Pregnancy and Weight Gain

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

You need to be careful about how much weight you gain during your pregnancy. Gaining too much or too little can be harmful to you and your baby. How much weight you need to gain depends on how much you weigh when you become pregnant.

Pregnancy and Weight Gain

Weight Gain Guidelines for Pregnant Women

Most women are concerned about weight gain during pregnancy.  Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy by eating a healthy, balanced diet is a good start in giving your baby the nutrients she/he needs.

When you are pregnant you will need to eat more since you need extra calories from healthy foods to help your baby grow, but in normal circumstances you need to take in only 100 to 300 more calories than you did before you became pregnant.

A first place to begin is to consult with your health care provider about how much weight you should gain during pregnancy.  In general, you should gain about 2 to 4 pounds during your first trimester and 1 pound a week for the remainder of your pregnancy.  During pregnancy may be a good time to alter your eating habits, but it is not a time when you should consider dieting.  It is not safe to lose weight during pregnancy.  Below are the recommended weight gain guidelines:

  • If your weight to height ratio before pregnancy is in the normal range, generally you should gain 25 to 35 pounds

  • If your weight to height ratio before pregnancy is such that you are overweight, you may be advised to gain only 15 to 25 pounds

  • If, based on your height to weight ratio you are underweight before pregnancy, your health care provider may suggest you gain 28 to 40 pounds

To find out if you were underweight or overweight before pregnancy, learn about your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.

Typically the weight you gain during your pregnancy is distributed approximately as follows:

Baby  7-8 pounds
Placenta  2-3 pounds
Amniotic fluid 2-3 pounds
Breast tissue  2-3 pounds
Blood supply  4 pounds
Fat stores for delivery and breastfeeding  5-9 pounds
Uterus increase  2-5 pounds
Total  25-35 pounds

The following suggestions may be helpful to you in controlling your weight gain:

  • Eat frequent smaller meals rather than a few large meals each day.

  • When eating out, choose lower fat items such as broiled chicken breast, salad with low-fat dressing, and stay away from fried and breaded foods.

  • Rather than consume whole milk products, select low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt.

  • Drink plain water, club soda, or mineral water and stay away from the empty calories of sweetened drinks such as soft drinks, fruit punch, fruit drinks, iced tea, or lemonade.

  • Eliminate or reduce your intake of sweets and high calorie snacks.

  • Reduce your intake of fats found in cooking oils, margarine, butter, gravy, sauces, mayonnaise, regular salad dressings, sauces, lard, sour cream and cream cheese.

  • Keep healthy snacks on hand.

  • Develop and maintain a regular exercise program as approved by your health care provider.

Click here for information on eating and nutrition.

Additional Information

Webmd: Weight gain during pregnancy

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--BMI

March of Dimes: Weight gain guidelines for pregnant women

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