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Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative

Healthy Weight Among Women of Reproductive Age


The weight of a mother before and during her pregnancy affects the health of the mother and her baby. Women who are overweight or obese before becoming pregnant and during their pregnancy have an increased likelihood of complications during and after pregnancy. Gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy is important to support a child's health and adult health in the next generation.

The Maternal, Child and Adolescent Division is working to increase the percent of women with recommended weight gain during pregnancy by employing the following strategies:

  1. Conduct surveillance of maternal preconception weight status and weight gain during pregnancy, including measurement of trends and disparities.
  2. Improve capacity for nutrition and physical activity for women of reproductive age including optimum prenatal weight gain through collaboration and technical assistance, especially by sharing science-based resources.          
Maternal Weight on the Rise

In California, the percent of women who are overweight or obese before becoming pregnant has been increasing. In 2017, the percent of women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy was 51.2 percent, an increase of 11 percent since 2009 when the rate was 46.2 percent. The maps below show the increase over time in the percent of women who were overweight/obese before pregnancy by county.

As excess weight of a mother before and during her pregnancy increases the risk for gestational diabetes, please see California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program for more information and gestational diabetes in pregnancy trend maps.

For information and resources on supporting healthy weight among women, click on links below.

MCAH Resources
  • MyPlate Resources: 
    California MyPlate handouts are tailored for teens, for moms, and for Gestational Diabetes, with Spanish versions as well. 
Other Resources
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