A woman’s nutrition is key to having a good pregnancy. Being overweight can lead to health risks.
Not all women gain weight the same way while they are pregnant. When it comes to weight gain for all mothers, however, her size and maternal pre-pregnancy nutritional status should be accounted for. Together these two factors are referred to as the Body Mass Index (BMI). Determining whether a woman is overweight therefore depends on each woman. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is common among healthy women who have a lower risk of giving birth to a newborn with a low birth weight or with a birth weight that is higher than average.
As UNICEF points out, being underweight or obese are two situations that pose a threat to their pregnancy. During pregnancy, the need for energy increases. It is therefore important for mothers to get a nutritional assessment to establish a management plan from their first check-up appointment. The popular belief that a pregnant woman “must eat for two,” should actually go under medical advice to prevent any adverse effects from arising. The idea that expecting mothers should gain two pounds a month is also a myth, as there is no single formula for all. As UNICEF stresses, while for some, two pounds a month can be a lot, for others it may not be enough.
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