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What is the Average Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Average weight gain during pregnancy can vary from woman to woman. It’s important to discuss this matter with your doctor instead of using a specific weight as a goal. Equally important is that you not try to lose weight during your pregnancy and that if you note weight loss you bring this to your doctor’s attention.

Typical weight gain during a pregnancy will be about 25 to 35 pounds (11.34-15.88 kg). If you are underweight prior to getting pregnant, doctors may encourage you to gain a little more than this, perhaps as much as 40 pounds (18.14 kg). This is because in addition to putting on the weight of your growing baby, your body also needs to create some fat stores for nursing and the rigors of delivering a baby. These stores alone can count for about 5-9 pounds (2.27-4.08 kg) of total weight gain.

If you start a pregnancy overweight, a doctor may encourage weight gain during pregnancy that is lower because you already have some fat reserves for labor and nursing. You might be asked to keep weight gain during pregnancy between about 15-25 pounds (6.80-11.34 kg). It’s not always the case that you can keep weight gain requirements where they ought to be, but some moms err in thinking they have to double their calories to meet their growing baby’s needs.

Most additional calorie requirements can be met by eating an extra 100-400 calories a day. If you already have a healthy diet, you might add one more meal or snack to it. When your diet needs improvement, consult with your doctor about the best diet choices for you that will not leave you hungry but won’t have you eating more than you need.

Some women worry that it will be hard to shed weight gained while pregnant. It can help if you plan to breastfeed afterward because this is often thought one of the best and healthiest ways to shed extra pounds, and it’s healthy for your baby. The amount you gain that has gone into fat storage is usually used up by the rigors of new parenting and by the baby’s demand for food. Once you’ve recovered from labor and depending on your doctor’s advice, you can start exercising again too, which will help take off any excess pounds.

During pregnancy, many women are encouraged to pursue at least light exercise, which can help avoid extra weight gain during pregnancy. This is fine as long as your doctor says so. Sometimes women with high-risk pregnancies are asked not to begin exercise until later in their pregnancy or are asked to avoid strenuous exercise when they reach a certain point. Don’t compensate for lack of exercise by starving yourself. It’s important that you continue to nourish your changing body with adequate and healthy meals.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon121170 — On Oct 23, 2010

I find its hard sticking to a healthy diet while being pregnant but I do it for my young Timmy. Ever since breast feeding him I noticed my boobs seem to be drained and look a lot smaller. would something like natural breast enlargement herbs help?

By comfyshoes — On Jul 30, 2010

Greenweaver- I just want to say that keeping normal weight gain during pregnancy also helps make the delivery easier. When I was pregnant with my son I walked three miles about four times a week.

In addition, I kept my weight gain to just thirty pounds and my labor was short. I was only in labor for two and a half hours before I had my son. The doctor said that my walking really helped to make my delivery easier.

By GreenWeaver — On Jul 30, 2010

Moldova- I just wanted to add that Baby Center offers a wide variety of information regarding pregnancy weight gain.

It even offers a forum and a week by week break down of what is happening in the pregnant women’s body as well as in her unborn baby.

For example, they suggest that weight gain in the first trimester should be between one to five pounds and one pound thereafter until delivery.

They recommend that for women carrying twins a weight gain of thirty-seven to fifty-three pounds is normal, while those expectant mothers that are obese a weight gain of twenty-five to forty-one pounds is the recommended weight gain during pregnancy.

By Moldova — On Jul 30, 2010

I just wanted to add the ideal weight gain during pregnancy should be about twenty-five to thirty- five pounds.

A way to stay within that range is by eating a healthy diet of nutrient rich foods and exercising at least four times a week.

The combination of a healthy diet and exercise allows for normal pregnancy weight gain. It is easy to get carried away with sweets and high fat foods that are calorie dense but leaving you feeling hungry. During pregnancy you only need an additional 500 calories a day.

Keeping a pregnancy weight gain chart is a good idea in order to obtain normal wieght gain during pregnancy.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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