Many non- pregnant women constantly worry about their weight, but pregnancy appears to be a carefree time for most as the perceived notion is to eat for two and enjoy pregnancy.

The fact of the matter is that most women irrespective of their body weights will have normal pregnancies and healthy babies. However, being overweight does increase your risk of complications during pregnancy. So one should always keep an eye on the scales especially if you are already on the bigger side before pregnancy.

We use a parameter called as the Basal Metabolic index (BMI) to categorize a person’s weight in relation to her height. A healthy person should have a BMI between 18.5- 25. If her BMI is between 25-29.9, she is overweight or obese if her BMI is 30 or more. All pregnant women are recommended to have their BMI calculated at their first pregnancy check-up. The risk of pregnancy complications increases in direct proportion to your BMI being more than 30. Higher the BMI, higher is the anticipated complications during and after pregnancy.

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The common problems which are anticipated during pregnancy with a BMI of more than 30 are:

1) Higher likelihood of diabetes during pregnancy.

2) Higher likelihood of developing high blood pressure, leg clots and proteins in the urine.

3) Higher likelihood of urinary and vaginal infections, vaginal discharge and rashes.

4) Medical research suggests that babies conceived to obese mothers have higher chances of developing certain congenital malformations, miscarriages, big sized babies and diabetes later on in life.

There could also be some issues during labour and delivery in terms of increased blood loss, difficult deliveries, infections, shoulders of the baby getting stuck etc. The important issue is to keep your BMI as close to the healthy range as possible.

To minimize extra weight gain during pregnancy, always eat healthy food but never for two people. Pregnancy is not the time for weight loss and dieting as this can harm your baby. Make healthy food choices with inclusion of whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet. Cut down on empty calories like starchy food, sugars, pastry, biscuits, colas etc. It is recommended that pregnant women take at least 3 main meals and 2-3 snacks per day with the aim that the total calorie increase should be around 200-300 calories from the non pregnant levels.

Light to moderate exercises are fine in pregnancy and 30 min of exercise 3-4 times a week is the recommendation. Also please do not forget to take adequate amount of Folic acid and vitamin D supplementation throughout your pregnancy.