Being underweight during pregnancy increases the risk of delivering an underweight baby and also premature birth. Your doctor may recommend a multivitamin supplement that is suitable for pregnancy, including folic acid, vitamin D and Iron. He/She may also advise you to eat healthy, extra calories to put on weight.
When thinking about what to eat to gain weight, choose foods that are high in healthy fats, such as fish, chicken, nuts and unsaturated fats such as oils and spreads made from sunflower or olive oil. Cakes, sweets and sugary drinks may make you put on weight but have very little nutrition in them for you or your baby so try not to rely on these to gain weight.
Some of the effective tips for healthy weight gain during pregnancy include:
- Do not skip meals. Try to consume small meals at frequent time intervals.
- Keep some snacks handy all the time, like nuts, dried fruits, biscuits and raisins.
- While eating toasted bread spread a small amount of peanut butter on them. Peanut butter is rich in calories and is a healthy option for pregnant mothers.
- Add a spoon of butter to your meals to increase your calorie intake.
- Drink fruit juices that are rich in vitamin C, such as orange, grapes, papaya, lemon or carrot.
- Avoid eating junk or oily foods. It may increase your blood cholesterol level and lead to pregnancy complexities.
- As prescribed by your doctor, take prenatal vitamins and other medical supplements.
Underweight women are at a higher risk of miscarriage, during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some of the other underweight pregnancy risks include:
- An increased risk of preterm delivery or the infant born with a low birth weight.
- It also increases the possibility of pregnancy complications like obstetric surgical interventions.
Underweight women are at a greater risk of miscarriage, but having a healthy diet and reducing stress when pregnant may lower risk.
Being overweight during pregnancy can cause complications for you and your baby. The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have pregnancy complications. If you are overweight, your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9. You should talk to the doctor regarding how much weight to gain during pregnancy, but do not ever try to lose weight at that time. Eating healthy and regular exercising will help you control how much weight you gain.
If you are overweight during pregnancy, you are more likely to have these complications:
- High blood pressure
- Preeclampsia that can happen after the 20th week of pregnancy or right after pregnancy.
- Blood clotting
- Gestational diabetes
- Being pregnant past your due date and problems during labour and birth.
- Caesarean birth
- Trouble losing weight after giving birth.
- Infections like urinary tract infections.
- Sleep disorder called Sleep Apnea.
- Having longer labour and needing to have your labour induced.
- Problems with breastfeeding.
If you are overweight during pregnancy, your baby is more likely to have these conditions:
- Premature birth
- Birth defects
- Diabetes, heart disease and obesity later in life
- When a baby is large, it can cause complications during labour and birth, including injury himself/herself
Underweight and overweight women are more likely than those of normal weight to have a preterm delivery, but their risk of most complications of pregnancy and other outcomes is no greater than that of normal-weight women.