Weight management FAQs

Although you will be putting on weight in pregnancy as your baby grows, limiting the amount of extra weight gain in pregnancy will improve your health and your baby's, both now and in the future.

Managing your weight in pregnancy is not about dieting or trying to lose weight. It's about looking after yourself and your baby by eating healthily and keeping active.

Having a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy can help you feel better, gain the right amount of weight and give your baby a great environment in which to grow.

Who should manage their weight during pregnancy?

Everyone! But it’s especially important to manage your weight during pregnancy if your body mass index (BMI) was 30 or more before you became pregnant. Use our BMI calculator to find out what your current body mass index is.

Read about making a weight management plan here

Why is it important to manage my weight now I'm pregnant?

If you manage your weight by eating well and staying active, it can help you have a healthier pregnancy and a safer birth.

It will also mean you reduce the risks of some health problems for you and your baby.

What is pregnancy weight gain made up of?

There are several different things that contribute to the weight you put on when you are pregnant. These include:

  • Your baby
  • The placenta
  • The amniotic fluid (the water surrounding your baby)
  • Your growing breasts
  • The increased blood you need
  • Extra fat stores
  • Natural fluid retention.

Changes in your body, such as extra fat and increased blood volume, are important for the health of your baby and the pregnancy. This is definitely not the time for dieting.

Weight loss in pregnancy

Don't try to lose weight while you're pregnant as this is not healthy for you or your baby.

If you are overweight, the health professionals looking after you will be aware of this and will help you take steps to eat well and reduce the risks to you and your baby.

If you're worried about putting on weight, bear in mind that much of the weight gain in pregnancy will be lost with the birth of your baby and the placenta. Breastfeeding will also help with weight loss.

If you eat a balanced amount of different foods and stay active, it will keep you feeling well and allow you to control your weight.

Being underweight or overweight when you're pregnant

Everyone needs to manage their weight during pregnancy, but this is even more important if you were overweight or underweight to start with.

So what do you do if you're underweight or overweight when you become pregnant? Or if you are worried about gaining too much, or too little, weight?

Don't worry - this is not uncommon. Lots of women are concerned about their weight during pregnancy and there are plenty of things you can do to manage this. Read making a weight management plan to find out more.

Read more about weight management


1. NICE (2010) Dietary interventions and physical activity interventions for weight management before, during and after pregnancy, Public health guidance 27, 2010

2. Denison F, Norrie G, Graham B et al (2009) Increased maternal BMI is associated with an increased risk of minor complications during pregnancy with consequent cost implications British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2009 116(11):1467-72.

3. Villamore E and Cnattingius S. (2006) Interpregnancy weight change and risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes: a population-based study The Lancet, 2006, 1164. 368(9542):1164-70.

4. Heslelhurst N, Lang R, Rankin J et al. (2007) Obesity in pregnancy: a study of the impact of maternal obesity on NHS maternity services, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2007 Mar;114 (3):334-42.

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Last reviewed on February 1st, 2015. Next review date February 1st, 2018.

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