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What should I do if I have gestational diabetes? (Cont'd)

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Maintain a healthy weight gain

What is it?

Healthy weight gain can mean either your overall weight gain, or your weekly rate of weight gain. Some health care providers focus only on overall gain or only on weekly gain, but some keep track of both types of weight gain. First, let's look at overall weight gain.

The amount of weight gain that is healthy for you depends on how much you weighed before you were pregnant. Find your pre-pregnancy weight and height in the table below. Then look at the bottom row of the table to find your overall healthy weight gain goal.

If you are expecting twins, an overall weight gain of 35 to 45 pounds 7 is considered healthy.

Remember that these goals are only a general range for overall weight gain. Your health care provider will let you know if you're gaining too much or too little weight for a healthy pregnancy. Weight loss can be dangerous during any part of your pregnancy. Report any weight loss to your health care provider right away.

OVERALL WEIGHT GAIN GOALS (by pre-pregnancy height and weight) 8

# You may also fall into this category if you are a teenager or if you smoke.
* The weight gain goal for women in this category may range from 40 to 45 pounds.

Height (without shoes) Weight Status Category (weight in pounds, in light, indoor clothing)
A # B C D
4 feet 9 inches 92 or less 93-113 114-134 135 or more
4 feet 10 inches 94 or less 95-117 118-138 139 or more
4 feet 11 inches 97 or less 98-120 121-142 143 or more
5 feet 100 or less 101-123 124-146 147 or more
5 feet 1 inch 103 or less 104-127 128-150 151 or more
5 feet 2 inches 106 or less 107-131 132-155 156 or more
5 feet 3 inches 109 or less 110-134 135-159 160 or more
5 feet 4 inches 113 or less 114-140 141-165 166 or more
5 feet 5 inches 117 or less 118-144 145-170 171 or more
5 feet 6 inches 121 or less 122-149 150-176 177 or more
5 feet 7 inches 124 or less 125-153 154-181 182 or more
5 feet 8 inches 128 or less 129-157 158-186 187 or more
5 feet 9 inches 131 or less 132-162 163-191 192 or more
5 feet 10 inches 135 or less 136-166 167-196 197 or more
5 feet 11 inches 139 or less 140-171 172-202 203 or more
6 feet 142 or less 143-175 176-207 208 or more
Your overall
weight gain
goal is:
35-40* 30-35 22-27 15-20

Why do I have to do it?

Usually, people gain weight because the amount of fuel they take in, as food, is higher than the amount they use up, as energy. When you have gestational diabetes, if you gain too much weight, gain weight too quickly, or begin to lose weight, your body may be telling you something is wrong. Because your body's insulin isn't working well already, your condition can get out of control quickly if you gain too much weight, or if you gain weight too quickly.

How do I do it?

You already learned two useful ways to maintain a healthy weight gain: eating a healthy diet as outlined by your health care provider, and getting regular, moderate physical activity.

If you think your weight gain is out-of-control, but you are following a recommended diet and physical activity program, tell your health care provider. He or she will adjust your treatment plan to get your weight gain back into healthy range.

When do I do it?

It's a good idea to keep track of how much weight you gain from the time you learn you are pregnant to the time you have the baby. Knowing your weight status can help your health care provider detect possible problems before they become dangerous.

It's also a good idea to weigh yourself on the same day of the week and at the same time of day. Your health care provider can make a schedule for you so you know how often to weigh yourself and at what time of day. You will also be weighed at your prenatal appointments.

How do I know that I'm doing it right?

One way to determine if your overall weight gain is within the healthy range is to follow your weekly rate of weight gain. The table below gives some general guidelines for weekly rate of weight gain.

Some health care providers feel that your weekly rate of gain is just as important as your overall weight gain because it shows how well your treatment plan is working to control your gestational diabetes. If your weekly rate of gain is low, you might need to adjust your diet to get more calories. If your weekly rate of gain is high, you may be developing a condition called preeclampsia, which can be dangerous. (See the section titled Your health care provider might also ask you to: Have your blood pressure checked as indicated for more information about preeclampsia.)

WEEKLY RATE OF WEIGHT GAIN

Aim to keep your weekly rate of weight gain within these healthy ranges:

In the first trimester of pregnancy: (the first 3 months) Three-to-six pounds for the entire three months.
During the second and third trimesters: (the last 6 months) Between 1/2 and one (1) pound each week.
If you gained too much weight early in the pregnancy Limit weight gain to 3/4 of a pound each week (3 pounds each month) to help get your blood sugar level under control.

A weight gain of two (2) pounds or more each week is considered high.

Keep in mind that your weekly rate of weight gain may go up and down throughout the course of your pregnancy. Some weeks you may gain weight, other weeks you won't; as a result, your weekly rate of gain may not match your overall weight gain goal exactly. Your health care provider will let you know if you're gaining too much or too little weight for a healthy pregnancy. Weight loss can be dangerous during any part of your pregnancy. Report any weight loss to your health care provider right away.

You may also notice that your weight gain slows down or stops for a time. It should start going up again after one-to-two weeks. If not, tell your health care provider immediately. He or she may need to adjust your treatment plan.

Are there any other ways I can maintain a healthy weight gain?

Some general guidelines 10 that might help you reach your target weekly rate of gain include:

  • Try to get more light or moderate physical activity, if your health care provider says it's safe.
  • Use the Nutrition Facts labels on food packages to make lower-calorie food choices that fit into your meal plan.
  • Eat fewer fried foods and "fast" foods.
  • Eat healthy foods that fit into your meal plan, such as salads with low-fat dressings and broiled or grilled chicken.
  • Use less butter and margarine on food, or don't use them at all.
  • Use spices and herbs (such as curry, garlic, and parsley) and low-fat or lower calorie sauces to flavor rice and pasta.
  • Eat smaller meals and have low-calorie snacks more often, to ensure that your body has a constant glucose supply, and to prevent yourself from getting very hungry.
  • Avoid skipping meals or cutting back too much on breakfast or lunch. Eating less food or skipping meals could make you overly hungry at the next meal, causing you to overeat.

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Last Updated Date: 10/08/2010
Last Reviewed Date: 10/08/2010
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology