A Low Glycemic Diet for Optimal Pregnancy Weight

Learn how to manage your pregnancy weight gain with a low glycemic diet.

| August 2013

Optimal Pregnancy Weight

Pregnant women instructed to follow a low GI diet gained significantly less weight during pregnancy than those given no dietary advice.

Photo By Fotolia/pojoslaw

The Low GI Eating Plan for an Optimal Pregnancy (The Experiment, 2012)—written by the world's leading experts on the glycemic index (GI), Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller, Dr. Kate Marsh and Dr. Robert Moses—will help you to clearly understand the connection between the food you eat, your blood glucose levels and your baby's future health. In this excerpt from chapter 4, “Ideal Weight Gain,” discover the average weight gain during pregnancy and how a low glycemic diet can assist you with your optimal pregnancy weight goals.

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: The Low GI Eating Plan for an Optimal Pregnancy.

Ideal Weight Gain

This chapter doesn’t beat around the bush. Pregnancy is a time when many women gain more than enough. Traditionally, dietary advice for pregnancy has focused on making sure there’s adequate intake of all the essential nutrients. That’s not surprising, considering the fact that the requirements for many nutrients are higher than at any other time in life. Unfortunately, weight gain during pregnancy, despite its importance, is not given the emphasis that it deserves. In this chapter, we show you how to calculate your ideal weight gain (depending on your height and pre-pregnancy weight), and how to monitor and keep it under your control.

As a routine part of care, many obstetric care providers will keep an eye on your weight gain, but most will steer away from discussing it for fear of causing embarrassment or needless anxiety. Women will often discuss the subject among themselves, especially if it’s faster and greater than they expected. Many will tell you that even after the birth, they retained a few pounds, and found them difficult to budge. While their experience is common, we want to assure you that weight gain during pregnancy is under your control and, indeed, it’s good practice for you to monitor it yourself, so that you gain the ideal, or optimal, amount.

Okay, so what’s ideal? The optimal amount of weight gain over pregnancy is one that results in a “desirable pregnancy outcome.” That means a healthy baby, born at full term (about forty weeks, or nine months plus one week, gestation) with a birth weight of 6–9 pounds. In women from affluent countries like the United States, who start pregnancy weighing 140–160 pounds, the average weight gain over pregnancy is about 28 pounds, and the average infant birth weight is 7 pounds, 8 ounces. But these are averages only. You’ll be pleased to hear that there’s a range of weight gains that are considered ideal. The desired amount depends to a large extent on your pre-pregnant weight. For a woman who is underweight, a higher weight gain is desirable, while an overweight mom should gain less.

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