Learning About Pregnancy and Obesity

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How does your weight affect your pregnancy?

The basics of prenatal care are the same for everyone, regardless of size. You'll get what you need to have a healthy baby.

But your size can make a difference in a few things. You and your doctor will have to watch your pregnancy weight. Your weight may affect your labor and delivery.

You may have some extra doctor visits and tests. And you may have some tests earlier in your pregnancy. You'll need to pay close attention to things like blood pressure and the chance of getting gestational diabetes. (This is a type of diabetes that sometimes happens during pregnancy.) And close attention will be given to your developing baby.

Work with your doctor to get the care you need. Go to all your doctor visits, and follow your doctor's advice about what to do and what to avoid during pregnancy.

How much weight gain is healthy?

If you are very overweight (obese), experts recommend that you gain between 11 and 20 pounds. Your doctor will work with you to set a weight goal that's right for you. In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you not gain any weight.

How much extra food do you need to eat?

Although you may joke that you're "eating for two" during pregnancy, you don't need to eat twice as much food. How much you can eat depends on:

  • Your height.
  • How much you weigh when you get pregnant.
  • How active you are.
  • How many babies you're carrying.

In the first trimester, you'll probably need the same amount of calories as you did before you were pregnant. In general, in your second trimester, you need to eat about 340 extra calories a day. In your third trimester, you need to eat about 450 extra calories a day.

You can get about 340 calories in a peanut butter sandwich. Having a cup of 1% milk with a peanut butter sandwich is about 450 calories.

What can you do to have a healthy pregnancy?

The best things you can do for you and your baby are to eat healthy foods, get regular exercise, avoid alcohol and smoking, and go to your doctor visits.

  • Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups. Make sure to get enough calcium and folic acid.
  • You may want to work with a dietitian to help you plan healthy meals to get the right amount of calories for you.
  • If you didn't exercise much before you got pregnant, talk to your doctor about how you can slowly get more active. Your doctor may want to set up an exercise program with you.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.