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Diet Plans for Overweight Pregnant Women

by
author image Erica Jacques
Erica Jacques is an occupational therapist and freelance writer with more than 15 years of combined experience. Jacques has been published on Mybackpaininfo.com and various other websites, and in "Hope Digest." She earned an occupational therapy degree from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, giving her a truly global view of health and wellness.
Diet Plans for Overweight Pregnant Women
Diet Plans for Overweight Pregnant Women Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Women must gain weight during their pregnancy to support their developing baby, but weight gain recommendations vary based on a woman’s size prior to pregnancy. Women who are overweight may be advised to gain less than their slimmer counterparts. Overweight pregnant women still require extra nutrients for their babies, making following a healthy eating plan crucial.

Weight Gain Recommendations

Diet Plans for Overweight Pregnant Women
How much weight a woman should gain depends on her prepregnancy weight. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

With few exceptions, women are expected to gain weight during their pregnancy, because their bodies must be able to support a baby’s growth. However, how much weight a woman should gain depends on her prepregnancy weight. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises that overweight women, or those with a BMI of 25 to 29.9, should gain around 10 pounds less than the average woman, or between 15 and 25 pounds. In contrast, an obese woman with a BMI of over 30 should only gain between 11 and 20 pounds for her entire pregnancy.

Dieting and Pregnancy

Diet Plans for Overweight Pregnant Women
Adopt a healthy eating plan that includes many nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods. Photo Credit Tay Jnr/Digital Vision/Getty Images

While 15 pounds might not seem like much, the March of Dimes recommends that overweight pregnant women not try to diet in order to keep weight gain minimal. This caution refers to fad diets and excessive calorie restriction. What they should do, however, is adopt a healthy eating plan that includes many nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods. While it may be tempting to aim low, overweight pregnant women should aim close to their recommended daily caloric intake throughout their pregnancy.

Foods to Eat

Diet Plans for Overweight Pregnant Women
Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are high on the list for overweight pregnant women. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are high on the list for overweight pregnant women. They generally contain vital nutrients for pregnancy, such as folic acid, vitamin C and iron. They are also low in calories but filling. Try a fresh spinach salad with a slice of whole-wheat toast, or apple wedges mixed with berries for a satisfying but healthy snack. In addition, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products are important sources of both protein and calcium. Low-fat Greek yogurt, baked chicken breast and green beans are healthy choices for overweight pregnant women. Oils and sugars are not completely off the list, but you should limit their quantities.

Portion Sizes

Learning to measure portion sizes is an important skill for any pregnant woman, especially one who is overweight. A serving of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards, and a serving of bread is a single slice. The serving size of vegetables and dairy is 1 cup, while that of fruit is 1/2 cup. Women who pay attention to their serving sizes can potentially avoid eating too much, even of a good thing.

Other Advice

Diet Plans for Overweight Pregnant Women
Try using less salad dressing, or cooking with olive oil spray instead of butter. Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

Because it can be difficult to drastically change eating habits once you find out you are pregnant, instead focusing on controlling portions and intake by simply by giving up the extras. Try using less salad dressing, or cooking with olive oil spray instead of butter. Switch to whole-wheat pasta and substitute fruits for higher fat, sugary desserts. Treats are still OK from time to time, but instead of eating a whole slice of cake, try a smaller sliver instead and savor the taste.

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