Weight Gain in Pregnancy

How important is weight gain in pregnancy and how much weight should I gain in pregnancy? These are two very typical questions that many women ask. Weight gain in pregnancy is welcome, and indeed a necessary aspect of being pregnant – you are actually growing another human being.

The baby, the placenta, the bigger bust size, everything will be added to your body, and of course, this all weighs something.

In this article, the following information will be discussed; Click on a title if you need the information fast!

For some women it can be so exciting to feel and see that little bump growing, and for people to recognise and acknowledge your happy state. For some women, pregnancy weight gain can actually be triggering to them. There can be a fear of weight gain during pregnancy for many reasons. Just look at the society we live in. This itself can be a trigger. At times, some people can make unhelpful comments remarking that you have gained too much or too little weight. However, every pregnancy is different and your weight gain through your pregnancy is likely to be different compared to another pregnant mother.

Please remember, there is no judgement on this page and the reason this page exists is to help you create lovely healthy babies, whilst maintaining your own excellent health.

birth weight

The importance of learning to listen to your body at this time of pregnancy is integral. We talked about mindful eating in the breastfeeding article – “How much do I need to eat ” and it is paramount that you learn to listen to your own body’s hunger signals and energy levels and try to stay in tune with your body and what it is feeling and needing. Eating mindfully will generally provide pregnant women with a normal and average weight gain during pregnancy.

Let us take the time to acknowledge, however, that there are some general guidelines around weight gain during pregnancy that we will discuss.

Below is a weight gain in pregnancy calculator which provides some interesting insights into weekly weight change.  If you are carrying too much weight into your pregnancy then it would be wise for you to make some extra healthy food choices – (which will be discussed below). It is also beneficial to look at a pregnancy weight gain calculator, or at least know what pregnancy weight gain week by week is expected, so you can ascertain if you are putting on too much weight or not enough weight. Low pregnancy weight gain will need to be checked out by your medical practitioner. Remember weight gain in pregnancy is desired.

Let’s weigh into this discussion …….

Why is Weight in Pregnancy Important?

  • Too much weight gain in pregnancy obviously has an effect on your health during the pregnancy and for delivery, and your future health
  • Excessive weight gain in pregnancy can lead to problems with your baby’s health and also your baby’s long-term health (Yes – as an adult!)
  • Not enough weight gain in pregnancy – always er on the side of caution and be monitored by your medical professional

Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain – How Much is Baby?

Grow WebMD states that the extra weight in pregnancy is divided up between;

Your Pregnant BodyWeight
Placenta2-3 pounds (1-1.3kg)
Baby8 pounds ( 3.6 kg)
Amniotic Fluid2-3 pounds (1-1.3kg)
Breast Tissue2-3 pounds (1-1.3kg)
Blood Supply4 pounds (1.8 kg)
Stored Fat
for delivery and breastfeeding
5-9 pounds (2.2-4kg)
Larger Uterus2-5 pounds (1-2.2 kg)

How Much Weight Do You Gain in Pregnancy?

The average recommended healthy weight gain in pregnancy for a pregnant woman does depend on which country you reside in, so make sure you check for your country. On average for USA (link WEbdm) and Australian women, an average weight gain can be anywhere between 25 to 35 pounds or 11.5-16 kg

If your pre-pregnancy weight is underweight, then as a pregnant woman a rough estimate of weight gain would be between 28 to 40 pounds or 12.5-18 kg. For pre-pregnant overweight women, a weight gain recommendation is to only gain between 15 to 25 pounds or 7-11 kg.

 Remember these are a guide and sometimes you may need to speak to your Dietitian, Doctor or Midwife to provide another weight goal for you.  

Following is a table that depicts this, for you to look at, from the good calculator site.

BMI Before PregnancyCategoryRecommended Weight Gain Range
Pregnancy with Single Child
Recommended Weight Gain Range
Pregnancy with Twins
<18.5 kg/m2Under Weight28 – 40 lbs
13 – 19 kg
18.5 – 24.9 kg/m2Normal Weight25 – 35 lbs
11 – 16 kg
37 – 54 lbs
17 – 25 kg
25 – 29.9 kg/m2Over Weight15 – 25 lbs
7 – 11 kg
31 – 50 lbs
14 – 23 kg
>30 kg/m2Obese11 – 20 lbs
5 to 9 kg
25 – 42 lbs
11 to 19 kg

Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator

Why is using a pregnancy weight gain calculator beneficial?

Using a calculator is an easy way to keep an eye on your pregnancy weight gain and to set goals for yourself if you are struggling to hit your weight gain goals. It also provides a “pregnancy weight gain chart by week” guide, which shows your approximate weight gain which is both reassuring and helpful for forwarding planning.

lose weight in pregnancy

It is an easy tool to use. You populate the boxes with your relevant information and measurements (such as height and weight) and it provides information on your BMI (body mass index), your target pregnancy weight gain as a whole and your recommended weight range for the week of pregnancy that you are actually in.

This tool also shows you week by week, the average target for weight gain. This is very useful to use as a guide.

Good calculators have a calculator for monitoring pregnancy weight gain. The site explains in more detail how to use the tool.

Have a go here at a pregnancy weight calculator from goodcalculators.com:  https://goodcalculators.com/pregnancy-weight-gain-calculator/

Why Is It Important To Have a Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain?

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that it is important to gain the recommended weight gain in pregnancy.

If Pregnancy Weight Gain is Less than Recommended

  • If you gain less than the recommended amount of weight, this could be related to delivering a baby that may have a smaller birth weight.
  • Some babies with a small birthweight could have difficulty commencing breastfeeding and they may also be at risk of some illnesses or may have difficulty reaching their milestones as they grow.

If Pregnancy Weight Gain is More Than is Recommended

  • If you gain more than the recommended amount of weight, then this could be related to delivering a baby with a large birth weight.
  • Some mothers with a large predicted birthweight baby, may have delivery complications and are more likely to have caesarean deliveries
  • Babies born with high birth weights may be more susceptible to obesity in childhood.
  • Gaining extra weight than what is recommended whilst pregnant also increases the likelihood of you increasing the amount of weight you hold onto after pregnancy, which of course can lead to struggles with obesity.

How To Meet the Average Weight Gain During Pregnancy Recommendations

To have weight gain goals that are determined at the beginning of your pregnancy and regularly checked throughout your pregnancy is important. You can work with your health care specialist to make this happen.

If You Need To Increase Your Weight Gain:

  1. Enjoy a balanced diet, high in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and lean protein. 
  2. Eat for pregnancy
  3. Aim for small meals often
  4. Have high protein, high caloric snacks that are easy for you to nibble on throughout the day
  5. At every meal consider how you could add calories to that particular meal ie a teaspoon of peanut butter on your toast, maybe an extra piece of toast at morning tea, a smoothie with added protein
  6. Supplement drinks that have extra protein and calories added

If You Need To Slow Down Your Weight Gain:

  1. Limit added sugars and high-fat ultra-processed foods
  2. Exercise as you can each day – chat with your health professional like a registered physiotherapist if needed
  3. Choose healthy options when out and about
  4. Look at the way food is made when you are out, ie; choose non-fried foods options if available
  5. Use healthy cooking methods at home
  6. Decrease take out foods
  7. Limit high sugar drinks
  8. Stop high caloric snacks, ie; potato chips, pastries, cakes etc
  9. Increase your intake of vegetables
  10. Choose fruit as your snack and add some dairy if you are hungry
  11. Monitor your use of fat such as oils and butter
  12. Eat as healthy as you are able – small healthy choices make a big difference to your baby
how much weight should I gain in pregnancy

Babies make it all worthwhile…..

As you can see, It is important to have healthy pregnancy weight gain for our bodies to nurture the growing babies. Understanding how much weight you should gain in pregnancy will be beneficial as you navigate your pregnancy journey, and will enable you to make any necessary adjustments. Remember pregnancy weight gain is a normal and welcome part of pregnancy – Enjoy!

  • The Women’s – The Royal Women Hospital weight and pregnancy – Victoria
  • Webmd – healthy weight gain in pregnancy
  • Centres for disease control and Prevention – reproductive health
  • Midwifery – Preparation for Practice – Pairman, Pincombe, Thorogood, Tracy 2015
  • Goodcalculators.com– free online calculators