What You Need To Know About Weight Gain During Pregnancy

The pregnancy weight topic is not an easy one, but it’s an important one.

From my experience with two pregnancies, there seems to be a shift from “fear of weight gain” to “embrace it all, don’t worry about it, and enjoy eating for two!”  While I am certainly a fan of embracing your body’s changes, letting go of some control, and enjoying the little perks of pregnancy, there’s a middle ground we need to meet at when it comes to pregnancy weight gain.

pregnancy weight

It’s all new, confusing, and often overwhelming for a newly pregnant and tired mama-to-be to think about healthy weight gain.  It’s certainly easier to ignore it and give in to any cravings and the belief that you now have license to eat for two!  I’m here to tell you that although YOU’RE NOT EATING FOR TWO, you can gain the right amount of weight during your pregnancy and certainly not feel deprived!

Why is it important to consider weight gain during pregnancy? 

Gaining the right amount of weight for YOU during pregnancy can help protect your health and the health of your baby.

  • Too little weight gain during pregnancy puts you at higher risk of having a low birth weight (born weighing <5 lbs, 8 oz) or a premature baby (born before 37 weeks). Premature babies tend to have more health problems, requiring longer hospital stays, and may also have lifelong health implications.
  • Too much weight gain during pregnancy puts you at higher risk of having a large baby (weighing >8 lbs, 13 oz) or a premature baby.   A large baby may cause complications during labor, leading to a c-section or heavy bleeding post birth.  Furthermore, with excess weight gain during pregnancy it may be more challenging to “lose the baby weight” which in turn increases your risk for future health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.


It’s also important to note that there is a lot of variability in how, where, and when pregnant women gain weight.  Your age, ethnicity, body composition etc., all play a role in weight gain. So work with your doctor and give yourself some grace 🙂

How much weight gain is right for you?

The amount of weight to gain during pregnancy depends on your health and your weight/BMI pre-pregnancy.  And if you’re carrying multiples or not.

The chart below from March of Dimes outlines the guidelines nicely.  Please work with your doctor to identify what the right amount of weight gain is for you.  To find out your BMI, go to www.cdc.gov/bmi

In general, most women carrying one baby should gain between 25 and 35 pounds (lbs) during pregnancy.  It’s typical for women gain 2 to 4 lbs during the first trimester, and then 1 lb a week the remainder of pregnancy.  However, this is not the case for everyone. I personally gained more weight in the first trimester and then slowly plateaued by third trimester.  Each person is different (especially if you’re carrying multiples), so please work with your doctor to ensure safe weight gain!

Where does the weight go during pregnancy?

If you’re at a healthy weight before pregnancy and gain ~25-35 lbs during pregnancy, here’s roughly where the weight gets distributed:

  • Baby = 7-8 lbs
  • Amniotic fluid = 2-3 lbs
  • Blood = 4 lbs
  • Body fluids = 4 lbs
  • Breast Tissue = 2-3 lbs
  • Fat storage, protein and other nutrients = 5-9 lbs
  • Placenta = 2-3 lbs
  • Uterus = 2-5 lbs

pregnancy weight gain

Fear of Weight Gain During Pregnancy

It’s normal to feel feel anxious or annoyed as the numbers on the scale creep up.  Keep in mind that you need to gain weight for a healthy pregnancy and baby!!  The extra weight will come off after you’ve had your baby (and it comes off much easier if you stay within your recommended weight gain).

Pregnancy is not the time to eat everything and anything you want, and it’s also not the time to be overly restrictive.  A healthy diet and regular exercise are the best ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy, and in turn a healthy mom and baby!

In general, you’ll need an extra ~300-400 as you progress through your 2nd and 3rd trimesters, respectively.  These extra calories should come from nutritious foods like lean protein, fruits, veggies & whole grains!

Grab my FREE guide on 5 ways to boost your nutrition during pregnancy for daily reminders on foods to include during pregnancy 🙂

boost pregnancy nutrition

Need fast & easy ideas for meal prep? I also have tons of ideas and simple tips in my Nourished Moms Guide!

healthy mom nutrition

Enjoy this special, fleeting phase of life, and do it with energy and confidence knowing you’re nourishing yourself and baby!!  Cheers, Mama – you’ve got this!


weight gain in pregnancy


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