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Feeling Depressed About Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Here’s What You Need To Do

Depression and obesity are common problems that can occur together during pregnancy. They both have serious risks for the health of the mother and the baby. While many studies have looked at how depression or obesity alone affect mothers and their children, we don’t know much about the effects when both conditions are present at the same time.

The relationship between depression and obesity is complicated, and we’re not sure if depression in the mother causes obesity or if it’s the other way around. We do know that the environment inside the womb plays a big role in how depression and obesity affect the baby’s development, and it increases the chances of negative outcomes for the child.

Let’s talk about the difficulties women may face during pregnancy, specifically the important problem of gaining too much weight. We will provide suggestions on what can be done to deal with this issue.

The Importance of Maternal Diet for Baby’s Growth and Brain Development

The food a mother eats during pregnancy is important for the baby’s growth and brain development. When pregnant animals don’t get enough food, their babies have problems with brain development and metabolism. Similarly, eating too much fat or salt during pregnancy can harm the placenta and affect the baby’s future health.

Feeling Depressed About Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Here's What You Need To Do

In humans, extreme cases of not getting enough food during pregnancy, like during famines, have shown that it can affect the baby’s brain and lead to problems with thinking and physical development. Eating a lot of protein during late pregnancy can make the baby more sensitive to stress. Eating too much fat during pregnancy can cause the mother to gain too much weight and increase the risks of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and other health problems.

Feeling Depressed About Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Here's What You Need To Do

Interestingly, people who are obese and have depression often don’t eat a healthy diet. They may not get enough important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that help the brain work properly. Studies have found a link between pregnant women who are depressed and don’t eat well, and their children having lower cognitive abilities. Depressed mothers tend to eat less healthy foods that are rich in proteins, fibers, and important nutrients, and more unhealthy foods that are high in fats, salt, and sugar.

Does Weight Gain During Pregnancy Lead To Depression?

A meta-analysis that searched MEDLINE and databases investigated the relationship between body mass index (BMI), weight gain during pregnancy, and postpartum depression (PPD). It found that women who are obese when they get pregnant are more likely to have higher levels of depression during pregnancy and after giving birth compared to women with a normal weight. Overweight women also have a moderate risk of experiencing depression.

Feeling Depressed About Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Here's What You Need To Do

These studies have also suggested that an increase in BMI during pregnancy can lead to a higher risk of depression during and after pregnancy.

Another study found a lower rate of depression in the weeks after delivery among women with normal weight during pregnancy. Although it was hypothesized that higher BMI at the beginning of pregnancy would increase the likelihood of experiencing PPD, the data did not support this hypothesis. In contrast, a different study found that overweight women had a more positive body image and perception of weight gain during pregnancy compared to women with normal weight, and the rates of PPD were similar for both groups.

How To Deal With Depression Due To Weight Gain During Pregnancy

When a woman is already overweight or gains weight quickly during pregnancy, it’s important to focus on healthy eating and staying active. Trying to go on a diet or lose weight during pregnancy is not recommended, as it can cause problems for both the mother and the baby.

Instead, it’s advisable to make changes in the diet to ensure proper nutrition without excessive weight gain. Seeking guidance from a healthcare provider can be helpful in planning a healthy diet.

Here are some tips for healthy eating during pregnancy:

Healthy choices:

  • Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and low in calories and fat.
  • Opt for breads, crackers, and cereals made with whole grains.
  • Choose reduced-fat dairy products, such as skim, 1%, or 2% milk, low-fat cheese, or yogurt.

Foods to avoid:

  • Prefer naturally sweetened foods and drinks over those with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
  • Be cautious of foods and drinks that list sugar or corn syrup as one of the main ingredients.
  • Watch out for high-calorie sweetened drinks and substitute water for sodas and fruit drinks.
  • Avoid junk-food snacks like chips, candy, cake, cookies, and ice cream.

Go light on fats:

  • Use lower-fat versions of cooking oils, margarine, butter, gravy, sauces, mayonnaise, salad dressings, lard, sour cream, and cream cheese.

Eating out:

  • Check the calorie, fat, and salt content of food at restaurants through their menus or websites.
  • Opt for places that offer salads, soups, and vegetables, and avoid fast food.

Cooking at home:

  • Use low-fat cooking methods like baking, broiling, grilling, and boiling, instead of frying foods in oil or butter.


  • Moderate exercise, as recommended by your healthcare provider, can help burn extra calories.
  • Walking and swimming are generally safe and effective exercises for pregnant women.
  • Always consult with your provider before starting an exercise program.

Remember, it’s important to prioritize the health of both the mother and the baby during pregnancy.


Depression and obesity often happen together during pregnancy and can be risky for both the mother and the baby. The food a mother eats during pregnancy is important for the baby’s growth and brain development. Eating a healthy diet is crucial for both physical and mental well-being.

Being obese and depressed can lead to unhealthy eating habits, which may lack important nutrients. This can affect the baby’s brain development and cognitive abilities. Women who are obese when they become pregnant are more likely to experience higher levels of depression during and after pregnancy. Weight gain during pregnancy can also increase the risk of depression.


Dinky, a graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey, has been working as a writer for more than four years, covering a wide variety of themes including current affairs, politics, fashion, celebrity news, and fitness. Oh, and when Dinky isn't blogging about her favorite television shows, you can find her marathoning the very same shows on her couch.

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