight did you gain with your pregnancies? How do you feel your pregnancy weight gain impacted your pregnancy, delivery and postpartum experience? What did you crave?