Weight gain during pregnancy is normal and necessary to support the developing fetus and provide them with the room they need to grow without any hindrance. But how much weight gain is normal and healthy during your pregnancy term?
Many pregnant women either complain about gaining too much weight in a short period or not gaining enough at all. Surprisingly, both of these extremities impact the health of the mother and the baby.
If you are wondering how much weight to gain when pregnant and the safe ways of doing so, this article will answer all your questions in detail.
In this Article
- 1 Why do Women Gain Weight During Pregnancy?
- 2 How Much Weight Should I Ideally Gain during Pregnancy?
- 2.1 How much Weight Does one gain during Each Trimester?
- 2.2 First Trimester
- 2.3 Second Trimester
- 2.4 Third Trimester
- 2.5 How to Gain a Healthy Weight during Pregnancy?
- 2.6 FAQs
- 2.7 Conclusion
Why do Women Gain Weight During Pregnancy?
When you think about weight gain during pregnancy, the most common thought is that it’s due to the developing fetus inside the womb.
And while that is definitely a reason, there are several other components that contribute to the substantial weight gain in the expecting mother.
Ideally, the safe and healthy weight gain during pregnancy is around 25-35 pounds. But what accounts for this weight gain?
|Component contributing to weight gain||Amount (in pounds)|
|Baby or the developing fetus||8 pounds (by the end of the last trimester)|
|Amniotic fluid||2-3 pounds|
|Breast tissue||2-3 pounds|
|Blood supply||4 pounds|
|Stored fats||5-9 pounds|
|Uterus (extended)||2-5 pounds|
Gaining the 25-35 pounds of extra weight during pregnancy is encouraged to ensure a healthy pregnancy term and to reduce any potential complications.
How Much Weight Should I Ideally Gain during Pregnancy?
As a standard, you will hear that you should gain around 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. While that is a standard marker, “how much weight should I gain when pregnant” also relies on your body mass index.
The “standard” weight gain will differ depending on your pre-pregnancy body mass index. This means that if you are underweight, you might need to gain more than the standard 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. Similarly, if you are overweight or obese, you might be advised by your OBGYN to gain less weight during pregnancy.
Let us walk you through a chart for better understanding:
|Pre-pregnancy BMI||Ideal Weight gain during pregnancy|
|Less than 18.5 (underweight)||28-40 lbs|
|18.5 to 24.9 (normal)||25-35 lbs|
|25.0 to 29.9 (overweight)||15-25 lbs|
|30.0 and above (obese)||11-20 lbs|
The marker for weight gain during pregnancy almost doubles the standard when you are carrying twins or more babies.
How much Weight Does one gain during Each Trimester?
Now, you have an idea that, as a standard, a pregnant mother with a normal BMI should gain 25-35 pounds throughout their pregnancy. But, the question is, “When to gain weight during pregnancy?”
Will an expecting mother suddenly gain 25 pounds right before giving birth to their baby? Biologically, that doesn’t happen. Instead, the weight gain is distributed throughout each trimester.
But, then again, there is no standard for how much weight every pregnant woman will gain during their pregnancy. Some women gain most of their pregnancy weight during the second trimester, while others gain it during the third trimester. It varies and is often a subjective experience.
Your pregnancy weight gain will depend on the kind of diet you are following, the kind of lifestyle you are leading, your physiological health, hormonal balance, etc.
That said, here’s a standard rundown of how much a pregnant woman gain through each pregnancy trimester:
The first trimester is when you gain around 2-4 pounds, primarily due to the developing fetus, placenta, and the amniotic fluid. Since morning sickness is very prevalent during the first trimester, weight gain is quite low during this period. Many pregnant women also have a strong aversion to food during the first trimester, preventing rapid weight gain.
This is when most of the weight gain happens. You can expect to gain around 12-14 pounds during the second trimester, especially with the rampant growth of the fetus and the changing reproductive anatomy of the mother. The volume of amniotic fluid increases too, which contributes to weight gain.
The last stretch of pregnancy is when you might gain another 10-12 pounds. Some women notice their weight steadying as they step from the second to the third trimester, so there might not be any weight gain during the third trimester in some pregnant women. Some women often lose weight during the third trimester, and it’s normal and nothing you have to worry about.
Again, we have to reiterate that these numbers are average. They aren’t representative of every pregnant woman’s weight gain. Some might gain more, and some might gain less. It depends on the mother and how well the baby is developing inside the womb.
How to Gain a Healthy Weight during Pregnancy?
Now that you have a better idea about the ideal weight gain during pregnancy, worrying about how to gain that healthy weight is common.
If you are underweight, focusing on a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is crucial. Similarly, if you are overweight or obese, you need to pay attention to gaining the right amount of weight to support your pregnancy.
To be fair, several factors enable you to gain weight during pregnancy when underweight. Let us walk you through a few tips that work:
Eat smaller meals – Instead of eating three big meals like breakfast, lunch, and dinner, focus on eating smaller and frequent meals. It could be 5-6 meals throughout the day but with a smaller portion size so it’s easier to digest.
Focus on snacking – Pregnancy demands different kinds of cravings. Some are healthy, and some aren’t. However, you need to realize that snacking is a great way to gain weight in a healthy way. It curbs unhealthy hunger pangs and ensures you are satiated with the right food throughout the day.
Stay active – Weight gain isn’t just about eating. Since pregnancy puts a woman’s body through so many changes, staying active and indulging in “pregnancy-safe” exercises is crucial for a healthy body.
Eat a balanced meal – Whenever it comes to eating the main meals of the day, focus on balancing your plate with everything, including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibers, etc. In order to do so, you need to fill your plate with foods like leafy greens, rice, and protein of choice like meat, fish, eggs, etc. Eating nutrient-dense foods is crucial for the developing fetus too.
Once you start gaining weight during your pregnancy, your aim is to maintain a healthy weight as per the instructions of your OBGYN. The last thing you want is to gain an unprecedented amount of weight, putting your and the baby’s health at risk.
What if I gain too much weight during pregnancy?
Excess weight gain (than standard) is quite common. It could be due to excessive hunger, overeating, poor activity levels throughout the day, etc. Irrespective of the reasoning, you need to discuss the same with your OBGYN. Depending on your overall health, they will suggest ways to either maintain and stabilize your weight gain or ask you to lose a few pounds until childbirth.
Should I exercise during pregnancy?
Moderate exercise during pregnancy is normal and encouraged to keep the mother and the baby in the best health. Your doctor might ask you to go for a walk or even indulge in some swimming to keep yourself in the best health.
Gaining a steady weight during pregnancy is okay and nothing you need to worry about. However, if you notice a steady decline in weight without any dieting or exercise, that’s when you need to consult a doctor.
Weight gain during pregnancy sparks a lot of discussions. Being informed about every prospect of your pregnancy is crucial. It allows you to keep a check on your health and prevent any potential complications along the way. We hope this article gives you all the answers you want to know regarding weight gain through each trimester of your pregnancy journey.