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How much weight should I gain during my pregnancy?
You can use our pregnancy weight gain calculator to find out how much you should gain (based on your height and pre-pregnancy weight) and whether you are in your target weight range.
Or you can check the chart below. To find your target weight gain, you'll need to know your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). Calculate your BMI here.
These guidelines for pregnancy weight gain were issued by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2009 and are the most current available.
|Your pre-pregnancy BMI||Your target weight gain if you're carrying one child||Your target weight gain if you're carrying twins|
|Less than 18.5||28 to 40 pounds||no recommendation|
|18.5 to 24.9||25 to 35 pounds||37 to 54 pounds|
|25 to 29.9||15 to 25 pounds||31 to 50 pounds|
|30 or higher||11 to 20 pounds||25 to 42 pounds|
How can I keep my pregnancy weight gain within a healthy range?
If you're starting pregnancy at a healthy weight, expect to gain 1 to 5 pounds in the first trimester and about 1 pound per week for the rest of your pregnancy.
Keep in mind that eating for two doesn't mean eating twice as much as you usually do – you don't even need any extra calories in your first trimester. In your second trimester, experts recommend getting about 340 extra calories a day and 450 extra calories daily in the third trimester.
If you need help managing your weight, ask your healthcare provider to recommend a healthy diet and exercise program that's right for you.
What if I gain more than the recommended amount of weight during my pregnancy?
Gaining more than recommended during pregnancy puts you at a higher risk for high blood pressure disorders, including gestational hypertension (high blood pressure that starts during pregnancy) and preeclampsia (sometimes called toxemia). These conditions may result in a preterm delivery.
And unless you start out underweight, gaining too much pregnancy weight also increases your risk of:
- Cesarean delivery
- Having a large baby, which can mean a difficult delivery
- Starting out your next pregnancy overweight, increasing your odds of certain complications
What if I gain less than the recommended amount of weight during my pregnancy?
Gaining too little weight during pregnancy, especially if you start out underweight, can mean a higher risk of delivering a low-birth-weight baby (less than 5.5 pounds). This can cause a variety of problems for the baby, including feeding difficulty and low blood sugar. A low-birth-weight baby may also need to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time.
However, for women who begin pregnancy more than 50 pounds overweight, gaining little or no weight can lower the risk of pregnancy complications, such as hypertension, preeclampsia, and large infants.
If you're overweight, talk your doctor (ideally before you become pregnant) about ways to minimize your risks, especially if you have a medical condition related to obesity, such as hypertension or diabetes.
Do most pregnant women gain the recommended amount of weight?
According to Kathleen Rasmussen, lead author of the committee that issued the 2009 National Academies report, about half of pregnant women gain the recommended amount of weight. But most women who start out overweight or obese gain more than the guidelines recommend.
How do I deal with anxiety about how my body is changing during pregnancy?
If you've struggled with controlling your weight in the past, or even if you've never dieted in your life, you may have a hard time accepting that it's okay to gain weight now. It's normal to feel anxious as the numbers on the scale go up. Try to keep in mind that some weight gain is important for a healthy pregnancy and that those extra pounds will eventually come off after you've had the baby.
If weight gain is getting you down, you're not alone. Find out how other moms-to-be are coping with putting on the pregnancy pounds.
How do I lose weight after I give birth?
You'll likely lose about half of your pregnancy weight gain in the first six weeks after delivery. The baby accounts for about 7.5 pounds, and the amniotic fluid, placenta, and extra body fluids and blood in your body add up to another 8 to 12 pounds.
For the rest, remember that it took nine months to put on the weight, and it can take just as long or longer for it to come off. A healthy diet combined with regular exercise is the best way to shed the pounds – and keep them off.
Don't start cutting calories right away, though. Caring for a newborn requires lots of energy – and that means giving your body the nutrition it needs. If you're patient, you may be surprised by how much weight you lose naturally, especially if you're breastfeeding.
If you do have trouble losing weight, consider seeing a registered dietitian and perhaps a fitness trainer to help you lose the appropriate amount of weight at a healthy rate.
This article was reviewed by:
Kathleen M. Rasmussen, ScD, RD, the Nancy Schlegel Meinig professor of maternal and child nutrition at Cornell University and chair of the IOM committee that authored the May 2009 Weight Gain During Pregnancy Report.
Loralei L. Thornburg, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the division of maternal fetal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.