Is how much weight you gain during pregnancy important?
Determining how much weight to safely gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a numerical value of your weight in relation to your height. It’s used to determine if an adult is at a healthy weight.
The Centers for Disease Control offers a BMI calculator. Check yours so you know you’re starting point.
|Pre-pregnancy weight||Recommended weight gain|
|Source: Institute of Medicine and National Research Council|
|Underweight (BMI under 18.5)||28 to 40 lbs. (about 13 to 18 kg)|
|Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)||25 to 35 lbs. (about 11 to 16 kg)|
|Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9)||15 to 25 lbs. (about 7 to 11 kg)|
|Obesity (BMI 30 or more)||11 to 20 lbs. (about 5 to 9 kg)|
Your health and your baby’s health also play a role. Talk with your health care provider about what weight gain is right for your pregnancy
Where does pregnancy weight go?
Your baby might weigh in at 7 or 8 pounds (about 3 to 3.6 kilograms). That accounts for some of your pregnancy weight gain. What about the rest? Here’s a sample breakdown:
- Larger breasts: 1 to 3 pounds (about 0.5 to 1.4 kilogram)
- Larger uterus: 2 pounds (about 0.9 kilogram)
- Placenta: 1 1/2 pounds (about 0.7 kilogram)
- Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds (about 0.9 kilogram)
- Increased blood volume: 3 to 4 pounds (about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms)
- Increased fluid volume: 2 to 3 pounds (about 0.9 to 1.4 kilograms)
- Fat stores: 6 to 8 pounds (about 2.7 to 3.6 kilograms)
Putting on pounds during pregnancy
A pregnant woman of normal weight, who gets less than 30 minutes of exercise a week should strive for a caloric intake of:
These calories should be attained by eating a diet of grains, dairy, protein, fruits/vegetables, and healthy fats and oils.
Limiting processed foods, sugars and extra fats can help you attain your goals.
Average Pregnancy Weight Gain Chart
- 7 1/2 pounds is about how much the baby will weigh by the end of pregnancy.
- 1 1/2 pounds is how much the placenta weighs.
- 4 pounds is attributed to increased fluid volume.
- 2 pounds is the weight of the uterus.
- 2 pounds is the weight of breast tissue.
- 4 pounds is because of increased blood volume.
- 7 pounds is attributed to maternal stores of fat, protein, and other nutrients.
- 2 pounds for the amniotic fluid.
- Total: 30 pounds
On a trimester basis in a woman with normal pre-pregnancy weight:
- First trimester: 1-4.5 pounds
- Second trimester: 1-2 pounds per week
- Third trimester: 1-2 pounds per week
Remember this is just an average; you and your health care provider need to decide what is best for you.
Want to Know More?
Compiled using information from the following sources:
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Institute Of Medicine, Report Brief May 2009, Weight Gain during Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guideline
Institute of Medicine and National Research Council