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Weight Gain During Pregnancy
On average, a healthy amount of weight gain during pregnancy is 22-35 pounds for normal weight women. This is usually reached by gaining 4-6 pounds during the first trimester, and about two-thirds to one pound a week during the second and third trimesters.
Where does this weight come from? According to the Nemours Foundation, this is how a 30-pound pregnancy weight gain is typically distributed:
- 7.5 pounds: your baby’s weight
- 1.5 pounds: the placenta
- 2 pounds: enlargement of your uterus
- 2 pounds: amniotic fluid surrounding your baby
- 2 pounds: breast enlargement
- 4 pounds: your extra blood
- 2-7 pounds: your extra stored nutrients
- 1-4 pounds: your extra body fluids
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Keep in mind that pregnancy weight gain may vary.
- If you are underweight, you should gain 27-35+ pounds.
- If you are overweight, you should gain 15-25 pounds.
- If you are obese, you should gain about 15 pounds or less.
- If you are having multiples (twins, triplets), you will gain more weight, so talk to your doctor about the amount of weight gain that will be best for you.
If you gain too much weight during pregnancy, you will be at increased risk of complications, including diabetes, high blood pressure, constipation, and back pain. In addition, your labor and delivery may be longer and more difficult. You may also be at increased risk of needing a cesarean section.
If you don’t gain enough weight, your baby will not get the nutrients needed to grow and develop properly.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Pregnancy Association
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters
Eating during pregnancy. Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition%5Fcenter/dietary%5Fneeds/eating%5Fpregnancy.html. Updated November 2009. Accessed December 26, 2012.
Fit for two: tips for pregnancy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Weight—Control Information Network website. Available at: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/two.htm. Updated November 2009. Accessed December 26, 2012.
6/24/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Fyfe EM, Anderson NH, North RA, et al. Risk of first-stage and second-stage cesarean delivery by maternal body mass index among nulliparous women in labor at term. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;117(6):1315-1322.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012
- Update Date: 11/26/2012