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Healthy Weight Gain In Pregnancy

Gaining the right amount of weight is a good way to help your baby be healthy when it is born and when he or she is older. The total amount of weight you should gain depends on your weight before you became pregnant. Women who have a healthy weight should gain between 25 to 35 pounds. Women who are overweight or underweight will need to gain different amounts. Check with your doctor to know how much weight gain is best for you and your baby.


Why is healthy weight gain so important?

Gaining too little weight can cause your baby to be small. Low birth weight (under 5 1/2 pounds) is a threat to your baby’s’ health and life. Your baby will usually gain weight properly if you follow the weight gain guidelines during pregnancy.
Gaining too much weight can cause you to have a difficult delivery and put the baby at risk. The weight can also be hard to lose after your baby is born. Gaining the right amount will help you get back to your normal weight several months after your baby is born, especially if you exercise and continue healthful eating habits.


How fast should I gain weight?

Generally, for women with a healthy weight pre-pregnancy, doctors will recommend 1-4 pounds during the first 3 months and 2-4 pounds/month during the last 6 months of pregnancy. The weight gain advice for underweight and overweight mothers is different and should be discussed with a doctor. You may also go to MyPlate Plan to create your own personalized food plan.


Table 1. For a woman pregnant with one baby

Pre-pregnancy BMI Status Recommended Weight Gain during Pregnancy


BMI less than 18.5

28-40 Pounds

Normal Weight

BMI 18.5 - 24.9

25-35 Pounds


BMI 25.0 -29.9

15-25 Pounds


BMI equal to or greater than 30.0

11-20 Pounds

Where do the pounds go?

The weight you gain is not just the baby. There are other important changes in your body that add to the weight you are gaining.


Table 2. Where do the pounds go?

Baby 7-8 pounds
Placenta 1 1/2 Pounds
Amniotic Fluid 2 Pounds
Uterus Enlargement 2 Pounds
Breast Enlargement 2-3 Pounds
Maternal Blood Volume 3-4 Pounds
Fluids in Tissue 3-4 Pounds
Fat Deposits 7-10 Pounds
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