Weight during pregnancy

Pregnancy isn’t the time to try to lose weight. But it isn’t the time to eat more, either. Don’t believe the ‘eating for two’ message – it’s a myth

Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of problems in pregnancy. While pregnancy isn’t the time for a weight-loss diet, it is a good time to adopt a healthy diet, so swap unhealthy foods for healthier options and try to keep active

BMI, or body mass index, uses your height and weight to estimate your body fat – for most people, a BMI between 25 and 30 shows they’re overweight, and a BMI over 30 is taken as obese

If your BMI is under 20, your midwife will discuss this with you. Being underweight can increase the risk of problems in pregnancy - if you have any concerns ask for advice and help

The advice for pregnancy is simple

  • You don’t need to eat for two. Even during the last few months of pregnancy a woman only needs an extra 200 calories a day (two slices of wholemeal toast or an apple and a banana, for example)
  • Try to do 150 minutes or more of moderate physical activity, such as walking, every week, right up until the baby is born. Build up to daily exercise if you’re not used to it. (If there are health reasons why you shouldn't exercise, talk to your midwife)
  • If you're already overweight, you don’t need to put on more weight in pregnancy


These short films on what to eat and keeping active were produced for Our Chance, a campaign by the charities Sands and Best Beginnings to raise awareness of health issues in pregnancy
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