For some women, gaining weight during pregnancy can be concerning, especially if they are overweight to begin with. It’s so important to understand that it is not healthy to diet while you’re pregnant because it can be harmful to your unborn baby. Your body is working super hard to nurture your child in the womb, and dieting can add extra stress on your body that you just don’t need. Dieting can also lead to deficiencies in iron, folic acid, calcium and all the other essential nutrients listed above that your unborn baby needs.
It is true that being overweight can cause health issues, such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia. If you are concerned about your weight and weight gain, be sure to talk to your doctor or nutritionist who can help you work out a meal plan.
If you’re already eating a plant-based diet, your weight probably is not a concern, as vegans and vegetarians tend to be on the slimmer side. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing — you will gain weight! You’re growing a tiny human, after all. Along with the baby your body is nurturing, your blood volume will increase up to 60%, and your uterus will fill with amniotic fluid.
How much weight you should gain during your pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight. Below is a weight gain guideline — don’t stress if your weight is over or under the recommended amounts. Speak to your doctor with any concerns you might have about your weight gain, and they can guide you in the right direction.
Calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI) and Recommended Weight Gain
First, take your pre-pregnant weight (in pounds) and divide it by your height (in inches) squared; then multiply by 700. The formula is BMI = lb/in2 x 700.
Example: Weight 135 pounds; Height 66 inches (66 inches squared is 4356, i.e. 66×66)
BMI: 135/4356 x 700 = 21.6.
Then, use your BMI to find your pre-pregnancy weight-for-height status and the amount of weight you should try to gain in pregnancy, using the chart below.
Recommended Weight Gain
|BMI||Weight Status||Recommended Weight Gain|
|18.5 to 24.9||Normal weight||25-35 pounds|
|25 to 29.9||Overweight||15-25 pounds|
Remember to keep exercising during your pregnancy. It will help ease pains, make you feel better, and could even help you deliver your baby faster by strengthening various muscles. Consult your doctor before starting any pregnancy exercise program and don’t push yourself too hard. Even a short 15 minute walk or hour of pre-natal yoga will help you tremendously.