From how much weight you need to gain to how it is distributed in your body, find out all you need to know about pregnancy weight gain during pregnancy. Plus: Why you shouldn’t worry too much about losing the baby weight after you have given birth.
When you’re expecting, your mind can be distracted by so many things. That’s why it’s crucial to stay on top of the scale — within reason! — to maintain your health and the health of your baby.
It’s best to gain weight slowly during pregnancy and after you give birth, as improper weight gain during pregnancy can lead to technical issues. However, there are ways to manage weight gain during pregnancy — and of course, your doctor or midwife will be there to help you along the way.
More information on how much weight to gain during pregnancy is outlined in the following section.
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Charts and guidelines for pregnancy weight gain
Your personal weight gain goal is determined by your body mass index before pregnancy, which affects how much you need to gain if you are expecting. If your BMI falls into the normal weight category before pregnancy, you should aim for 25 to 35 pounds of weight gain.
The following chart provides useful information on weight gain in pregnancy:
It is recommended to gain the following weight while carrying twins:
- Weight between 50 and 62 pounds is considered underweight
- The normal weight is between 37 and 54 pounds.
- The weight is considered overweight if the person weighs between 31 and 50 pounds
- An obese person might weigh 25 to 42 pounds.
During each trimester, how much weight you should gain
It is difficult to figure out how many pounds you will gain during an individual pregnancy, but the amount of weight you gain and the speed at which it occurs are both important factors since your unborn child needs a steady supply of nutrients and calories to grow and survive.
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What you need to know about Pregnancy Weight Gain
This is a perfect example of why it’s so important to keep up your doctor appointments throughout your pregnancy. Your pregnancy weight gain timeline is dependent on multiple factors, including your metabolism, level of activity, and genetics.
Wondering what’s the best time to gain weight? These recommendations come from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for women whose weight is normal before conception:
- First trimester: You don’t need to gain more than 2 to 4 pounds during the first trimester if you’re experiencing morning sickness. You could end up gaining no weight or even losing some during this phase.
In either case, as long as you make up for the extra pounds over the following 6 months, you can expect to gain more during the first trimester. If you constantly crave pregnancy foods, you might gain more than you planned to in the first trimester.
- Second trimester: You start to gain weight in earnest by this time, ideally adding 12 to 14 pounds total to your pregnancy weight gain.
- Third trimester: In the third trimester, you may gain between 8 and 10 pounds, and by the ninth month, as your belly becomes increasingly small, some women lose weight. It’s perfectly natural to lose pounds after you finish the third trimester.
Please consider that these averages are not meant as a hard-and-fast guideline. There may be weeks when you feel completely satisfied while there will be weeks where eating much of anything makes your stomach hurt.
You don’t need to worry too much. As long as you gain the weight you should during pregnancy and at a rate most moms achieve, you’re right on track.
What happens to extra weight during pregnancy
It’s not necessarily true that the pregnancy weight you gain goes entirely in your belly. For a 30-pound gain, here’s how it will likely be distributed:
- Baby weight: 7.5 pounds
- 1.5 pounds of placenta
- 2 pounds of amniotic fluid
- 2 pounds uterine enlargement
- Breast tissue: 2 pounds
- 4 pounds of maternal blood
- Maternal tissue fluids: 4 pounds
- Mothers store 7 pounds of fat during pregnancy
To have a healthy pregnancy, and so that you are ready for nursing, it is important to gain weight in all these areas.
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How can I maintain my pregnancy weight gain?
To maximize your pregnancy weight gains, it’s important to keep an eye on the scale. Keep in mind that what you don’t know could really throw your weight off-target.
- Every day at the same time
- Wearing the same amount of clothes each day (or nothing at all)
- On the same scale
- A step on every other week, or once a week if possible (more often will make you crazy with fluctuations in fluid levels).
Feel free to skip your monthly weight check if it makes you feel too stressed. Just remember that it’s okay to get significantly off-track a month and cause you difficulty reaching your overall goals.
Dietary balance is also important for healthy pregnancy weight gain, which includes knowing how many calories you consume each day during pregnancy. In this regard we recommend you to read the article on kidsrush.com: How to diet in pregnancy.
Make sure you eat the same number of calories each day – and more – as you gain weight during pregnancy:
- First trimester: Except in cases where you started your pregnancy underweight, you likely won’t need additional calories.
- Second trimester: A diet containing 300 to 350 additional calories a day is usually recommended for women who are pregnant.
- Third trimester: There’s a 500-calorie increase in calories you need to consume day after day after conceiving.
For pre-pregnant women, consuming extra calories may be necessary if you are not a healthy weight. If you have multiples, you should eat an additional 300 calories per baby.
Looking for the right number of calories to get through pregnancy but overweight or obese before conception? Ask your doctor. You may not need as many calories as you think. Your doctor may advise you to cut back on calories, especially if you have diabetes.
It is okay to maintain only detail of your calorie intake on your food log. What’s more important is to maintain an eye on your weight so that you know you’re eating enough as opposed to too much.
You should always request personalized recommendations from your practitioner regarding your daily calorie intake and weight gain. On kidsrush.com we recommend you to do some exercises like Yoga during pregnancy.
Tips on how not to gain too much weight during pregnancy
You are indeed eating for two; however, it doesn’t mean you need about twice the amount of calories just because you are expecting. The key to staying in good health during pregnancy is managing weight through diet and exercise.
Generally speaking, instead of striving for weight loss by just making more food choices, look for nutritious foods that are filled with nutrients like nuts, legumes, fatty fish, and poultry. You should also select plenty of filling sources of fiber, like fresh vegetables and whole grains.
It also helps you keep morning sickness at bay if you eat the proper foods, which helps to provide fuel for the baby’s incredible growth, including the developing bone, brain, skin, eye, and digestive system.
Some women tend to underestimate how much juice they are consuming during pregnancy. Juices might appear healthier than other sweet drinks like sodas, but sometimes it’s easy to overlook how much they are drinking. A few glasses can add up to 600 calories of main sugar a day.
It is also quite common to crave salt and carbohydrates during the first trimester. It is fine to consume these during nauseated periods, but consistently indulging can be detrimental to your pregnancy diet. Try to get back on track once you feel better in the second trimester.
Stop depriving your baby of the nutrition it needs to grow, and stopping everything until your pregnancy is over. Check in with your doctor, who will help you create a plan to slow down your weight gain without completely stopping it until you are back on track.
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The right time to call the doctor
The first thing to do if you’re worried you’re lacking in weight for your height is to talk to your doctor. Obstetricians and midwives are used to having these conversations with people, and they will advise you on the best ways to achieve your goals.
Do consult your physician if you gain more than three pounds in one week in the second or third trimesters or if you gain more than three pounds in any three weeks in the third trimester. Sudden weight gain could point to preeclampsia.
If you gain no weight for two consecutive weeks during the fourth to eighth months, you should call your doctor.
Weight loss during pregnancy
Weight loss is common after pregnancy, so try not to stress about it. You’ll lose a lot of the pregnancy weight quickly, and then there are plenty of healthy ways to lose the remaining pounds slowly.
- Consuming a nutrient-dense diet after pregnancy or breast-feeding
- Regular stroller walks with baby
- Attending online yoga classes for new mothers to help you meet others.
- You could join a gym. Most gyms nowadays offer child care for babies 2 months or older. Getting a break from your child and boosting your endorphins will help you feel better and feel more energetic.
- You can lose around 500 calories a day just from nursing (or pumping your milk), so if you choose to do so you can shed excess pounds without going on a diet or exercise.
If you stick to your pregnancy weight gain goal, a quick and easy way to lose weight after pregnancy is to stay focused on your overall growth rather than the drops and dips on the scale. Let your doctor know if an alarming amount of weight suddenly appears in your body.
While writing this article we fetched information from these online authentic sources.
- Mayo Clinic, Gestational Diabetes, February 2020.
- Mayo Clinic, High Blood Pressure, and Pregnancy: Know The Facts, February 2018.