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Preconception Care and Pregnancy Weight Gain

Even if you or your significant other is not pregnant, but you plan to be, start focusing on your/his medical and nutritional health early. Obtain preconception care with a midwife, or obstetrician, and a registered dietitian. Why? Preconception care can help lower the risk for complications during pregnancy and delivery, as well as reduce the risk for infant mortality and low-birth weight. Specifically, it can ensure mom is at a healthy weight prior to becoming pregnant. Why is this important? Not only does mom's weight prior to pregnancy impact her and baby's health, it impacts the amount of weight she is advised to gain during pregnancy.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) provides their recommendation for weight gain during pregnancy based on mom's preconception body mass index (BMI). Body Mass Index is a calculation of estimated body fat based upon weight and height.

Institute of Medicine's updated recommendations emphasize the importance of adequate preconception care and its role in ensuring mom's BMI status falls within a healthy range of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2 prior to conception.

Below are current recommendations by the Institute of Medicine for Total and Rate of Weight Gain of Pregnancy (by BMI):

Underweight (BMI= <18.5 kg/m2)- 28-40 pounds total, with 1 pound per week*


Healthy Weight (BMI= 18.5-24.9 kg/m2)- 25-35 pounds total, with 1 pound per week*


Overweight (BMI= 25.0-29.9 kg/m2)- 15-25 pounds total, with 0.6 pound per week*


Severely Overweight (BMI= >30.0 kg/m2)- 11-20 pounds total, with 0.5 pound per week*

*During 2nd and 3rd trimesters if 1.1-4.4 pounds were gained during the 1st trimester.