Pregnancy can be a time of excitement and worry for any expectant mother. Your main priority for those nine months is doing everything you can to help ensure the health of you and your baby — which includes maintaining a healthy weight.

The amount of weight you gain during pregnancy is important for the health of your pregnancy and for you and your baby’s long-term health.1 Weight management can be a struggle even when you aren’t pregnant. And factoring in the needs of your developing baby adds an extra layer of complexity.  

The Compass Rose Health Plan is here to help you have a healthy pregnancy. Read on for answers to your questions about weight gain during pregnancy and tips for managing a healthy weight.

How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?

Weight gain during pregnancy is normal and necessary to help the growth of your baby. Every person is different. Your health care provider will use your body mass index (also called BMI) before pregnancy to figure out how much weight you should gain during pregnancy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gaining more than the recommended amount of weight in pregnancy can:

  • Cause your baby to become too large  
  • Create delivery complications
  • Result in an unexpected cesarean delivery  
  • Lead to childhood obesity
  • Increase the amount of weight you hold on to after pregnancy, which can lead to obesity 

In addition, gaining less than the recommended amount of weight in pregnancy can result in:2  

  • A baby being too small
  • Difficulty starting breastfeeding
  • An increased risk for illness
  • Developmental delays 

How Can I Manage my Weight During Pregnancy? 

Your provider will check your weight at each prenatal care visit. If you are gaining more weight than recommended or are underweight, talk to your health care provider or a nutritionist.  

Expectant members enrolled in the Compass Rose Health Plan also have access to our Maternity program as part of their plan benefits at no additional cost. Our nurses are here for you as an extra layer of support and can provide you with educational resources and tips based on your personal health care needs.  

The best tip to follow is universal for everyone: a healthy diet and exercise can help manage your weight. It is important not to try to lose weight during pregnancy, just slow weight gain to what is appropriate for you.

Healthy Food Choices During Pregnancy

During your pregnancy, it is important to focus on eating the right foods and staying active to maintain a healthy weight. However, it can be difficult to navigate managing your health during pregnancy on your own. We are here to help you get on the right track.  

Here are some healthy eating tips to help you get started:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and low in calories and fat.
  • Beans are not only a good source of protein and fiber, but they also have other key nutrients, such as iron, folate, calcium and zinc.
  • Eat bread, crackers, and cereals made with whole grains.
  • Choose reduced-fat dairy products (at least 4 servings of milk products per day).
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free cheese or yogurt. 

Before changing your diet, be sure to talk to your provider or a nutritionist about your nutritional needs. For additional help and support, our Maternity program is here to help guide you throughout your pregnancy.  

Eating in Moderation

While you are pregnant, it is important to make sure you are eating a well-rounded diet to provide proper nutrients for your baby. Below are some foods to eat in moderation during your pregnancy:

  • Naturally sweetened is better than foods and drinks with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
  • Food and drinks that list sugar or corn syrup as one of the first ingredients are not good choices.
  • Many sweetened drinks are high in calories and sugar. Prioritize drinking water instead of sodas and fruit drinks.
  • Avoid junk-food snacks, such as chips, candy, cake, cookies and ice cream.
  • Go light on fats. Fats include cooking oils, margarine, butter, gravy, sauces, mayonnaise, regular salad dressings, lard, sour cream and cream cheese. Try the lower-fat versions of these foods.

There are also some foods that you should avoid while pregnant, like raw fish and soft cheese. For more on foods to avoid, check out this infographic or visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Food Safety page.

Exercising During Pregnancy

Staying active while you are expecting is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. If you exercised before, you may need to make some modifications to ensure safety. And if you were not as active before, it is never too late to start — just be sure to ease into a routine and consult your health care provider.  

Moderate exercise, as recommended by your provider, can help keep your pregnancy weight in a normal range and can even positively benefit your mental health, helping you feel better overall. You don’t need to push yourself — activities like walking or swimming not only provide great health benefits, but they are also safe options for those who are pregnant as well. 

Check out these safe workout tips to help you stay active throughout each stage of your pregnancy:

Stay Active with Active&Fit Direct™

Compass Rose Health Plan members have access to Active&Fit Direct™ to help them stay active with flexible fitness options starting at just $28 a month. With the Active&Fit Direct program, you will have access to thousands of fitness centers and studios as well as digital workout videos.

How to get started with Active&Fit Direct:

  1. Sign in to your myCompass account  
  2. Click on My Coverage in the main menu  
  3. Click View Details on your health plan tile and select Active&Fit Direct™ from the Important Links menu

Managing your weight on top of everything else you need to think about during your pregnancy can feel overwhelming. That’s why we offer a free Maternity program to help you keep track of everything from your first trimester to after the baby is born.  

Please note: while it is important to work out during pregnancy, make sure you consult your obstetrician before you engage in any physical activity.