Most women should gain somewhere between 25 and 35 pounds (11 and 16 kilograms) during pregnancy. If a woman does not gain enough weight, there may be health problems for the mother and baby.
What is the Right Amount of Weight to Gain?
Most women will gain 2 to 4 pounds (1 to 2 kilograms) during the first trimester, and 1 pound (0.5 kilogram) a week for the rest of the pregnancy. Through the entire pregnancy:
Some women have a hard time gaining weight during pregnancy. Sometimes, it is because they start a pregnancy underweight, or they have other health issues that keep them from gaining weight. Sometimes, they are not able to keep food down due to nausea and vomiting.
Either way, a balanced, nutrient-rich diet, along with moderate exercise, is the basis for a healthy pregnancy. Ask your health care provider how many calories you should eat each day, and how you can gain the right amount of weight.
If you Need to Gain Weight During Pregnancy
If your provider says you should gain more weight, here are some tips to help:
Body Image and Pregnancy
If you have struggled with your weight in the past, it may be hard to accept that it is OK to gain weight now. It is normal to feel anxious as the numbers on the scale edge up.
Pregnancy is not a time to diet or worry about weight gain. Keep in mind that weight gain is needed for a healthy pregnancy. The extra weight will come off after you have had your baby. Remember not to gain too much, as this can cause your baby to be too big. A healthy diet and regular exercise will help you have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
If worries about your body image affect your pregnancy or daily life, talk to your provider.
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Cline M, Young N. Antepartum care. In: Kellerman RD, Bope ET, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2018. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:1123-1129.
West EH, Hark L, Catalano PM. Nutrition during pregnancy. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 7.
Review Date: 9/25/2018
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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