Healthy Weight Gain during Pregnancy

The amount of weight you gain during pregnancy is important for the health of your pregnancy and for the long-term health of you and your baby. The amount of weight you should gain depends on your body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy. BMI is a measure of body fat calculated from weight and height.

How much weight should you gain in each trimester?

Putting on weight slowly and steadily is best. Generally if you’re pregnant with one baby, doctors suggest women gain weight at the following rate:

  • 1 to 4 pounds total in the first trimester.
  • About 1 pound a week in the second and third trimesters.

While you don’t want to gain too much weight, don’t ever try to lose weight during pregnancy. If you’re worried about your weight gain, talk to your doctor.

How much weight gain is healthy for you?

Check with your doctor to find out how much weight gain during pregnancy is healthy for you. The Institute of Medicine provides these guidelines:

If before pregnancy, you were You should gain…
Normal weight             (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)       → 25 to 35 pounds
Underweight                (BMI less than 18.5)    → 28 to 40 pounds
Overweight                   (BMI 25 to 29.9)           → 15 to 25 pounds
Obese                             (BMI 30 or greater)      → 11 to 20 pounds

Why it’s important to gain the right amount of weight?

Gaining too much or too little weight can be harmful to you and your baby.

  • Women who gain too little are more likely to have a baby with low birthweight.
  • Women who gain too much are more likely to have a large baby or a premature baby.

A premature baby is born too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. These moms may also have diabetes and high blood pressure, which can cause problems during pregnancy.

Calorie Needs

You only need about 300 extra healthy calories a day during pregnancy to support your baby’s growth and development. Keep in mind that not all calories are equal. Your baby needs healthy foods that are packed with nutrients, not “empty calories” such as those found in soft drinks, candies, and desserts.

Where Does the Added Weight Go?

Here is an approximate breakdown of your weight gain.

  • Baby: 7-8 pounds
  • Maternal breast tissue: 2 pounds
  • Larger uterus: 2 pounds
  • Placenta: 1-2 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
  • Stored fat for delivery & breastfeeding: 7 pounds
  • Maternal Increased blood volume: 4 pounds
  • Fluids in maternal tissue: 4 pounds

“With the new baby on the way, I strongly recommend the following books for your family.” -Angela

References and Resources