This guideline covers how to assess and monitor body weight and how to prevent someone from becoming overweight or obese before, during and after pregnancy. The aim is to help all women who have a baby to achieve and maintain a healthy weight by adopting a balanced diet and being physically active.

This guideline does not cover women who are underweight (that is, those who have a body mass index [BMI] less than 18.5 kg/m²) or food safety advice.

NICE has also produced guidelines on obesity and maternal and child nutrition.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • NHS and other commissioners and managers
  • Health professionals including those working in antenatal and postnatal services
  • People working in children’s centres
  • Women before, during and after pregnancy, their partners and families and other members of the public

Is this guideline up to date?

March 2017: We have checked this guideline and decided to update it (see the surveillance decision). Recommendations for women before and after pregnancy will be included in the NICE guideline on weight management (see the weight management guideline development page). Recommendations for women who are pregnant will be included in the updated NICE guideline on maternal and child nutrition (see the maternal and child nutrition guideline update page).

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.