Diet for Overweight Pregnant Women

It's important to adjust the diet for overweight pregnant women in order to avoid alterations in their state of health.
Diet for Overweight Pregnant Women

Last update: 11 July, 2022

The diet for overweight pregnant women improves the development of the fetus. And at the same time, it reduces the incidence of certain complex metabolic diseases that can put the health of the woman and her child at risk.

For this reason, we’re going to show you the dietary keys so that you know which points to pay attention to and which nutrients are important to offer your body at this stage.

Before we begin, we must especially emphasize the need to maintain a good body composition throughout life. Sometimes, excess weight and obesity are caused by genetic factors, but most of the time, it’s influenced by environmental issues and this can be solved with certain habit changes.

Keep reading to find out how to combat excess weight in pregnancy.

Normal calorie diet for overweight pregnant women

During pregnancy, it’s best to consume a slightly hypercaloric diet to meet the needs of the mother and the developing fetus.

However, in the case of an overweight pregnant woman, this shouldn’t necessarily be the case. In fact, in this context, a balanced or slightly energy-deficient menu can be considered, as adipose tissue reserves can ensure that the extra demand is met.

A pregnant woman sitting down in front of two plates of pasta.
“Eating for two” isn’t a healthy pattern during pregnancy. In fact, in the case of overweight pregnant women, it can be quite harmful.

Protein intake in pregnant women

Despite the calories, what needs to be emphasized in pregnant women is her protein intake. In certain stages of life, the requirements are high, as evidenced by research published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism journal. Pregnancy would be one of them and at this stage, it’s key to have the essential amino acids in the diet, and, ideally, you should include foods of animal origin.

Sugar and fats in the diet for overweight pregnant women

Another key point of the diet for overweight pregnant women is the intake of carbohydrates. These nutrients are fundamentally energetic but have been linked to the development of complex metabolic diseases, especially those of the simple type.

According to a study published in the journal Current Diabetes Reports, if we take into account that overweight pregnant women have a higher risk of experiencing gestational diabetes, the excessive consumption of these nutrients is worrying.

Perhaps the best alternative isn’t to eliminate these nutrients from the menu, but to optimize them. There’s no need for carbohydrates to be present in every meal, and if they are present, complex carbohydrates should be prioritized. These have a high percentage of fiber inside, so their digestion is delayed and the impact on blood glucose levels is less.

Finally, we must talk about fats. What overweight pregnant women should avoid is the intake of trans fatty acids. These nutrients don’t have positive functions in the body and only manage to increase the levels of inflammation and oxidation in the internal environment.

On the contrary, it’s important to promote the intake of polyunsaturated lipids, such as omega-3. These compounds favor the development of the central nervous system of the fetus and it’s believed that they could reduce the incidence of allergies in the future.

A pregnant woman standing on a scale.
Being overweight during pregnancy is a risky situation for the health of the mother and the baby. That’s why it should be closely monitored and avoided as much as possible.

Diet should be optimized for overweight pregnant women

As you’ve seen, it’s essential to optimize the diet of pregnant women, especially when they’re overweight before or during pregnancy. Otherwise, metabolic diseases could develop that could endanger the health of both mother and child over the years.

In addition, when the mother is overweight and this isn’t controlled, the fetus may develop with some physical alterations or alterations in the functioning of their metabolism.

Finally, don’t forget to promote a series of good habits as a whole, in addition to maintaining a healthy diet. It’s important to practice regular physical activity, even during pregnancy. You’ll just have to adapt the load to the specific situation, but it’s not a good alternative to stop training completely.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Richter, M., Baerlocher, K., Bauer, J. M., Elmadfa, I., Heseker, H., Leschik-Bonnet, E., Stangl, G., Volkert, D., Stehle, P., & on behalf of the German Nutrition Society (DGE) (2019). Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Protein. Annals of nutrition & metabolism74(3), 242–250.
  • Yoshida, Y., & Simoes, E. J. (2018). Sugar-Sweetened Beverage, Obesity, and Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents: Policies, Taxation, and Programs. Current diabetes reports18(6), 31.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.