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Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Published on September 8, 2015 by Virginia Women's Center

Weight gain during pregnancy can be a sensitive and stressful subject. How much is too much and how much is not enough? It’s easy to compare your weight gain to another woman’s and unfortunately, it’s all too common for others to comment on how “big” or how “small” you are. Although your pregnancy weight gain is a personal topic that does not need to be discussed with your family, friends or complete strangers, it is an important measure for you and your health care provider. Your health care provider will track your weight gain at every prenatal appointment and may give suggestions for how to boost calories or cut back depending on how much you’ve gained.

Gaining too little or too much during pregnancy can affect both you and your baby. Women who gain too few pounds have a higher risk of having a low birth weight baby, which may lead to health problems after birth. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, gaining too much weight can increase your risk of having a baby that is too large or a premature baby.

How much weight you should gain during pregnancy often depends on how much you weigh when you get pregnant. Body mass index (BMI) calculates whether you are at a healthy weight for your height. The general guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy are based on BMI and are below. If you’re expecting multiples, it is likely that the recommended weight gain would increase.

BMI

Recommended Weight Gain in Pregnancy

BMI less than 18.4

(Underweight)

28-40 pounds

BMI between 18.5 and 24.9

(Healthy weight)

25-35 pounds

BMI over 25

(Overweight)

10-15 pounds

 

It is common for most of your weight gain to be in the second and third trimesters. Most women will gain between two and four pounds in the first trimester, but some may even lose weight due to morning sickness. In the second and third trimesters, you should gain weight gradually, approximately a pound a week for a healthy weight woman. To achieve the recommended weight gain, the majority of women need only about 300 extra calories per day.

With the average newborn weighing between seven and eight pounds, where does the rest of the weight go?

  • Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds
  • Placenta = 1.5 pounds
  • Uterus = 2 pounds
  • Breasts = 2 pounds
  • Body fluids = 4 pounds
  • Blood = 4 pounds
  • Maternal stores of fat, protein and other nutrients = 7 pounds

 

Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet when you’re expecting and getting regular exercise are two of the best things you can do for yourself and the health of your baby.

 

Additional Resources:

 

About Virginia Women’s Center
Our care team – comprised of OB-GYNs, high-risk pregnancy specialists, nurse practitioners, ultrasound technologists, psychologists and a genetic counselor – are experienced in all aspects of pregnancy and welcome the opportunity to help you LIVE HEALTHY during your pregnancy. We have added all of these services and specialists to our practice not only for your convenience, but also because we believe that you will benefit from a coordinated and comprehensive approach to your pregnancy care. For more information, visit www.VirginiaWomensCenter.com, or find us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.