Mum and baby

Being an unhealthy weight when you become pregnant increases your risk of complications during pregnancy, compared to women who are a healthy weight. In general, a high Body Mass Index (BMI) prior to pregnancy increases the risk of:

  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Emergency caesarean delivery
  • Breast feeding difficulties

Excess weight during pregnancy can also have a negative effect on the health of your child. In particular, it can increase the baby’s likelihood of being born overweight.

While increased weight may pose a risk to you and your baby’s health, restrictive diets and/or heavy exercise are not advised during pregnancy. Instead, we recommend you make some lifestyle changes to improve the health of you and your baby.

Maternal Weight Gain Recommendations

Gaining weight is a natural part of pregnancy. It helps your baby grow and develop, and prepares you for breastfeeding. Only part of the weight that you gain is due to increased body fat – your unborn child, amniotic fluid and increases in maternal blood and fluid volume all contribute. How much weight you should gain depends on your BMI before you became pregnant. To view the recommendations for total weight gain during pregnancy click here.

Gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy has many benefits:

  • it helps your baby have a healthy start
  • it can reduce your risk of complications in pregnancy and at delivery
  • it improves your long-term health

New recommendations for total weight weight gain during pregnancy

The guidelines for pregnancy weight gain are issued by the institute of Medicine. Whilst current UK information is not available, these recommendations could be used as indication of healthy pregnancy weight gain:

New recommendations for total weight weight gain during pregnancy
Pre-pregnancy BMIBMI+ (kg/m²)Total weight gain (lbs)
Underweight <18.5 28-40
Normal weight 18.5-24.9 25-35
Overweight 25.0-29.9 15-25
Obese (includes all classes) >30.0 11-20

Top Tips

There are two things you can do to ensure your weight gain during pregnancy is healthy:

  • Enjoy being active
  • Eat “twice as healthy” not “twice as much”!

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

It is extremely important to eat healthily during your pregnancy because:

  • It supplies your baby with the building blocks needed for healthy growth and development
  • It increases your chances of having a healthy baby
  • It reduces your chances of developing problems like anaemia or high blood pressure during pregnancy
  • It helps to prevent excessive weight gain
  • It helps you to develop healthy eating habits for later in life

Not only is it very important that you eat healthily throughout your pregnancy, but once you have had your baby, it is important that as a family you eat healthily together.

Healthy Start National Scheme

With Healthy Start, you get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins.

If you are Pregnant or have children under the age of four, you could qualify if you're on benefits, or if you're pregnant and under 18. Read more about Healthy Start...

If you are pregnant and were an unhealthy weight prior to your pregnancy, Lose Weight Feel Great would like to help. Call today on 01942 496496 to enrol.(Local call charges apply. The Lose Weight Feel Great telephone line is open 10.00am - 8.00pm Monday to Friday.)

Useful Links

  • My mummy does
    Information on Breastfeeding and Infant Feeding, and information on the services available in Wigan to support Breastfeeding mothers and their families. To contact Wigan Breastfeeding Network Peer Support Service Tel: 01942 777903
  • Healthy start (external link)
    With Healthy Start, you get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins.
  • Start4Life Pack For Health Care Professionals (external link)
    A new Start4Life pack has recently been launched and is available for all health care professionals who work with pregnant women. The pack helps healthcare professionals to encourage parents-to-be to quit smoking and adopt a healthy lifestyle throughout pregnancy and beyond.
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