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Weight Management

It's normal to gain weight in pregnancy as your baby grows, but limiting the amount of extra weight gain will improve your health and your baby's, both now and in the future.

Weight gain in pregnancy

Healthy weight gain during pregnancy varies a lot between different women. Most women put on between 10kg (22lb) and 12.5kg (28lb) during their pregnancy, but the amount you should put on can depend on how much you weighed before you become pregnant.  

There are no official guidelines in the UK but in the US, guidelines suggest that

  • women who are underweight (BMI under 18.5) are recommended to put on between 28-40 lbs (13-18kg)
  • women in the normal weight range (BMI of 18.5-24.9) are recommended to put on between 25-35lbs (11-16kg)
  • women who are overweight (BMI between 25 and 29.9) are recommended to put on between 15-25lbs (7-11kg)
  • women who are affected by obesity (BMI of 30 or more), are recommended to put on between 11-20 lbs (5-9kg)

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists offer advice and information here on the subject of why your weight matters during pregnancy and after birth.

Read more about nutrition in pregnancy here.  You can also find lots of information regarding healthy eating on the start4life website.

 

Frequently asked Questions

Q. I'm overweight and worried how this might affect my pregnancy.  Should I go on a diet?

A. Dieting or losing weight during pregnancy is not recommended as it may harm your unborn baby. But if you are overweight or obese and pregnant, making healthy changes to your diet can help you not to gain any weight, and you might even lose a small amount. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that this is not harmful.

The most important thing is to keep your weight gain to a safe and healthy level for you and your baby. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you're worried about how much weight you should be putting on and they will be able to advise and reassure you about what is right for you. If your BMI was over 35 at booking, you will receive extra care and support during your pregnancy through our Pregnancy Lifestyle clinic.

Q. My BMI at booking was over 30.  What dose of folic acid should I take?

A.  Folic acid is important for pregnancy as it can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, which can cause conditions such as spina bifida.  The following are reasons you may need to take the larger dose (5 milligrams) of folic acid:

  • you have a raised BMI of over 30
  • you have had a baby with spina bifida
  • you have diabetes
  • you are taking medicine for epilepsy
  • you have coeliac disease

Please contact your GP as this dose is only available on prescription