Pregnant women need a proper diet and weight for optimal health
and for the nourishment of a growing baby. If a woman doesn't gain
enough weight during pregnancy, her baby is at risk of being born
small and having health problems. A woman who gains too much weight
during pregnancy risks having a large baby and complications during
pregnancy and childbirth. She could also have great difficulty
losing the weight after birth.
How Much Weight Should I Gain?
The amount of weight you should gain during pregnancy
depends upon several factors including your prepregnancy weight
and your age. If you are of average weight for your height, you are
encouraged to gain between 25-35 pounds. If you are underweight or
have a low body mass index (BMI), you will need to gain a bit more
weight than a pregnant woman with average weight. If you are
overweight, you will need to gain a little less weight than a
pregnant woman with average weight.
Women who are less than 5'2" tall should try to gain on the
lower end of the weight spectrum, as greater weight gain tends to
increase their risk of problems during delivery. Teens and women
who are pregnant with twins or multiples are encouraged to gain
slightly more weight than average.
A slow and steady weight gain over the nine month period is
best, but keep in mind that women gain weight at different rates.
try to lose weight during pregnancy, even
if you are overweight. The burning of fat stores during pregnancy
could cause your body to release substances that could harm your
baby. Your doctor will suggest a weight range than
best suits you, given your particular needs.
The following chart is
an estimate of how much weight you should gain per trimester based
on your normal weight, age, and whether you are carrying one fetus,
twins, or triplets.
Approximate Pregnancy Weight Gain in Pounds
Total Weight Gain
Normal Weight Adult
Normal Weight Teen
Underweight With Twins
Normal to Overweight With Twins
Oh No! Do I Have to Get Fat?
Many women fear the inevitable weight gain of pregnancy, even
though it's normal and healthy. The important thing to keep in mind
is that, for the majority of women, most of the weight gained is
not fat. The following table illustrates how an average weight gain
is distributed in pregnancy:
Approximate Distribution of Weight Gain in Average
Blood volume increase in mother
Fluids in mother's tissues
Breast tissue increase
Increased fat stores in mother
How Should I Gain Weight?
You should add an average of 200 calories more per day to your
diet. These calories, as well as most of the calories in your
diet, should not come from junk food that is full of fat and sugar.
Junk foods have few nutrients and are considered "empty calories."
Nutritious snack ideas include fresh fruit, crackers and cheese,
peanut butter, and whole grain breads and cereals. You may notice
that you gain weight slowly during the first trimester. This is
quite normal. During the second and third trimester, you will gain
the bulk of your weight.
website, based on the USDA’s 2005 dietary guidelines, was recently released for pregnant or nursing women. The interactive site allows you to get a personalized food plan, helping you to choose from a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, dairy foods, and healthful fats.
What Will Happen to My Weight After Birth?
Your postpartum weight will, in part, be affected by how much
weight you gained during pregnancy. If you gain too much weight
during pregnancy or develop poor eating habits and a sedentary
lifestyle, you may have more difficulty losing the weight after the
baby is born. The following factors help women to lose weight more
quickly after giving birth:
Eating a healthful, well-balanced diet that is low in fat, high
in fiber, and rich in nutrients
Exercising four or more times a week for at least 30 minutes
(regular aerobic exercises that involve the large muscles and
elevate the heart rate are best for burning calories)
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are growing
a baby, and therefore must have extra calories and weight during
pregnancy. Choose your calories wisely by eating nutritious
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a