health canada’s new weight-gain guidelines
Healthy weight gain during pregnancy depends, to some extent, on your weight
pre-pregnancy category* recommended range of total weight gain
Underweight 28-40 12. 5-18
Normal weight 25-35 11. 5-16
Overweight 15-25 7-11. 5
Obese 11-20 5-9
When you’re pregnant, and your
body is going through so many changes,
watching numbers go up on a scale may
not be the first thing you want to focus on.
But healthy weight gain is a fundamental
part of a healthy pregnancy.
Why does pregnancy weight gain vary
so much from woman to woman? And how
much is too much?
Dr. Rhonda Bell, a professor at the
University of Alberta’s Institute for Human
Nutrition, sheds some light on pregnancy
and healthy weight gain.
Why can weight gain during pregnancy differ
so much from woman to woman? Average
weight gain for women during pregnancy
is around 33 pounds ( 15 kilograms) in
Canada. This varies considerably, depend-
ing on your diet, physical activity and
metabolism. Pregnancy is a time when all
systems are revved up to put weight on
in various locations. Some weight goes to
the baby, uterus and amniotic fluid, and
some is deposited where you’re going to
need energy stored for mobilization late
in pregnancy and for lactation.
how can women know how much weight to gain?
The upper weight-gain limit differs with
your pre-pregnancy weight. It’s recommended that women who are underweight
to start with gain more during pregnancy,
and women who are overweight gain less.
The balance is trying to get enough for
a healthy pregnancy and energy for the
infant, balanced with maternal health.
What are the risks of gaining too much weight
during pregnancy? Higher rates of Caesarean sections, pre-maturity and preeclam-sia, and longer and more postpartum
weight retention, which then has implications for mothers for diabetes and heart
disease in later life. Too much weight gain
also increases risk for infections and other
complications of pregnancy, including
hypertension, gestational diabetes, high
birthweight and postpartum weight retention. If you’re underweight and go up to
normal weight, that’s healthy. If you’re
overweight and go up to obese, that’s
associated with long-term health risks.
Why is weight gain so important? One thing
strongly associated with low weight gain
is low birth weight. Low birth weight
is associated with a high rate of illness,
disease and death in newborns.
Keep track of your weight and keep in
touch with your doctor to make sure you
(and your baby) are growing on track.
How much weight should you gain
By NICOLE POINTON
What are some general dietary guidelines for
It’s really important to have a balance of food and food groups. you
definitely need carbs during pregnancy. The big thing is doing your best
to cut out junk food. Good sources of protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates are important. The fat recommendations are identical to those for
women who aren’t pregnant. N- 3 fatty acids — fish oils, flax, sunflower
oils — are important to maternal health. The Canada Food Guide will tell
you which foods to eat and which to avoid. The other thing to remember
is portion sizes. you’re not eating for two, but for one and a tiny bit.
*For more information, visit Health canada at hc-sc.gc.ca and search for gestational weight gain,
or call Healthlink Alberta at 1-866-408-liNk (5465)
are based on Body Mass
Index (BMI) scale.