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Guidelines on Weight Gain & Pregnancy

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Being healthy is a topic that is on everyone’s minds these days. If you are pregnant or may become pregnant in the future, it’s really important. In 2009, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council published updated guidelines on weight gain during pregnancy that enhance your ability to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

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I heard that if I am overweight and become pregnant, it can affect my health. Is that true? Can being overweight affect my baby?

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Begin pregnancy at a healthy weight The best way to begin a pregnancy is at a healthy weight. Your weight before you become pregnant has a big effect on your health during pregnancy and on the health of your baby. But please remember, no matter what your weight is before becoming pregnant, how much weight you gain during pregnancy is important! Women who are overweight or obese when they become pregnant have a higher risk of having a C-section. They also tend to have trouble losing weight after the baby is born. Mothers who are overweight or obese when they conceive are more likely to have children who become overweight or obese. *

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Women who are underweight when they become pregnant have a higher risk of having a preterm or low-birth- weight baby. This can cause health problems for the baby, including breathing, heart, and digestive problems. Talk to your health care providers about your eating and physical activity choices so that you can be in the best shape possible when you become pregnant.

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I just found out I am pregnant, so now I can eat all I want and just lose the weight afterward, right?

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Gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy You need to gain weight to have a healthy pregnancy, but many pregnant women gain either too much or too little weight. The amount of weight you should gain during pregnancy depends on your weight before you conceive and whether your weight is right for your height. Your health care provider can help you determine which weight category you’re in.

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If before During pregnancy pregnancy, you are… you should gain… Underweight 28-40 lbs Normal (healthy) 25-35 weight lbs Overweight 15-25 lbs Obese 11-20 lbs

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+++ I gained about 10 pounds more during my pregnancy than I planned on. Do I really need to worry about that if I am planning on having another baby?

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Return to a healthy weight after your baby is born Starting out at a healthy weight and gaining within the recommended range will make it easier to return to a healthy weight after your baby is born. Returning to a healthy weight after delivery is good for your overall health and it puts you on the right track for a healthy pregnancy in the future.

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? ? ? I really want to try to lose weight before I become pregnant but I don’t know where to turn. There is so much information out there, how do I know what is best for me?

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Things you can do to make sure you gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy Talk with your provider (family physician, obstetrician, midwife, nurse practitioner, or other skilled professional, such as a dietitian, or physical activity specialist). Ask him or her for information and advice about eating right and being active so that you reach a healthy weight before you become pregnant, gain the right amount during pregnancy, and return to a healthy weight after your baby is born. *

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Your provider should: Keep track of your height and weight. That means measuring and recording your height and weight before you are pregnant. You may decide that it’s best if you lose or gain some weight before becoming pregnant. Then, once you are pregnant, your provider should chart your weight gain throughout the pregnancy to make sure you’re gaining within the guidelines. At each visit, talk with your provider about the results so that you know how you are doing with your weight gain goals. Give you referrals. If you want extra help with healthy eating and physical activity, ask your provider to refer you to a dietitian or physical activity specialist.

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