Can You Gain Too Much Weight When You’re Pregnant? Experts Explain

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During a typical pregnancy, weight gain is expected. The added pounds are a necessary part of that 40 week (more or less) journey, essentially reminding you that your baby is growing and thriving. And while “eating for two” is an often regurgitated trope, a balanced diet is ideal when ensuring you and your baby are fully nourished. But can you gain too much weight when you’re pregnant? While it’s your body, and how and what you eat is always your decision, experts do have some guidelines pregnant people should consider following.

Board certified OB-GYN and Rowe Telemedicine Network provider, Dr. Sameena Rahman, tells Romper via email that pregnant women can gain too much weight. “The old adage of ‘eating for two’ is actually incorrect. Our guidelines are based on the Institute of Medicine and studies that have demonstrated an adverse impact on pregnancy outcomes,” Rahman says. According to a 2015 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half of pregnant women in the U.S. put on too much weight throughout their pregnancy. The study, which consisted of more than 3 million pregnant women between 2012 and 2013, compared height with pre-pregnancy weight and post-pregnancy weight (of 37 weeks or more) within 46 states, including the District of Columbia. The results proved that pregnant women who gained “too much” weight were at increased risk “for macrosomia, postpartum weight retention, future maternal obesity, and possibly future childhood obesity.”

Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG and Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, Bronx, New York, tells Romper via email that obesity is a risk to both mother and baby because it, “increases incidence of gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders, and the risk of having a large baby — and all the attendant risks which go along with that — like shoulder dystocia, or increased need for cesarean delivery.” She goes on to add that “obesity in the postpartum period for a woman who has had a cesarean confers an increased risk for wound infections. So, yes. Too much weight gain can be a peril to pregnancies.”

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Ashley Batz/Romper

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