The healthy way to gain weight during pregnancy

Keep close tabs on your pregnancy weight gain.

food in a grocery cart with pregnant woman in background

Appropriate weight gain during pregnancy is necessary for you and your baby. Gaining more weight than recommended increases the risk of complications for both of you, according to research results released by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Research has also shown that the link between what you eat and drink during pregnancy and how it affects your baby’s health is much stronger than once thought. While healthy eating is always important, it’s more important when you are pregnant because of its direct impact on your baby’s health.

How much weight should I gain?

A woman of average weight before getting pregnant should gain 25 to 35 pounds. Underweight women should gain 28 to 40 pounds while only 15 to 25 pounds is recommended for overweight women. Generally, weight gain should average about 2 to 4 pounds during the first three months of pregnancy and 1 pound a week during the rest of your pregnancy. Women of average weight expecting twins should gain 35 to 45 pounds.

Aren’t I eating for two?

It’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy but the old adage “you’re eating for two” is an overstatement. The average pregnant woman needs only about 300 more calories a day consumed in healthy foods. Doing this will help keep your weight gain appropriate during pregnancy. If you don’t know what healthy foods are and what types of nutrients you need more of during pregnancy, talk to your doctor.

How does my baby affect my weight?

The average recommended weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy obviously is more than the average weight of a newborn baby. A baby averages about 7.5 to 8 pounds. Placenta, amniotic fluid and breast tissue increase about 2 to 3 pounds. Blood supply adds about 4 pounds, stored fat about 5 to 9 pounds and a larger uterus about 2 to 5 pounds. That’s about equal to the recommended weight gain.

If I’m overweight, should I try to lose weight?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages women to begin a nutritious weight reduction program if they are overweight and considering pregnancy. But once you are pregnant, it is not recommended that you try to lose weight. If you are gaining more weight than you think you should, track your eating for a week and talk to your OB/GYN. Your doctor can make some suggestions to help you eat better without excessive caloric consumption. Still, it’s best to wait until after delivery to actively try to lose weight.

Posted In Health Information, Healthy Living, Pregnancy, Women's