Weight gain during pregnancy

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"How much weight should I gain?" It's one of the first questions you'll probably have when you learn that you're pregnant. And it's an important one.

Weight gain guidelines

You and your practitioner will need to keep track of your weight so that you'll gain enough to support your growing baby, but not so much that you'll put yourself and your baby at risk.

Healthy weight ranges

Pregnant woman on scaleThe recommended amount of weight gain for most women during the course of their pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds. This range will vary depending on your weight and body mass index (BMI) before you became pregnant. (BMI helps to determine if you are at a healthy weight for your height.)

Use the recommendations below to help you know if you're gaining the right amount of weight, at the right time, for your type of pregnancy.

These ranges are estimates. Your practitioner may refer you to a dietician who can advise you on the specific weight gain that's right for you.

Pre-pregnancy BMI Total weight gain (lbs)

Rates of weight gain in 2nd and 3rd trimester (lbs per week)*

Underweight: less than 18.528 to 40about 1 lb
Normal weight: 18.5 to 24.925 to 35about 1 lb
Overweight: 25.0 to 29.915 to 25about 1/2 lb
Obese: 30.0 or more11 to 20about 1/2 lb

Gaining too much

You only need about 300 extra calories a day when you're pregnant.

While you're pregnant, you will need additional nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy.

However, that does not mean you need to eat twice as much. In fact, you only need about 300 extra calories a day. That's about the number of calories you'd find in 1 banana and a 16 ounce glass of nonfat milk.

If you gain too much weight during pregnancy, you may develop health problems such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, which can cause complications during childbirth and beyond. You are also more likely to have a premature baby.

Studies show that extra weight during pregnancy nearly doubles the risk that your baby will be heavier than usual.A service of the Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente News Center. Please review the privacy policy and terms of use as they differ from those of this site. Heavy babies have more birth complications and are more likely to become overweight later in life. In addition, extra weight during pregnancy increases the risk that you will keep the weight on after delivery.

Check with your doctor if you have any questions or worries about the amount of weight you're gaining. If you find you're gaining too much too quickly, try the following tips:

  • Cut down on fats like butter, margarine, oil, gravy, mayonnaise, salad dressing, sour cream, and sauces.
  • Choose lean meats: fish or skinless chicken and turkey.
  • Drink nonfat or 1 percent milk.
  • Eat nonfat or low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheeses.
  • Avoid fried foods and fast-food restaurants.
  • Cut down on, or eliminate, regular soda and other sugary drinks (like juice) and replace them with water. Get ideas for other drinks that skip the sugar.
  • Snack on fresh fruit, raw vegetables, or air-popped popcorn (without butter) instead of chips and candy.
  • For dessert, try sherbet or fruit ices instead of ice cream, cakes, or pastries.
  • Read food labels so that you know what you're eating.
  • Recognize the different names for added sugar on a food label and avoid added sugar in beverages and food.
  • Walk every day unless your practitioner tells you to rest. See which exercises are safe during pregnancy.

If your resources are limited, you may qualify for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)Kaiser Permanente is not responsible for the content or policies of external Internet sites, or mobile apps. nutritional program and get financial assistance for basic healthy foods.

Don't diet

Your weight gain is very important to your baby's normal growth and development. If you don't eat enough of the right foods, your baby may not get important nutrients needed to grow.

Eat the recommended amounts of healthy foods each day and don't skip meals. You can look at the USDA's Daily Food Plan for MomsKaiser Permanente is not responsible for the content or policies of external Internet sites, or mobile apps. to create a healthy eating plan during your pregnancy.

"If you are gaining too much weight, take a look at what you are drinking. You should get your daily servings of dairy and fruits but be aware that each cup of milk or juice is at least 100 calories. Water is a good choice to keep well hydrated," says Lisa Marquardt, Kaiser Permanente physician assistant.

*The recommendations here assume a 1 to 4 pound weight gain in the 1st trimester.

Source: Adapted from copyrighted material of The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.; USDA Food and Nutrition ServiceKaiser Permanente is not responsible for the content or policies of external Internet sites, or mobile apps.; Institute of Medicine's 2009 report: Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines

Reviewed by: Jeff Convissar, MD, November 2015
Additional Kaiser Permanente reviewers

© 2015 Kaiser Permanente

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