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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

In California, the percent of birthing parents who are overweight or obese before becoming pregnant has been increasing. In 2017, the percent of birthing parents 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 birthing parents who were overweight/obese before pregnancy by county.

As excess weight of a birthing parent 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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