- Weight Gain Reasons
- Healthy Weight Gain
- Recommended Weight Gain
- When to See Your Doctor
Why do you gain weight during pregnancy?
Your body undergoes many changes during the nine months of pregnancy. During your pregnancy how much weight gain in the first trimester is appropriate?
Your weight gain during pregnancy helps support your developing baby. Your body has to:
- Grow a placenta
- Produce amniotic fluid
- Increase fat stores
- Generate more blood
- Increase the size of your uterus and breasts
What's a healthy weight gain during your first trimester?
During the first trimester, most women don’t usually gain much weight. Your baby is still tiny. Weight gain in your first trimester should be less than 5 pounds in total.
In the first trimester, many do not gain weight and may even lose weight. An estimated 70% to 80% of pregnant women experience vomiting and nausea, mostly in the first trimester.
Nausea and vomiting are known as “morning sickness," but can happen any time of the day. Morning sickness tends to start before your ninth week of pregnancy and goes away by your 14th week. For some women, vomiting and nausea can last for months. In a few rare cases, it can last throughout the pregnancy.
Nutrition in your first trimester
When you’re pregnant, people may advise you to have bigger portions or eat more, because you’re “eating for two”. That’s a common misconception. Your baby’s nutrition depends on what you eat but you don’t need to eat twice the amount during pregnancy.
In your first trimester, you don’t need to increase your calorie intake. In your first trimester, you should:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Make sure you get enough protein (70 to 80 grams a day)
- Drink enough water
- Take a prenatal vitamin
You may have pregnancy cravings in your first trimester. These may be caused by:
- Hormonal changes
- Lack of the right nutrients
- Heightened sense of taste and smell.
It’s ok to give in to your cravings sometimes. But do so in moderation, or you may gain too much.
Why it's important to gain the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy
Studies have found only about 32% of pregnant women gain the recommended amount of weight. About 48% put on too much and 21% didn’t put on enough.
Putting on too much weight during pregnancy can affect your health and that of your baby. You’re more likely to have a bigger, heavier baby. This can make it harder for you to have a natural delivery. You may need a Cesarean section.
Too much pregnancy weight also increases your risk of:
- Gestational diabetes. A type of diabetes is seen in pregnant women who didn’t have diabetes before pregnancy.
- Pre-eclampsia. This is a life-threatening condition that is characterized by high blood pressure.
Not gaining enough weight may not be safe for your baby. Your baby may be more likely to be born too early or weigh too little at birth.
A baby with a low birth weight may have problems with:
Recommended total weight gain during pregnancy
Talk to your doctor to determine the right weight gain for you. The total amount of weight you should gain depends on several factors:
- Your pre-pregnancy weight
- Your body mass index (BMI)
- If you’re having twins or multiples.
The general guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy are:
- If your BMI is under 18.5: gain between 28 to 40 pounds (about 13 to 18 kilograms).
- If your BMI is between 18.5 to 24.9: gain between 25 to 35 pounds (about 11 to 16 kilograms)
- If your BMI is between 25.0 to 29.9: gain between 15 to 25 pounds (about 7 to 11 kilograms)
- If your BMI is 30 or more: gain between 11 to 20 pounds (about 5 to 9 kilograms).
For women expecting twins, weight gain recommendations are:
- BMI under 18.5: gain between 50 to 62 pounds (about 23 to 28 kilograms).
- BMI between 18.5 to 24.9: gain between 37 to 54 pounds (about 17 to 25 kilograms).
- BMI between 25.0 to 29.9: gain between 31 to 50 pounds (about 14 to 23 kilograms).
- BMI 30 or more: gain between 25 to 42 pounds (about 11 to 19 kilograms).
When to see your doctor
You should see your doctor if:
- Your nausea and vomiting are causing concern and affecting your life.
- You’re losing or gaining a lot of weight in the first trimester.
- You’re having cravings for things like nonfood substances like dirt, laundry starch, or crayons. This may be because you lack iron or zinc.
- Attachment Theory: What It Is, Stages & the Different Attachment Styles
- Gentle Parenting: What It Is, Techniques & Discipline
- U.S. Nursing Homes Fail to Report Many Serious Falls, Bedsores: Study
- The Younger You Get Diabetes, the Higher Your Risk for Dementia Later
- FDA Grants Full Approval to Paxlovid to Treat COVID-19
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "About Adult BMI," "Weight Gain During Pregnancy."
Gastroenterology Clinics of North America: "Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy."
InformedHealth.org: "Pregnancy and birth: Weight gain in pregnancy."
Intermountain Healthcare: "Why Pregnancy Can Make You Have Weird Cravings."
JAMA: "Babies With Low Birth Weight."
The Journal of Clinical Investigation: "Time to change weight gain recommendations for pregnant women with obesity."
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: "What is normal weight gain during pregnancy?"
University of Missouri Health Care: "'Eating for Two' — A Quick Guide to Nutrition During Pregnancy."
Top How Much Gain During My First Trimester Related Articles
16 Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy: Could You Be Pregnant?What are the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy? Can you know before your missed period? Read about nausea and vomiting (morning sickness), bloating, tender breasts, and more. Explore first trimester symptoms of pregnancy and learn what week pregnancy symptoms start.
Am I Pregnant QuizWhat are early pregnancy symptoms? In some women, symptoms range from a missed period to feeling lightheaded. Others may experience typical "morning sickness" and food cravings. Could you be pregnant? Take the quiz!
What Foods Should Be Avoided During the First Trimester of Pregnancy?The first trimester is the first 3 months of your pregnancy. Foods to avoid during the third trimester of pregnancy include raw or undercooked seafood; seafood containing mercury; raw or undercooked eggs; unpasteurized milk or other dairy products; raw sprouts and unwashed vegetables and fruits.
How Soon Can You Get Symptoms of Pregnancy?Early symptoms of pregnancy are usually different for every woman. Some women might experience the first symptoms a week or two after conceiving, whereas others don’t feel anything for months. Many women may tell if they are pregnant within two or three weeks of conceiving, and some women know a lot sooner, even within a few days
Is It Normal to Lose Appetite in 2nd Trimester Pregnancy?What to know about losing your appetite in pregnancy. Learn about the risks and how you can make sure you're eating a healthy diet.
Pregnancy: Multiple Births, Twins, Triplets, and MoreMultiple births occur when a woman bears twins, triplets, or even more babies during pregnancy. More multiples are born today thanks to assisted reproductive technology (ART), including in vitro fertilization using fertility drugs. Women carrying multiples often give birth via C-section.
Pregnancy Myths and Facts QuizBeing pregnant is a delicate time for both mother and baby. Take this pregnancy myths and facts quiz to separate the myths and facts about being pregnant, and learn the truth behind healthy pregnancies!
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms: Am I Pregnant?Pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and not all women experience the same symptoms. When women do experience pregnancy symptoms they may include symptoms including missed menstrual period, mood changes, headaches, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness, and heartburn. Signs and symptoms in late pregnancy include leg swelling and shortness of breath. Options for relief of pregnancy symptoms include exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.
Bleeding During Pregnancy (First Trimester)Bleeding during pregnancy is never normal. Causes of bleeding during the first trimester of a pregnancy may be caused by implantation bleeding, ectopic or tubal pregnancy, subchorionic hemorrhaging, infections, and miscarriage. Bleeding during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors.
Pregnancy Diet (Menu Plans)When a woman is pregnant, she needs more vitamins, minerals, and other foods in her diet to stay healthy and deliver a healthy baby. A healthy pregnancy diet menu plan should consist of lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats (unless you are vegan or vegetarian), and dairy. Examples of healthy pregnancy diet meal plans include holistic pregnancy diet, vegan or vegetarian diet, and low-carb diets. Begin your healthy eating plan around three months before you begin trying to conceive, and follow the same eating plan until after you have stopped breastfeeding. If you are overweight or obese, being pregnant is not the right time to try to lose weight. Discuss your options with your health care professional.
What Foods Should I Eat During My First Trimester of Pregnancy?What to know about diet during the first trimester. Learn more about how to protect and fuel your body and baby during this exciting time.
Stages of Pregnancy: Week by WeekSee pictures on the various stages of pregnancy. See and learn what changes a woman's body goes through and view fetal images of how her baby grows during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
Pregnancy: 7 Common Third Trimester TestsTesting is often recommended during the third trimester of pregnancy. These tests are designed to ensure the health and safety of both the child and mother. Common tests during the third trimester of a woman's pregnancy include:
- group B streptococcus screening,
- electronic fetal heart monitoring,
- nonstress test,
- contraction stress test, and
- a biophysical profile.
When Should You Stop Traveling While Pregnant?For uncomplicated pregnancies, it can be safe to travel during your pregnancy. However, the recommended time to travel is during your second trimester.
Which Trimester Do You Gain the Most Weight During Pregnancy?You don't need to gain much weight during the first trimester, however, during the second and third trimesters your weight gain should be pretty steady.