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Putting on the Pounds: Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Pregnancy is a time of change. The amount of weight gained is important in terms of the health of the pregnancy and baby. It is common for pregnant woman to question what is “normal” weight gain during pregnancy. We will be discussing the recommended weight gain during pregnancy and potential issues associated with abnormal weight gain.



How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?


In order to determine your ideal weight gain, it is important to determine your body mass index (BMI) prior to pregnancy. Your medical records likely have your BMI documented. If not, a quick way to calculate your BMI is as follows: BMI = (weight in pounds x 703) / (height in inches x height in inches).


If you were underweight prior to pregnancy (BMI less than 18.5), you should gain 28 to 40 pounds. If you had a normal BMI (BMI 18.5-24.9) prior to pregnancy, you should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. If you were overweight with a BMI of 25.0-29.9, you should gain between 15 and 25 pounds. Women with a BMI of 30.0 or greater should gain between 11 and 20 pounds. These numbers increase slightly if there is a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.).

Why Is the Amount of Weight Gain Important?

If you gain less than the recommended amount, there is a risk that the baby will be too small. Babies who are too small are at increased risk of illness and developmental delays. If you gain more that the recommended amount, there is an increased risk that the baby will be too large. A large baby increases the risk of birth complications and a Cesarean section.


What Can Pregnant Women Do to Achieve Recommended Weight Gain?


It is important to talk to your provider early in the pregnancy or even preconception. Your provider can confirm the incremental weight goals. It is important to understand your caloric demand and track your intake if needed. Additionally, women should discuss exercise recommendations with their physician.


Takeaway Message:


It is important for pregnant women to be aware of the recommended weight gain during pregnancy. Women should discuss concerns with their physician and obtain guidance regarding diet and exercise. Gaining the recommended amount of weight can help women to achieve a healthy pregnancy and delivery.


Did you gain the recommended amount during pregnancy? What are some tips that you could share? We would love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.

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