Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Published : 29/04/2024

Last updated: 15/07/2024

The amount of weight gain during pregnancy that is best for mothers and fetus’ health varies from person to person. Target weight gain during pregnancy may be higher or lower depending on the mother’s weight and body composition before pregnancy.

If the rate of weight gain is less or more than the correct target, it can cause various complications for the mother and the baby. Some of the important issues that will affect the unborn child are highlighted in this article…

Mother’s Weight Chart During Pregnancy

How much weight you should gain during pregnancy depends largely on whether or not your weight was in the normal range just before conception. To know if your weight was within the normal range or not, you need to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) at that time.

Weight gain guideline during your pregnancy

Your doctor will discuss personalized weight gain recommendations with you, since they vary based on body type. Here’s what the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends:

If you’re underweight (BMI under 18.5):

Your recommended total pregnancy weight gain is 28 to 40 pounds.


In the second and third trimesters, aim to gain about a pound (1 to 1.3 pounds to be exact) per week.

If you’re of normal weight (BMI of 18.5 to 24.9):

Your recommended total pregnancy weight gain is 25 to 35 pounds.

In the second and third trimesters, aim to gain about a pound or a little less (0.8 to 1 pound to be exact) per week.

If you’re overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9):

Your recommended total pregnancy weight gain is 15 to 25 pounds.

In the second and third trimesters, aim to gain a little over a half pound (0.5 to 0.7 pound to be exact) per week.

If you’re obese (BMI of 30 and above):

Your recommended total pregnancy weight gain is 11 to 20 pounds.

In the second and third trimesters, aim to gain about a half pound (0.4 to 0.6 pound to be exact) per week.

5 weeks with twins (starting BMI is normal)

Your recommended total pregnancy weight gain is 37 to 54 pounds.

In the first trimester, you should aim to gain about 4 to 6 pounds. During the second and third trimester, you can expect to gain about 1.5 pounds per week, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA).


Wondering if you could be 5 weeks pregnant with twins? If you were, you probably wouldn’t know it yet, though as we mentioned above, some twin moms swear they had worse morning sickness. They also may gain weight more rapidly and “start to show” earlier than women having one baby would.

Five weeks pregnant is a good time to ask your partner for a massage. You might not have a big bump, but at five weeks pregnant, your body is working fast and furiously to grow baby, so you deserve a little TLC, right?

The need for proper weight gain during pregnancy

Proper weight gain during pregnancy is very important to ensure good health of mother and unborn child. If the amount of weight gain is more or less, there can be various health risks for the mother and the baby. Even years after the child is born, its harmful effects can remain.

Abnormally low weight during pregnancy

If you do not gain enough weight during pregnancy due to malnutrition and other reasons, your baby may be born prematurely. In medical terms such babies are called ‘premature’.


At the same time, your newborn baby may weigh much less than normal (less than 2.5 kg). Low birth weight babies are very weak from birth and suffer from a variety of complications. Even low birth weight babies have a relatively high mortality rate. Low birth weight babies face various complications soon after birth. For example –


• A drop in body temperature immediately after birth


• Not being able to drink mother’s breast milk


• Severe shortness of breath


• Severe defects in various parts of the body. For example: eye, heart, lung and digestive system defects


• Easily affected by various diseases


Premature babies require specialized pediatric hospitals or units (eg, neonatal ICU), experienced doctors and nurses to care for them soon after birth. Without proper treatment, the child may die. Apart from this, even after these children grow up, various types of defects can be seen in their structure and development. For example –


• Impaired physical and intellectual development


• Diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and cancer after adulthood


• Difficulty in hearing, seeing, walking and performing fine hand movements (eg holding a pen).

Excess weight gain during pregnancy

Abnormal weight gain can occur if regular exercise routines and a balanced diet are not followed during pregnancy. It can be harmful to the health of both mother and child.

These complications include—

• high blood pressure

• Pre-eclampsia

• Gestational diabetes

• Blood clots in blood vessels can lead to serious health complications such as heart attacks and strokes

• Necessity of caesarean section

• Miscarriage or loss of fetus

• Delayed return to pre-pregnancy weight after delivery

Along with the mother, the unborn child can also suffer from various problems. For example –


• Being born prematurely

• Abnormal growth of the baby in the womb

• Birth defects occur

• Stillbirth

• Being overweight in the future


Note that reducing the amount of regular food intake during pregnancy cannot be considered to lose excess weight.

Causes of weight gain during pregnancy

Your weight increases during pregnancy mainly due to the slow growth of the little baby in the womb. Apart from this, several parts of your body change during this time. Due to these reasons you gain weight. For example –

• Increased amount of blood and water in the body

• Accumulation of fat in the body

• A build-up of amniotic fluid, which surrounds the baby inside the womb

• Breast enlargement

• Enlargement of the uterus

• Formation of placenta or fetus

How to maintain ideal weight during pregnancy

1. Eat nutritious foods according to caloric needs

Being pregnant does not mean that you have to eat the same amount of food for two people. Avoid eating unhealthy, high-sugar and oil-fat foods as much as possible to ensure healthy weight gain. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.


During the first three months of pregnancy, there is usually no need for extra food. However, in the following months, you may need to eat a little more than usual.


By eating nutritious food as needed, your pregnancy weight gain will be within the normal range. Consult your doctor about the type of food you eat during pregnancy checkup.

2. Weigh yourself regularly

It’s a good idea to keep track of your weight throughout your pregnancy. This helps you see how your weight is changing over time. If you decide to weigh yourself every week, pick a specific day and time that works for you, like Friday mornings before eating. You can also weigh yourself daily, but be consistent with the timing.


However, try not to stress out about weighing yourself too often. There are many reasons why you might gain weight, so don’t worry too much. Instead, talk to your doctor about it. During your regular pregnancy check-ups, ask your doctor if your weight gain is on track. If you’re concerned about your weight, discuss diet and exercise options with your doctor and follow their advice.

3. Exercise regularly

Research indicates that it’s safe for pregnant women to exercise regularly. Aim for 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, like brisk walking, gardening, swimming, dancing, or cycling. You can pick whichever activities you enjoy. If you’re used to intense workouts, keep them up with your doctor’s guidance.

Try to exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, or break it down into 10-minute sessions daily. It’s all about what feels comfortable for you.

Even if you weren’t active before pregnancy, it’s fine to start now. Begin slowly and gradually increase your activity level. Incorporate simple tasks into your daily routine, like taking longer walks or using the stairs instead of the elevator. The key is to build up your exercise gradually and make it a regular part of your day.

Avoid strenuous activities and those with a high risk of injury, like boxing, badminton, or karate. Always consult your doctor to find out which exercises are safe for you during pregnancy.

Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. If you have any complications, talk to your doctor before starting or continuing any exercise routine. Follow their expert advice for a safe and healthy pregnancy.

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