More Articles on A Healthy Pregnancy

Thinking About Getting Pregnant?
Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! (for those who are newly pregnant)
What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Can I continue to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
A Pregnancy Menu For You and Your Baby
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
What About Seafood?
Don't Eat That!
Pregnancy and Cholesterol
Wash Those Veggies!
Breastmilk, the Healthiest Diet for Babies
What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?
Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
New Research Affirms Individualized Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Breastfeeding: Developing a Future Gourmet
What to Do About The Flu
Gestational Diabetes
Decreasing the Risk of Gestation Diabetes
Keeping and Storing Breastmilk
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines – Do We Need New Ones?
Breastfeeding: A Woman's Health Issue
Eating During Labor
Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - a Time to be Active!
Clearing the Air : Quit Smoking for You and Your Child
What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?
Does Iron Intake Matter?
One Fish, Two Fish... Full Term Birth?
Folic acid in pregnancy and language development
A Mediterranean Diet, Pre-Pregnancy
There is No Substitute for a Healthy Diet
Honest Healthy Diets for Babies
Exercise for New Moms
A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Gestational Diabetes
Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Great News About Breastfeeding
Peanuts and Pregnancy
Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes
Iodine supplements - should you take them?
Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet
FDA Updates Recommendations for Fish Consumption in Pregnancy

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


A Healthy Pregnancy

What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?

In previous articles we have discussed the value of reaching a healthy weight before planning a pregnancy. However, life doesn't always go according to recommendations. If you are overweight or obese and pregnant, what does a healthy diet look like for you?

Pregnancy is NOT a time for weight loss dieting. Do not make it a goal to lose weight while you are pregnant. Pregnant women who are obese should gain between 11 and 20 pounds during their pregnancy. However, I have seen a number of pregnant women who initially lost weight in early pregnancy as they began to eat a healthy diet instead of an unhealthy one.

If your diet has included too much fast food, soda, and sweets, now is the time to change! A healthy diet plays a significant role in your baby's prenatal development and may have life long health implications for baby. Start NOW to eat a healthy diet for you and your baby!

But what if you have eaten a reasonably healthy diet and have struggled with weight for much of your life? Is there a diet that can help you maintain a healthy weight while being healthy for your baby? In the past there has been very little research that could recommend one diet plan over another for pregnant women of size.

Research recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010:92: 1306-150) offers a possible suggestion. Researchers compared pregnancy outcomes between overweight women who ate either a low fat diet or a low glycemic index diet. For more information about a low-glycemic index diet visit The Glycemic Index.

What did they find?

Birth weight of the babies was not significantly different between the two groups.

Women who ate the low-glycemic index diet:

  1. Were substantially less likely to have preterm or near-term babies. (Babies born before 38 weeks have more health problems as infants and are more likely to have problems in school as they grow up.)
  2. Had babies with a larger head circumference (a significant predictor of brain volume)
  3. Had better maternal scores on triglycerides, total cholesterol, and CRP (a marker of inflammation). This may indicate lower immediate and long term risk of cardiovascular disease for the mother.

While this study was well designed, it was a small study so the predictive value is somewhat limited. I hope that it will be repeated with a larger sample size. However, using low-glycemic foods in your diet can be a healthy choice when pregnant. One key is to choose those low GI ingredients that are fresh, cook for yourself and not choose processed foods no matter whether they have a low GI value or not.

Talk with your doctor about your situation and ask if this might be a good diet plan for you.


Any discussion of weight and pregnancy would not be complete without mentioning the importance of physical activity. Unless your doctor has told you otherwise because of pregnancy complications, pregnancy is a time to be active. Make it your goal to include at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days.

Maintain a healthy weight - for you and your baby!

Care for yourself and your child!