Pregnancy is not a time to diet. You will need to increase the calories you consume as your baby develops. “Eating for two” is a common saying during pregnancy and it means your baby eats what you eat, so quality is important – it doesn’t mean you need to eat two of everything! It is important that the weight you gain during your pregnancy is kept within a healthy limit – this will lower your risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery.
Health Canada recommends the following guidelines for weight gain in pregnancy. These guidelines are based on your pre-pregnancy BMI (Body Mass Index) which takes into account your height and weight. To calculate your pre-pregnancy BMI, use the calculator below; then determine your weight gain limits from the graph.
Calculate your BMI below.
When you gain too much weight during pregnancy, you have an increased risk of Caesarean section, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. It is also harder to lose the weight after delivery, which can lead to long-term health problems and obesity. Excessive weight gain puts your baby in danger of being born too early, or too large and increases the baby’s risk of birth defects, including neural tube defects.
Gaining too little weight during pregnancy increases the risk of pre-term delivery or your baby being born with low birth weight. Low birth weight babies are more susceptible to physical and developmental problems throughout their life. While it may be hard to gain weight at a steady pace in the first few months if you are suffering from morning sickness, once you enter your second trimester, the nausea will most likely have settled down and resuming a normal, healthy diet will be much easier.
Refer to the Canadian Gestational Weight Gain Recommendations