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Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative

Healthy Weight for Healthy Birth and Beyond


A birthing parent’s weight before, during and after pregnancy affects the health of both the birthing parent and the baby. Birthing parents who are overweight or obese before becoming pregnant and/or gain excessive weight during pregnancy have increased risk for numerous adverse health conditions such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, cesarean delivery and hypertension. 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 birthing parents 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 potential birthing parents including optimum prenatal weight gain through collaboration and technical assistance, especially by sharing evidence-based resource.

Birthing Parents’ Weight on the Rise

Healthy Weight for Healthy Birth and Beyond: A data brief addressing the rising percent of individuals going into pregnancy obese or overweight and an increasing percent of individuals gaining excess weight during pregnancy.

In 2018, more than half (53%) of individuals who experienced a live birth were overweight or obese prior to pregnancy. Gaining an appropriate amount of weight during pregnancy is the first step in supporting and nurturing a child’s health throughout their lifespan and into the next generation.

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

For information on Multiple Factors Affect Birthing Parents’ Weight and resources on supporting healthy weight before and during pregnancy, click on links below.

MCAH Resources

Other Resources

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