Weight Gain and Exercise for Pregnant Women

How much Weight should I Gain During Pregnancy and how Much can I Exercise?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends an average weight gain during pregnancy of 25-30 pounds but the amount of weight you should gain will depend on your weight before you became pregnant, on your height, and what you and your health care provider decide is best for you. Generally a guideline is to gain 2-4 pounds during the 1st stage of pregnancy and 3-4 pounds per month in the 2nd stage and 3rd stage.

Exercise is a good way to help stay emotionally and physically healthy and avoid unnecessary weight gain during the pregnancy. Unless there are medical reasons to avoid it, pregnant women can and should exercise on a regular basis. The ACOG recommends that pregnant women without health problems or pregnancy complications exercise moderately for 30 or more minutes on a regular daily basis. However, before beginning any exercise program, talk with your health care provider to be sure you do not have any health conditions that should limit your activity.

What other Weight Information is Important?

According to ACOG, if you are underweight, you should gain between 28-40 pounds and if you are overweight you should gain between 15- 25 pounds. Always check with your health care provider to find out how much weight gain during pregnancy is healthy for you.

If you gain too much weight during pregnancy it can be hard to lose the weight later. Most women who gain the recommended amount of weight lose the extra weight in the birth process and in the first several months after birth. As a point of concern, evidence shows that women who gain more than the recommended amount during pregnancy, and who fail to lose this weight within a 6 month period after giving birth, are at much higher risk of being overweight and obese nearly 10 years later.

But remember that when you are pregnant is not the time to go on a weight-loss diet or a time to restrict your food intake. Low-calorie diets can break down the stored fat you and your baby need and it can lead to the production of substances in your body which can be harmful to your baby. According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), a pregnant woman generally should eat a total of 2,500 to about 2,700 calories every day, only 300 calories a day more than the woman did before she was pregnant.

Is it Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy?

Here are just a few reasons for you to get regular exercise during your pregnancy:

  • it can help you to feel better, increase your sense of control and boost your energy level.

  • exercise can help relieve back pain by strengthening and toning muscles in your back, butt, and thighs

  • it can reduce constipation by accelerating movement in your intestine

  • it may help you to sleep more soundly.

  • exercise may lower the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy.

  • active women seem to be better prepared for labor and delivery and recover more quickly.

  • it can improve your emotional health and lower the risk of depression

  • and anxiety.

  • exercise can help you gain less fat weight during your pregnancy and thus help you to regain your pre-pregnancy body more quickly.

While exercise during pregnancy is not safe for all women, the overwhelming majority of pregnant women will benefit from a regular exercise program. For specific information on exercise and pregnancy visit Exercise and Pregnancy.

Where Can I Find Additional Sources of Information?

For additional information about your pregnancy and nutrition, please visit the link Nutrition Help and the website Pregnancy And Children and Things That May Surprise You About Pregnancy.

Also visit the websites listed below:

March of Dimes on Healthy Eating
March of Dimes: Exercise during pregnancy
Pregnancy and exercise
Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy
Staying fit while pregnant

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