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Health in Pregnancy Support Service

Eating a healthy diet and being physically active is especially important in pregnancy as your unborn baby has to get everything it needs to grow and develop from you.

Many women’s weight will be higher or lower than the health range when they become pregnant, and this can affect the pregnancy as well as the women’s general health.

Weight gain in pregnancy

It is important to accept that you are going to put some weight on in pregnancy, although this is normal you may be concerned about this. The normal changes in the body during pregnancy, plus growing baby can add an average weight gain of around 11kg (24 lbs)

The table below shows the recommended weight gain for the whole pregnancy based on your BMI. You should expect most of the weight gain to happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.


BMI at Beginning of Pregnancy

Recommended Total Weight Gain

18 or less

12.5 - 18 kg (28 - 40 lbs)

19 - 25

11.5 - 16 kg (26 - 36 lbs)

26 - 29

7.0 - 11.5 kg (15 - 25 lbs)

30 or more

7.0 kg (15 lbs)

The more weight you put on above the recommended amount in pregnancy, the more weight you will be left carrying after the birth of the baby. Importantly, excess weight gain can also increases the risks to you and your baby during the pregnancy and the birth.

It is not recommended that you try to diet during pregnancy, but you should try to eat healthily and be as active as you can.

What are the problems with being overweight in pregnancy?

If you have a high BMI in pregnancy (especially if it is higher than 30), you have an increased chance of the following problems:

  • High blood pressure
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Diabetes (some women can become diabetic just during pregnancy)
  • Anaesthetic complications
  • Having an abnormally big baby
  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs (especially in the few weeks after the birth)

Although the chances of these problems are increased, it is important to remember that most women with a low or high BMI have normal, healthy babies and pregnancies.

When you see your midwife or doctor during the pregnancy, they will be checking you and the baby to try to detect whether any of these complications are developing. If you are worried, speak to the midwife or doctor and they will be able to explain these things in more detail.

Health in Pregnancy Support Service

If your midwife is concerned they will refer you to the Health in Pregnancy Support Service.  This service offers 1:1 home visits ante-natally and is tailored to your needs and stage in pregnancy.  The Support Worker will also see you post-natally when they can refer you to the other Office of Public Health Services

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