What’s Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy? And Other FAQs
Healthy weight gain during pregnancy depends upon how much you weighed when you initially got pregnant. By measuring your body mass index or BMI (your height and body fat as it relates to your weight), you can determine where to start when calculating what is the right amount of weight to gain.
Not sure about your BMI? You can calculate it here.
We know you probably have a lot of questions about what is healthy weight gain during pregnancy and during each trimester, so we’ve broken it down for you as well as addressed some of the most frequently asked questions about pregnancy and gaining weight.
How Much Weight Gain Is Normal During Pregnancy?
As we mentioned earlier, healthy weight gain during pregnancy is determined by your BMI before pregnancy. Following is the total amount of weight you should gain based upon your BMI number.
If you are carrying one baby, then the following weight gain, according to your BMI, should be:
- If you are underweight (BMI less than 18.5) then you should gain 28 to 40 pounds during your pregnancy.
- If you are a normal weight (BMI of 18.5 to 24.9), you should gain 25 to 35 pounds.
- If you are overweight, (BMI of 25 to 29.9) then you should gain 15 to 25 pounds.
- If you are obese, (BMI greater or equal to 30) then you should gain 11 to 20 pounds.
However, if you are carrying twins, these numbers change:
- If you are underweight, you should gain 50 to 62 pounds.
- If you are normal weight, you should gain 37 to 54 pounds.
- If you are overweight, you should gain 31 to 50 pounds.
- If you are obese, you should gain 25 to 42 pounds.
How Much Weight Should You Gain Each Trimester?
We have broken down healthy weight gain during pregnancy throughout each trimester so you’ll have the information you need at your fingertips.
How Much Weight Should You Gain During the First Trimester?
No extra calories are needed during the first trimester, even though you’re “eating for two.” This first trimester—provided you begin at a healthy weight—you should only gain one to four pounds.
How Much Weight Should You Gain During the Second Trimester and the Third Trimester?
The second and third trimesters typically focus on healthy, steady weight gain—particularly if you were at a healthy weight before your pregnancy. During these trimesters, you should gain one pound a week until time for your delivery. If you are overweight prior to pregnancy, you will not need to gain this much weight. In fact, gaining only a few pounds each trimester may be recommended. Your baby will continue to grow normally even if your weight does not increase significantly.
Why Do You Gain Weight During Pregnancy?
You gain weight during pregnancy due to the changes your body is undergoing. Your uterus and breasts enlarge, your body makes more fluids for the baby, and the placenta develops to provide your baby with nutrients. Then, of course, there is weight gain due to the baby itself, which can be around seven and half pounds.
Not all of your weight gain is due to the baby, however. Weight gain is also due to extensive fluid in your body that supports the baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid. This fluid can account for around five pounds, while the placenta can add another one to two pounds. Fat, protein and other nutrients can account for as much as eight pounds.
Why Is It Important to Follow Weight Gain Guidelines During Pregnancy?
Healthy weight gain during pregnancy is a balancing act: You want to gain enough weight to support the baby, but not so much as to put your health at risk.
Problems Associated With Gaining Too Little Weight
If you gain less than the suggested amount of weight, your baby may be born too small. Other potential complications include difficulty breastfeeding (which can be found in babies who are too small), increased risk of illness and developmental delays.
Problems Associated With Gaining Too Much Weight
If you gain too much weight, your baby may be born too large, which increases the chances of having a cesarean section or developing gestational diabetes. It can also lead to delivery complications and a greater risk that your child will experience obesity in childhood. This can also place you at greater risk for obesity; gaining too much weight during pregnancy makes it more difficult to lose this weight after pregnancy.
Associates in Women’s Healthcare Will Guide You Through Your Pregnancy
Gaining the proper amount of weight is only one facet of a healthy pregnancy. We work with you every step of the journey to ensure the best possible start for both mother and baby. In fact, if you’re considering getting pregnant, we encourage you to check out our preconception checklist.
See why we have been the obstetricians in Raleigh of choice for women throughout the Triangle area. Schedule an appointment today!