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From the time women start trying to get pregnant and onwards, the focus is on their weight. Are you overweight? Too skinny? You'll probably be told to lose weight or gain some if you go for a preconception medical checkup. If you are already expecting your bundle of joy, expect to be weighed at every single prenatal appointment (though not every healthcare provider does this, most do). You are likely to be asked about your weight more than about your eating habits. But... does weight gain during pregnancy matter? Really?

The skinnier you are when you get pregnant, the more weight you are expected to gain while your baby grows. In real terms, this means 28 to 40 pounds for women who have a BMI of 18.5 and under, between 15 and 35 pounds for those with a BMI up to 25, and those with a BMI of 30 and over have a recommended weight gain of 11 to 20 pounds. That means pregnant women eat around 200 to 300 calories more than those women who are not pregnant. Weight gain does matter. Too little, and the health of your baby can be compromised. Too much, and problems like gestational diabetes can enter the picture.

However, what you eat matters a whole lot more than your actual weight gain or lack thereof. I weigh 221 pounds and gained about 15 pounds more during each of my pregnancies weight that disappeared as soon as I gave birth (which doesn't mean there was no extra skin!). My OB was concerned initially, but I ate very healthily and quite a lot of it too, thanks! Pregnancy is not the time to go on a weight loss diet. We do have some tips to prevent too much pregnancy weight gain, but the key is always healthy eating. Exercise, too, benefits women and their babies throughout pregnancy, unless you are on bed rest of course.

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