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Obesity and Pregnancy

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How does your weight affect your pregnancy?

Most pregnant women have healthy babies—and that includes women who are obese. But being very heavy does increase the chance of problems.

Babies born to mothers who are obese have a higher risk of:

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  • Birth defects, such as a heart defect or neural tube defects.
  • Being too large. This can cause problems during labor and delivery.

Mothers who are obese have a higher risk of:

If you're not pregnant already, being obese can make it hard to get pregnant.

These are scary problems, and it's common to worry about your and your baby's health. But being obese doesn't mean that you will have these problems. You can do a lot to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

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.

Should you try to lose weight during pregnancy?

No. Pregnancy is not the time to lose weight. Your baby needs you to eat a well-rounded diet. Don't cut out food groups or go on any type of weight-loss diet.

How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?

Experts recommend that obese women gain between 11 and 20 pounds.1 Your doctor will work with you to set a weight goal that's right for you. In some cases, a doctor may recommend that a woman not gain any weight.

Although pregnant women often joke that they're "eating for two," you don't need to eat twice as much food. In general, pregnant women need to eat about 300 extra calories a day. You can get this in a sandwich or in an apple and a cup of yogurt.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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