Managing your weight while you are pregnant is not always easy. Knowing how much weight gain and what you can do to keep active is helpful.
Hypertension, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and the need for an induced birth are all risks of gaining too much weight or being overweight in pregnancy, but there are many things you can do to help.
Weight gain in pregnancy
Exercise & physical activity
Pregnancy risks if you are overweight
What can you do?
You need to be aware of your weight and what is a healthy weight gain during pregnancy.
Weight control while pregnant is not about dieting and weight loss. Some women may lose weight early on because of morning sickness and nausea but there should always be a gradual weight gain in pregnancy.
Often women feel unsure about how much weight they should gain in pregnancy and at what rate. Many women end up gaining too much weight during pregnancy. This puts them at risk of coming of not getting back to their pre-pregnancy weight, which increases their risk of short and long-term health problems.
There are no specific guidelines for healthy weight gain in pregnancy in Australia. The average weight gain is 11.5-16kg in women who are in the healthy weight range before they become pregnant.
There are some important messages to think about, including:
There are also risks to your baby with excessive weight gain in pregnancy such as:
Some simple things to help you curb your weight gain are:
Sometimes a greater than expected weight gain and accompanying tiredness causes women to reduce or even avoid being active. Sometimes women worry about the effects of exercise on their baby.
There are many benefits to be gained from low impact physical activities such as walking, swimming, aqua-aerobics or specific pregnancy exercise classes including:
Unless otherwise advised by your doctor, physical activity can be started or maintained during pregnancy, as long as you adjust your physical activity to suit your stage of pregnancy. Try to include 30 minutes of activity each day.
After the birth of your baby, being active will help to get your body back into shape and help alleviate some of the mental stress of coping with a new baby.
Being overweight increases the risk of pregnancy complications and health problems for the baby.
Risks associated with being overweight in pregnancy include:
|Risk factor||Risk for overweight women|
High blood pressure that develops with pregnancy.
Increase in blood pressure with fluid retention and protein in the urine that restricts the flow of blood to the placenta.
A form of diabetes diagnosed when higher than normal blood glucose levels first appear during pregnancy.
Overweight women have twice the risk of gestational diabetes and obese women eight times the risk, compared with women of healthy weight.
Blood clots in the arteries that typically start in the legs and can break loose and travel to the lungs.
Thromboembolic disease is more common in women who are overweight.
Including urinary tract and at birth.
Women who are obese have a greater than average chance of developing or resisting infections.
|Need for induction of labour|
Bringing on the birth of the baby early.
Birth via a Caesarean section operation.
A baby may have died during pregnancy, labour or at birth.
Defect present from before birth
There is a higher risk of birth defects for the babies of overweight women
|Neonatal intensive care|
For newborn babies who are premature or ill
This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at March 2014.