Diet Plans For Overweight Pregnant Women - Everything You Need To Know

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Gaining a little weight during pregnancy is normal and, in fact, healthy. But excessive weight gain can be alarming. To avoid or manage such a situation, you could try following some diet plans for overweight pregnant women to help maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.

While preparing a food chart for pregnancy, you should include foods from all the major food groups while controlling your calorie intake. An abnormal weight gain during pregnancy invites complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and even depression. These issues can take a toll on both your and the baby’s health.

In this post, we have provided some healthy food choices to include in your pregnancy diet, including tips to make delicious yet balanced meals.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

A considerate weight gain during pregnancy is important for your health and the development of the little one in your womb. A woman who enjoys a normal weight should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Underweight women should gain 28 to 40 pounds while overweight women should gain only 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy (1).

So, if you were overweight already, try to keep a close tab on your weight gain during these nine months. Despite aiming at gaining less weight, your pregnancy diet plan must consist of all the essential nutrients and minerals, for proper nourishment of your baby.

During pregnancy, you are bound to gain weight due to numerous factors that include the following:

  • Increasing baby weight
  • Increased blood supply
  • Stored fat for breastfeeding

Pregnancy Diet Plan For Overweight Women

If you need to keep an eye on the weighing scale while expecting, you must cut down on your unhealthy calorie consumption. By including nutrient-rich and low-calorie foods, you can remain healthy and disease-free. The diet plan for overweight pregnancy can consist of several small meals at regular intervals of time. Remember, you need to maintain your recommended calorie intake and plan your meals accordingly. Here are some of the superfoods that your pregnancy diet plan should include if you are overweight:

  • Low-fat yogurt or milk.
  • Roasted or baked foods, instead of unhealthy fried ones.
  • Fresh vegetable and fruit salads.
  • Homemade foods, which are far better than the high-calorie junk or processed foods.
  • Your breakfast should consist of healthy cereals like brown bread, brown rice or whole wheat bread.
  • Lean proteins are a must-have for you.

Important Dietary Tips For Overweight Pregnant Woman

Here are a few simple tips that can help you regulate your weight gain during pregnancy:

  • As it would be difficult for you to change your eating habits drastically, you can try and limit the portion size of the foods you consume.
  • Use olive oil or low-fat butter instead of normal cooking oil. Excess fat consumption can adversely affect your health and the growth of the fetus.
  • Eat whole wheat bread and fruits instead of consuming refined flour and sugar.
  • Reduce your sodium intake by using low-fat unsalted butter and less salt while cooking.
  • Increase your intake of water and fruit juices, to keep your body hydrated.
  • Avoid spicy foods, as it may irritate the stomach lining.

Risks Of Being Overweight During Pregnancy

Obesity during pregnancy can lead to complications like hypertension, diabetes, preeclampsia, fetal macrosomia, increased cesarean delivery rates, higher incidence of wound infections, etc. Some of the other health issues overweight women are likely to face during pregnancy include the following: (2)

  • Miscarriage: Due to the elevated level of BMI, you are at greater risks of miscarriage than other pregnant women.
  • Gestational diabetes: If your BMI is above 30, you are more prone to develop gestational diabetes in comparison to other would-be moms.
  • Delivery complications: Being obese, you are also prone to preterm labor. An unhealthy weight during pregnancy also increases the chance of needing birth intervention, including induced labor, cesarean and shoulder dystocia.

Your obesity can cause the following birth defects in your baby:

  • Neural tube defects, such as spina bifida
  • Heart defects
  • Cleft palate
  • Limb reduction defects (3)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I get in shape while pregnant?

Exercising is beneficial during pregnancy as it can strengthen your muscles and improve circulation. Safe and medically approved exercises may help your body adapt better to the changes, prepare you for the delivery, and help you get back in shape after the delivery (4).

2. Can I go on a diet to lose weight while pregnant?

Pregnancy is not the time to go on a diet. The fetus is dependent on the mother for nutrition, and weight-loss diets could hinder the baby’s growth and development. If you are overweight or obese, your medical advisor and dietician will prescribe you a suitable diet.

Pregnancy-induced food cravings and the wrong assumption that you need to eat for two may cause excess weight gain, especially if you are overweight at the time of conception. Gaining excess weight increases the risks of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and may also be detrimental for the fetus. However, diet plans for overweight pregnant women should focus on cutting down unhealthy calories from junk food without compromising the nutritional requirements. Including whole fruits, whole grains, salads, lean meat in your diet, and eating small portions multiple times a day may help prevent excess weight gain during pregnancy.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Weight Gain During Pregnancy.
  2. Overweight/Obesity and Pregnancy.
  3. Adolfo Correa and Jessica Marcinkevage; (2013); Adolfo Correa and Jessica Marcinkevage.
  4. Exercise In Pregnancy.


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Ria Saha

Ria is a techie-turned-writer and writes articles on health, with special emphasis on nutrition. She did her B.Tech from West Bengal University of Technology and was previously associated with IBM as SAP ABAP technical consultant. She moved into freelance content writing in 2013 and worked for various websites including MomJunction, Brainpulse Technologies, and Emarketz India.

Dr. Mona Hardas

Dr. Mona Hardas is a practicing Ob/Gyn from Flint, Michigan, with over 20 years of experience in private practice. She is also actively involved in teaching medical students and residents as an associate clinical professor from MSU College of Human Medicine.  Dr. Hardas is interested in minimally invasive gynecology procedures, including laparoscopic hysterectomy, myomectomy, removal of adnexal masses, etc. Having... more