Pregnancy is a unique time during which the body undergoes multiple changes. Pregnant women experience changes in their moods, skin, joints, and body weight. The weight gain occurs as the result of the added weight of the developing baby, the developing placenta, and water retention due to the hormonal effects of pregnancy.
Gaining too little or too much weight can have health implications during pregnancy and after childbirth. The amount of weight that a woman should gain during pregnancy depends on their pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). BMI is the weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of height (in meters). So, if a woman is underweight, they should gain 28 to 40 pounds throughout the pregnancy, whereas if a woman is overweight, they may need to gain only 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy.
In general, the recommended weight gain is 2 to 4 pounds during the first three months of pregnancy and 1 pound a week during the rest of the pregnancy. Most women with normal BMI gain about 22 to 28 pounds during pregnancy. However, while expecting twins, the recommended weight gain is higher.
Pregnancy weight gain in each trimester
Pregnancy weight gain in each trimester will depend on a variety of factors, such as metabolism, activity level, and genetics. Gradual and steady weight gain is important since the baby needs a steady supply of nutrients and calories to grow in the womb.
Recommended weight gain during each trimester for women with normal BMI before conception is
- First trimester: Weight gain should be minimal. Most women gain 2 to 4 pounds during the first trimester. Some women may lose some weight due to morning sickness, which is normal. Some may gain more weight in the first trimester due to pregnancy cravings. Weight loss or gain of more than 5 to 10 percent of the pre-pregnancy weight in the first trimester needs to be discussed with the doctor.
- Second trimester: During the second trimester weight gain should be steady, averaging around 1 pound a week for the rest of the pregnancy. This comes to around 11 to 13 pounds in the second trimester.
- Third trimester: Weight gain should be steady and gradual during the third trimester. Healthy weight gain should be around 0.5 to 1 pound a week. At the end of the third trimester, some women find their weight remains steady or goes down during the ninth month, which is normal.
What is the normal weight gain in pregnancy?
The recommended weight gain in pregnancy is
- 28-40 lbs for underweight women (BMI under 18.5 kg/m2).
- 25-35 lbs for women in the normal weight range (BMI of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2).
- 15-25 lbs for overweight women (BMI between 25 and 29.9 kg/m2).
- 11-20 lbs for obese women (BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more).
|Women Weight and BMI||Weight Gain (lbs)|
|Underweight women (BMI under 18.5 kg/m2)||28-40 lbs|
|Normal weight range (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/me)||25-35 lbs|
|Overweight women (BMI between 25 and 29.9 kg/m2)||15-25 lbs|
|Obese women (BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more)||11-20 lbs|
While expecting twins, the recommended weight gain is
- 37-54 lbs for women in the normal weight range (BMI of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2).
- 31-50 lbs for overweight women (BMI between 25 and 29.9 kg/m2).
- 25-42 lbs for obese women (BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more).
|Women Weight and BMI||Weight Gain (lbs)|
|Women in the normal weight range (BMI of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2||37-54 lbs|
|Overweight women (BMI between 25 and 29.9 kg/m2)||31-50 lbs|
|Obese women (BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more)||25-42 lbs|
When to see a doctor?
See a doctor in the following situations:
- Weight gain of more than 3 pounds in one week in the second trimester or more than 2 pounds in a week in the third trimester.
- No weight gain for more than two weeks in a row between the fourth and eighth months.
How to maintain healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Tips to maintain healthy weight gain during pregnancy include
- Keeping track of weight regularly throughout pregnancy.
- Eating a balanced diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, nuts, legumes, poultry, fatty fish, and lean meat.
- Eating twice as healthy and not twice the amount.
- Limiting intake of empty calories found in soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, whole milk, and fatty meats.
- Increasing calorie intake:
- First trimester: 1800 calories per day
- Second trimester: 2200 calories per day
- Third trimester: 2400 calories per day
- If carrying twins or multiple babies, eat additional 300 calories for each baby.
- If underweight before pregnancy, more calories should be taken.
- Physical activity of 150 minutes (2½ hours) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking is advised.
- Weight loss and dieting are not recommended in pregnancy.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006. Pregnancy and Birth: Weight Gain in Pregnancy. June 17, 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279575/
Top How Much Weight Should You Gain Each Trimester? Related Articles
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!
How Much Sleep Should a Pregnant Woman Get in Second Trimester Pregnancy?On average, you will get seven and a half hours of sleep per night during the second trimester of pregnancy.
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 (Week by Week, Trimesters)Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
Preeclampsia (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension)Preeclampsia is related to increased blood pressure and protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia typically begins after the 20th week of pregnancy. When preeclampsia causes seizures, it is termed "eclampsia" and is the second leading cause of maternal death of in the US. Preeclampsia is the leading cause of fetal complications. Risk factors for preeclampsia include high blood pressure, obesity, multiple births, and women with preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma. Pregnancy planning and lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy.
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.
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.
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.
What Happens in the 2nd Trimester Pregnancy?The second trimester of pregnancy is often the most comfortable for women. In the second trimester of pregnancy, a woman experiences a growing belly, body pains, melasma, bleeding gums, dizziness, carpel tunnel syndrome, swelling and other changes.
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.