Weight Gain During Pregnancy: How Many Pounds Should I Put On?

Many women ask themselves how much weight they should gain during pregnancy. Being aware of the factors that influence weight gain during pregnancy will help you take any necessary precautions to ensure a healthy gestation for you and your little one.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy: How Many Pounds Should I Put On?

Last update: 11 May, 2018

Weight gain during pregnancy is one of the factors that doctors pay close attention to. Putting on too much or too little weight can be an early sign of certain health problems.

However, there is no standard amount of weight that every pregnant woman should gain. Like many things, weight gain during pregnancy will vary widely among women.

With this in mind, try not to focus too much on the weight that you put on during pregnancy. Instead, pay attention to the kind of food that you’re eating.

Your diet during pregnancy will impact your health and that of your baby.

Weight gain during pregnancy

When we talk about weight gain during pregnancy, there are a few common beliefs that we should address, some of them more accurate than others. One factor that is significant is the mother’s weight before she conceived.

Both obesity and low body weight can be risk factors for pregnancy. Women who are very underweight or overweight will need to pay extra attention to their diet to avoid any risks to the health of the fetus.

Other factors that play a role in weight gain during pregnancy are fluid retention and diet, as well as the following:

  • How much the fetus weighs
  • The weight of the placenta
  • The amniotic fluid
  • How much the uterus grows
  • Blood flow
  • The weight of mammary tissue and fat deposits

How much weight should I put on during pregnancy?

This will differ for every pregnant woman. Every body and every pregnancy is different.

However, the normal range of weight gain is between 25 and 35 pounds  for women of average weight.

Some women aim to gradually put on weight according to the following formula:

  • In the first three months: from 1–5 pounds
  • By the second trimester: 6–10 pounds
  • During the final trimester: 1 pound a week

Pregnant women who are underweight at the start of pregnancy should put on more weight, up to around 40 pounds.

Meanwhile, those who are overweight will need to gain 15 to 25 pounds. Finally, women who are obese may need to gain between 11 and 20 pounds.

Weight gain during pregnancy should come from a healthy diet that provides all the nutrients that the mother and baby need.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

How should a pregnant woman eat?

When you find out that you’re pregnant, you’ll need to follow a healthy, balanced diet. In general, dieticians recommend increasing your calorie intake as follows:

  • In the first trimester: eat around the same amount of calories as before you conceived.
  • During the second trimester: eat an extra 300 calories a day.
  • By the third trimester: your calorie intake should be up by around 500 calories in total.

This diet should be accompanied by gentle daily exercise, depending on the stage of pregnancy.

Instead of eating more than you did before, try to eat nutrient-rich foods such as dairy products and food that is high in protein. These nutrients play an essential role in the development of the fetus.

“Weight gain during pregnancy should come from a healthy diet that provides all the nutrients that the mother and baby need”

Managing weight gain during pregnancy

To avoid the anxiety that can go along with weight gain during pregnancy, it is important to stay in control as you pack on the pounds.

To do this effectively, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Balanced diet

Cut down on saturated fats and increase your consumption of omega 3, a fatty acid present in fish, nuts and linseed.

This will help your baby grow and promote the development of the central nervous system.

“Knowing how much weight you should put on during pregnancy will help you take action to reduce any risks”

Medical checkups

A monthly medical checkup will enable your obstetrician to monitor the growth of the fetus and make sure that you’re eating a healthy diet.

Your doctor will also take your blood pressure and determine whether your body is retaining a lot of water weight.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Eat little and often

Eating a healthy mid-morning and afternoon snack will curb hunger. Within reason, snacking can reduce overeating and help avoid excess weight gain during pregnancy.

Try to drink two liters of water a day. Avoid packaged juices and soda, which often contain large amounts of sugar.

As long as you’re in a suitable state of health, physical activity is also important during pregnancy. Walking, aqua aerobics or other gentle exercise under the supervision of a specialist are ideal.

Knowing how much weight you should put on during pregnancy will help you take action to reduce any risks.

Remember that you’re eating for your baby as well as yourself.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Frederick IO, Williams MA, Sales AE, Martin DP, Killien M. Pre-pregnancy body mass index, gestational weight gain, and other maternal characteristics in relation to infant birth weight. Matern Child Health J. 2008;12(5):557-67. 5.
  • San Román, Mª A. Aumento de peso durante el embarazo. Modificaciones fisiológicas relacionadas con la ganancia de peso y necesidades nutricionales. Trabajo de Fin de Grado. Escuela Universitaria de Enfermería ‘Casa de Salud Valdecilla’. 2013. [En línea].
  • Schieve LA, Cogswell ME, Scanlon KS. Trends in pregnancy weight gain within and outside ranges recommended by the Institute of Medicine in a WIC population. Matern Child Health J. 1998;2(2):111-6.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.