Weight gain is a healthy part of a normal pregnancy as your little one grows. The average distribution of weight gain during pregnancy is:
- 7–8 pounds — weight of the baby
- 1–2 pounds — placenta
- 2 pounds — amniotic fluid
- 2 pounds — uterus
- 2 pounds — maternal breast tissue
- 4 pounds — maternal blood
- 4 pounds — fluids in maternal tissue
- 4 pounds — maternal fat and nutrient stores
While most women gain around 30 pounds, the amount of weight you should gain is based on your body mass index (BMI) prior to pregnancy. If you are in a healthy BMI range (between 18.5–24.9), you should gain between 25 and 35 pounds. If you had a BMI less than 18.5 prior to pregnancy, you should gain between 28 and 40 pounds. If you have a BMI over 30, you should gain between 11 and 20 pounds. Talk with your healthcare provider about what constitutes a healthy weight gain for you during your pregnancy.
Slow and Steady
The rate at which you gain weight during your pregnancy is determined by your weight before you were pregnant and how far along you are. On average, women should gain up to 5 pounds during the first trimester, and then 1 to 2 pounds per week during the second and third trimesters. If you suddenly gain or lose weight, contact your healthcare provider right away.
Some women have trouble gaining weight during the first trimester due to morning sickness. However, at this time, the baby does not need as many nutrients as later in the pregnancy. Ensure steady weight gain throughout the pregnancy to avoid a low birth-weight infant or premature delivery.
Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can lead to problems as well, including:
- Backaches and fatigue
- Gestational diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of Cesarean section
- Leg pain
- Varicose veins
Nutrition for Two
Pregnant women need to consume between 2,200 and 2,900 calories per day. Per trimester, that means no extra calories during the first trimester, but an additional 340 calories during the second trimester and an additional 450 calories during the third.
Expecting moms should also review the important nutrients your baby needs to mature properly, including folic acid, calcium, vitamin D and iodine. Talk with your doctor about how to include foods and supplements that ensure healthy development.