Having a baby when you're overweight puts you at an added risk of complications such as gestational diabetes, but it doesn't mean that you can't have a healthy child. Here, advice from the authors of the new book Carrying A Little Extra: A Guide to Healthy Pregnancy for the Plus-Size Woman.
- Watch weight gain. A woman is overweight if her body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 30, and obese if it is over 30. (Visit www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bminojs.htm to calculate your BMI.) Heavy women should gain between 15 and 25 pounds during pregnancy -- a few pounds in the first trimester and 2 to 3 each month after that.
- Eat right. It's essential to make smart nutritional choices: Get your daily dose of 1,000 milligrams of calcium from nonfat yogurt and skim milk-not ice cream. While it's okay to give into cravings sometimes, aim to have a daily diet that also includes 60 grams of protein, 25 to 35 grams of fiber (whole wheat carbs are a good option), and lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Get fit for labor. Swimming, yoga, and walking are easy ways to get moving and can help you have a healthier pregnancy. (Discuss all exercise plans with your doctor.)
- See your doctor regularly. Stay in touch with your ob/gyn about any concerns you have, take your prenatal vitamin daily, and remember that what your baby needs most now is for you to take good care of yourself.