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How much weight is OK to gain during pregnancy?

Pregnant women only need about 300 extra calories per day. While every woman is going to be different, research shows that for a normal weight woman (BMI 18.5 – 25), the optimal pregnancy total weight gain is about 25-35 pounds7. Larger women will gain less and smaller women gain more. All women should decrease their focus on weight and focus on the quality of their diet, ensuring good nutrition.

  • BMI <18.5 kg/m2 (underweight) - typically gain 28 to 40 lbs.
  • BMI 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2 (optimal weight) - typically gain 25 to 35 lbs.
  • BMI 25.0 to 29.9 kg/m2 (overweight) - typically gain 15 to 25 lbs.
  • BMI ≥30.0 kg/m2 (obese) - typically gain 11 to 20 lbs.

During the first and second trimesters, weight gain manifests as an increase in maternal fat stores, plus a 60% increase in blood volume. Later in pregnancy, more of the weight gain is due to the fetal growth, amniotic fluid, breast development, and placenta. Overweight women sometimes even experience weight loss during the first trimester and slowly gain a small amount over the second and third trimesters. There is no minimum amount of weight an overweight woman needs to gain as long as she is eating micronutrient dense foods and fetal growth is on track.

Return to Pregnancy Diet (Menu Plans)

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