Weight and Weight-for-Height Status

The total amount of weight gain recommended for pregnant women depends largely on their BMI before pregnancy. (See the box on the next page.)

Laboratory Evaluation

Consider the nonsmoker anemic if her hemoglobin is below 11.0 g/dl in the first or third trimester or below 10.5 g/dl in the second trimester. A positive screen for anemia calls for iron therapy or additional testing. No other tests need to be done routinely solely to screen for nutritional problems.

Basic Guidance

  • Affirm something positive, such as: By coming for prenatal care [or to this class], you are starting to take care of your baby.

  • Encourage healthful eating and weight gain.

  • Encourage walking, swimming, dancing, or other appropriate exercise.

Dietary Practices
  • Using appropriate materials, provide guidance on sound eating practices based primarily on the Dietary Guidelines. Use an approach that considers the woman's learning style, learning ability, literacy, native language, and other learner characteristics. People who do not organize eating by meals or food groups may benefit from dietary guidance that focuses mainly on foods, as in these examples:

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