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Weight Gain During Pregnancy
On average, a healthy amount of weight gain during pregnancy is 25-35 pounds (11.3-15.9 kilograms) for normal weight women. This is usually reached by gaining 1-4 pounds (0.4 to 1.8 kilograms) during the first trimester, and about 2-4 pounds (.9-1.8 kilograms) each month from 4 months until delivery.
Where does this weight come from? According to the Nemours Foundation, this is how a 30 pound (13.6 kilogram) pregnancy weight gain is typically distributed:
- 7.5 pounds (3.4 kilograms): your baby’s weight
- 1.5 pounds (.6 kilograms): the placenta
- 2 pounds (.9 kilograms): enlargement of your uterus
- 2 pounds (.9 kilograms): amniotic fluid surrounding your baby
- 2 pounds (.9 kilograms): breast enlargement
- 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms): your extra blood
- 7 pounds (3.17 kilograms): your extra stored nutrients
- 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms): your extra body fluids
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Keep in mind that pregnancy weight gain may vary.
- If you are underweight, you should gain 28-40 pounds (12.7-18.14 kilograms).
- If you are overweight, you should gain 15-25 pounds (6.8-11.33 kilograms).
- If you are obese, you should gain 11-20 pounds (4.9-9.07 kilograms).
- If you are having multiples (twins, triplets), you will gain more weight, so talk to your doctor about the amount of weight gain that will be best for you.
If you gain too much weight during pregnancy, you will be at increased risk of complications, including diabetes, high blood pressure, constipation, and back pain. In addition, your labor and delivery may be longer and more difficult. You may also be at increased risk of needing a cesarean section.
If you gain too much weight during pregnancy, your baby may also be at risk for being stillborn or having congenital abnormalities at birth. Babies born to obese mothers are also at risk for obesity and heart disease later in life.
If you don’t gain enough weight, your baby will not get the nutrients needed to grow and develop properly.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Pregnancy Association
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters
Eating during pregnancy. Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition%5Fcenter/dietary%5Fneeds/eating%5Fpregnancy.html. Updated May 2013. Accessed February 11, 2016.
Fit for two: tips for pregnancy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Weight—Control Information Network website. Available at: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/two.htm. Updated June 2013. Accessed February 11, 2016.
Leddy M, Power M, Schulkin J. The impact of maternal obesity on maternal and fetal health. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Fall;1(4):170-178.
Weight gain in pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 17, 2016. Accessed February 15, 2016.
6/24/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Fyfe EM, Anderson NH, North RA, et al. Risk of first-stage and second-stage cesarean delivery by maternal body mass index among nulliparous women in labor at term. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;117(6):1315-1322.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 02/2016
- Update Date: 03/15/2015