Tips to Avoid Unhealthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Have you been gaining weight during pregnancy? Well, it's normal, but excessive weight gain during pregnancy can impact your health, both now and after you give birth. Here are tips on how to avoid unhealthy weight gain during pregnancy.

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Have you been gaining weight during pregnancy? Well, it’s normal, but excessive weight gain during pregnancy can impact your health, both now and after you give birth. Packing on pounds at the beginning of your pregnancy can be especially dangerous. It increases your risk of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, a serious condition that causes high blood pressure, swelling, and other potentially harmful complications in you and your baby. According to a recent analysis, women who acquire more or less weight than suggested during pregnancy are likely to increase their risk of complications for themselves and their unborn child.

Risks associated with excessive weight:

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is a risk factor for major birth injuries and can even lead to cerebral palsy or other developmental delays. Weight gain can cause slow fetal growth and may put excessive stress on a pregnant woman’s joints and ligaments, which can cause injuries during delivery. In fact, infants of overweight mothers are three times more likely to have low-birthweight than infants of normal-weight mothers. Children who weigh less than 5 1/2 pounds (2,500 grams) at birth are more likely to suffer cerebral palsy. Birth injuries cause 70% of cerebral palsy cases. If your child is facing the same issue, visit for information about how to take care of your baby. They also have treatment options available. 

Some research suggests that women with a BMI above 30 during pregnancy may be at increased risk for cesarean sections, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and postpartum depression.

But you can prevent birth injuries by following the tips below; keep reading to find out how!

Exercise daily

Not only does exercise enhance cardiovascular health and improve blood pressure and insulin levels, but it’s also a great stress reliever. Research has shown that women who work in sedentary occupations are five times more likely to be overweight than those who move around while they work. It’s no wonder many pregnant women experience heightened stress during their nine months. Add in a diet that tends to be high in sugary foods, bread, and red meat—all of which cause weight gain—and pregnancy becomes an ideal time for many women to develop health problems such as diabetes and high cholesterol. To keep your waistline (and your baby) healthy, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

Eat a balanced diet

Pregnant women need more calories, protein, and certain vitamins than non-pregnant women—but not more than what their bodies need. Eating an unbalanced diet that includes lots of unhealthy fats, for example, might increase your caloric intake beyond what you require. It can lead to extreme weight gain—or even obesity—if a woman has too much in her diet and exercises little or not at all. If you’re pregnant and worried about gaining too much weight or want to prevent it from happening in the first place, stick with whole foods (lean meats) and skip processed products that are often high in sugar, fat, and calories. 

Consume an appropriate amount of calories

Eating about 300 extra calories above your recommended daily intake is important when pregnant. This additional caloric consumption is necessary for healthy fetal development. Aim to consume at least nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Make sure these calories come from healthy sources rather than junk food; choose nutrient-rich foods that offer plenty of vitamins, minerals, protein, and other vital nutrients. A balanced diet can help you stay healthy and trim throughout your pregnancy—and may even help keep some extra pounds off after delivery! 

Don’t skip meals

Studies have shown that pregnant women who don’t take in enough calories may have complications during delivery. One way to ensure you aren’t skipping meals is by planning ahead. Keep healthy snacks at work and home so you don’t get tempted when hunger strikes. If you haven’t eaten for an hour or two, eat a handful of nuts instead of grabbing a sugary candy bar from the vending machine. It will give you long-term energy and provide nourishment for both you and your baby.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking water can curb appetite, which can prevent you from overeating. Also, a 2013 study found that women who drank two cups of water 30 minutes before meals lost more weight than those who didn’t drink any water before mealtime. Remember that if you are sensitive to caffeine, you should limit your intake of caffeinated beverages during pregnancy; instead, opt for non-caffeinated beverages such as juice and bottled water. Women need 10 cups of fluid daily during pregnancy – more if they exercise! 

Sleep well

Research shows that sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels, a hormone that triggers hunger. Getting enough sleep can help keep your appetite under control and your metabolism humming at its peak performance. Start sleeping seven to nine hours every night by going to bed and waking up at consistent times, and keeping distractions like computers, phones, or tablets out of your bedroom. Keep nighttime rituals soothing—read a book or listen to calming music. 

Avoid processed foods, sugars, and refined starches

We often feel hungrier when we eat foods that are processed and refined. These types of food tend to be higher in calories than whole foods, making them more likely to contribute to excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Processed foods also don’t fill you up for very long because they don’t contain a lot of fiber or water. A recent study found that women who ate refined starches and sugars during their first trimester were nearly twice as likely to have gained excess weight by delivery as women who didn’t. 

How much weight should you put on when expecting?

The weight you need to gain during pregnancy should be determined by considering your pre-pregnancy weight and BMI. Consult your healthcare professional to determine what’s best for you and to control your weight throughout pregnancy.

Start by taking into account these recommendations for weight gain and obesity during pregnancy:

  • The suggested weight gain for women who are expecting a single child and have a BMI of 30 or more is 11 to 20 pounds (about 5 to 9 kilograms).
  • If you are expecting twins or multiples and have a BMI of 30 or more, you should gain between 25 and 42 pounds (about 11 to 19 kilograms).

Instead of advising you to gain a certain amount of weight, your healthcare practitioner might advise you to concentrate on preventing excessive weight gain.


It can be difficult to follow the recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy, especially if you’ve never had such a strong want for carbohydrates and people keep telling you to eat for two everywhere you go. However, there are a few easy techniques to prevent putting on too much weight while pregnant. Try to consume wholesome snacks and balanced meals, keep yourself hydrated, establish a regular exercise schedule, and seek your doctor’s advice.

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