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This Is How Much Weight You Should Gain During Pregnancy

A new study suggests that eating in excess during pregnancy puts mothers at higher risks of obesity and puts the child at higher risks of developing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

This Is How Much Weight You Should Gain During Pregnancy

It is important to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy for obese women


  1. Obese women need not increase their calorie intake during pregnancy
  2. Being overweight can increase chances of diabetes and hypertension
  3. It is important to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy

During pregnancy, most mothers are recommended to eat lots of nutritious and high-fat diet so that the baby gets all the nutrition it needs. Pregnancy is actually the time when mothers are pampered with wholesome foods and weight gain is inevitable. However, eating in excess during pregnancy puts mothers at higher risks of obesity. During pregnancy, it is only optimum weight gain that is recommended for mothers. Researchers from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sud Reunion in France created a calculator that can help would-be mothers understand the ideal weight gain to achieve safest birth outcome. This weight gain would put mothers at a balanced risk of either having a very small or a very large baby. Getting to know the right amount of recommended weight gain helps women to be sure that they can give birth in the safest way possible.


Weight gain during pregnancy will depend on the women's weight
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: How To Plan A Pregnancy If Your Partner Is Infertile: Explained By Our Expert

The results of the research, however, may not be ideal for all underweight and overweight women. Researchers say that there is a very strong link between the weight of the mother and the baby. An underweight mother is like to have smaller babies or smaller gestational age (SGA) babies, whereas obese mothers are likely to have more large gestational age (LGA) babies. Both SGA and LGA babies are at high risks of health conditions like hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes and obesity, as compared to babies who are born with a normal weight.


Extremely obese pregnant women should try and lose weight
Photo Credit: iStock

Being obese during pregnancy puts the would-be mother at higher risks of gestational diabetes and hypertension. Being obese during pregnancy can be harmful for the mother and the child - who is at higher risk of high blood pressure and heart diseases.

Also read: Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension: 7 Signs And Symptoms

The findings suggested that women with a normal BMI are at balanced risk of having an SGA or LGA baby, which is 10% risk. The study suggests that women with BMI of 17 should gain around 22 kgs and not 12.5-18 kgs which is generally recommended. An obese women with a BMI of 32 should gain around 3.6 kgs and not 5-9 kg which is generally recommended for them. Also, very obese women with BMI 40 should work towards lose 6 kgs.

child birth

Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy ensures healthy child birth
Photo Credit: iStock

In the Indian context, this is more important because here, people are under the misconception that if the baby is plumb, it is a sign of being healthy. However, such babies are unable to lose weight later in the life despite being active.

Also read: Planning To Get Pregnant? You Must Have These 5 Nutrients

Gynaecologist Dr Ragini Agrawal agrees and says that weight gain during pregnancy will depend on the women's overall weight. She says, "There is a lot of fixation on weight gain when it comes to pregnancy in India, and this is not even required. It all depends on weight. We take the volume of the placenta into consideration. At least 6-7 weight is important for would-be mothers."

She says that obese women should be not allowed to be given a lot of calories. An obese lady should increase her calorie intake for the nutrition of her child. "When an obese woman increases her intake of calories during pregnancy, her chances of co-morbidity also increases. She becomes at higher risk of developing diabetes or high blood pressure," says Dr Ragini while adding that pregnant women should have a proper and appropriate diet including proper quantities of carbs, proteins, vitamins and fats.

(With inputs from ANI)

(Dr Ragini Agarwal is Senior Gynaecologist and Head at W. Pratiksha Hospital in Gurgaon.)

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