Strive for healthy weight gain during pregnancy
6/1/2015 3:15 PM
A woman who has a normal pre-pregnancy weight should gain around 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. However, if she starts out overweight, she should gain a little less. On the flip side, if a woman is underweight when she conceives, we want her to gain a little bit more.
One of the biggest risks of not gaining enough weight during pregnancy is delivering a small baby. However, a baby in the womb is like a leach and will steal from the mother’s stores if they are not getting what they need. This can lead to muscle and bone loss for the mother.
Gaining too much weight during pregnancy presents another set of problems. With excessive weight gain comes larger babies, increasing the risk that the baby will have to be delivered via cesarean section. If a large baby is born vaginally, it can cause bigger tears and risks of complications. Excessive weight gain also puts the mother at risk of developing potentially dangerous conditions such as preeclampsia (characterized by high blood pressure) and gestational diabetes.
When it comes to taking off excess pounds post-pregnancy, it’s important to set realistic expectations. It takes nine months to gain the weight, and it should take about nine months to lose it. Breastfeeding is one of the best things a new mother can do because it burns extra calories. Keeping an active lifestyle is also important, and I recommend investing in a jogging stroller.
Regarding diet, I encourage women to focus on eating good quality foods rather than cutting foods out. A woman should have two to three servings of lean meat per day, three servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables. Carbohydrates should take up less than 20 percent of a woman’s diet.
For more information about women’s health, visit ctmc.org
Dr. Kari Fay, MD, FACOG
Dr. Fay is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. She is certified in da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery and currently practices a tthe Caring Center for Women in New Braunfels, Texas.