Weight tracking during pregnancy can be a helpful way to check in on your general health. Some people may find it comforting while others find it overwhelming. No matter what your feelings are, they are completely valid. Keep reading to learn about some safe and effective ways to track your weight during pregnancy.
A “healthy” weight depends on a few factors including medical history, lifestyle choices, and personal preferences. The Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends gaining between 11 and 40 lbs. during pregnancy. This number will vary based on your pre-pregnancy weight. Here’s how most providers calculate pre-pregnancy weight*:
|BMI class||BMI||Healthy weight gain range (lbs.)|
|Underweight||Under 18.5||28-40 (12.7-18 kg)|
|Normal||18.5-24.9||25-35 (11-16 kg)|
|Overweight||25-29.9||15-25 (7-11 kg)|
|Obese||30+||11-20 (5-9 kg)|
*The terms “underweight,” “normal,” “overweight,” and “obese” are the CDC’s attempt to categorize and simplify the calculations. These words do not reflect your character or value.
Focus on your physical health
People who are pregnant in bigger bodies may be more likely to face certain medical conditions. While this isn’t true for everyone, it’s still a good idea to be aware of what might come up throughout pregnancy. Some of the most common obstacles are related to hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure. Here are the top three types of hypertension, all of which can be tracked independent of weight:
- Chronic hypertension, which is high blood pressure that is diagnosed either before pregnancy or 20 weeks in. If you’re looking for ways to reduce the impact of hypertension on your pregnancy, tracking your blood pressure is a great place to start
- Gestational diabetes, which is the onset of diabetes during pregnancy and usually occurs in the second trimester. Luckily there are many ways to prevent and/or treat gestational diabetes besides tracking your weight, including increasing your daily movement.
- Preeclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure, certain proteins in urine, and sometimes additional factors. Similarly to gestational diabetes, there are ways to lower your risk of preeclampsia.
Keep track of your emotional health
Some people feel burdened or triggered when they focus on their weight. This may be especially true for those who have experienced an eating or food-related disorder. If that is your experience, pay extra attention to what feels comfortable and manageable for you. This may mean working with a trusted provider, doing some self reflection, or both. Whatever you choose, try to be kind and gentle with yourself.
Consider alternative methods
Because weight isn’t the only indicator of health, it’s a good idea to keep track of other factors of your overall well-being. Some examples include:
- Hydration: Staying hydrated helps with morning sickness, heartburn, and indigestion.
- Emotions: You can track your emotions daily to learn about your thought patterns and how to boost your mood.
- Symptoms: Hormonal changes cause many of the pregnancy symptoms that can impact how you feel day-to-day.
- Sleep: Getting enough rest impacts your physical, emotional, and mental health. Try your best to pay attention to the amount, and quality, of sleep you get each night.
Use your support network
While weight tracking during pregnancy can be useful, support is just as important. Whether you’re sharing your experience with a friend, provider, or partner, it’s great to have a team behind you.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- “Weight Gain During Pregnancy. Pregnancy, Maternal and Infant Health.” Center for Disease and Control. May 26, 2021. www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-weight -gain.htm.
- “Pregnancy weight gain: What’s healthy?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. January 4, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-weight-gain/art-20044360.