Pregnancy is a time filled with excitement and anticipation.While there is a lot to look forward to, there is one aspect that may worry some women: How much weight did you gain during pregnancy?
This article will explore how much weight women can expect to gain on average each trimester and what constitutes healthy weight gain, as explained by a veteran obstetrician-gynecologist.
When did you start gaining weight during pregnancy?
Pregnancy is divided into three months: the first lasts the first 12 weeks; the second trimester includes weeks 13 to 26; and the last trimester lasts from week 27 until the end of pregnancy, according to Nemours Kids Health.
“Most women start gaining weight in the second trimester,” says Dr.Adi Davidov, vice president and director of obstetrics and gynecology at Staten Island University Hospital in Staten Island, New York.
Pregnancy weight gain chart: what to expect
The Mayo Clinic says minimal weight gain is usually needed during the first trimester, which can help ease it if you experience morning sickness.
If you’re starting out at a healthy weight, your goal is to gain 1 to 4 pounds (0.5 to 1.8 kg) during the first few months of your pregnancy.
There is no need for extra calories, just a nutritious diet.
Guidance for later trimesters, especially for women who are underweight or starting at a healthy weight, emphasizes steady weight gain.
Expect to gain about 1 pound (0.5 kg) per week until birth.Consuming 300 calories daily—equivalent to half a sandwich and skim milk—can support this objective.
If you’re overweight, the advice translates to about one-half pound (0.2 kilograms) weekly during the later trimesters.
You can accomplish this by including low-fat milk, an ounce of cheese, and a serving of fresh fruit in your diet.
The American Pregnancy Association breaks down anticipated weight gain by trimester as follows:
- First trimester: 1-4.5 pounds
- Second trimester: 1-2 pounds per week
- Third trimester: 1-2 pounds per week
How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?
Though weight gain can vary from individual to individual, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more specifically state that the weight gain you should aim for during pregnancy depends on your body mass index (BMI) before becoming pregnant.
BMI is an estimate of body fat based on weight and height.
“For patients with a normal BMI, the recommended total weight gain during pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds,” says Davidov.Women with a high BMI should gain less, about 20 to 25 pounds.Women with a low BMI should gain more weight, about 35 to 45 pounds.
Although advice may vary slightly by provider, here are some basic guidelines from the CDC:
- If, before pregnancy, you were underweight with a BMI under 18.5, you will gain 28 to 40 pounds.
- If, before pregnancy, you were of normal weight with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9, you should gain 25 to 35 pounds.
- If, before pregnancy, you were overweight with a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9, you should gain 15 to 25 pounds.
- If, before pregnancy, you were obese with a BMI of 30.0 or higher, limit weight gain to 11 to 20 pounds.
- If you are pregnant with multiples, your weight gain expectations will, of course, be different.
“For women with a normal BMI, both excessive weight gain and minimal weight gain are considered unhealthy.
The exact number is not clearly established, but I often tell my patients that gaining more than 50 pounds or less than 10 pounds is unhealthy,” Davidov says.
Excessive weight gain is often caused by food consumption and a sedentary lifestyle, he says. The Cleveland Clinic points out that the risk of gestational diabetes is higher if the extra pounds come early.