But it’s important to use discretion in honoring those signals, so cravings don’t become an excuse to overindulge. Why? Because obesity poses a serious health threat during pregnancy. A gain of more than 40 pounds raises the risk for a number of complications, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension, which is the leading cause of premature delivery as well as maternal and fetal death. Other risks of excess pregnancy weight gain include congenital malformations and an increased likelihood of the child becoming overweight later in life.
According to the March of Dimes, normal-weight women should gain only 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy, and overweight women just 15 to 25 pounds. So, it’s important for moms-to-be to find a healthy balance between indulging their cravings and resisting them—and to make sure that, regardless of the foods they’re drawn to, they get plenty of the nutrients that are vital for their health and their baby’s healthy development.