Why is gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy important?
Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy helps your baby grow to a healthy size. But gaining too much or too little weight may lead to serious health problems for you and your baby.
Too much weight gain raises your chances for diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy and after.
If you are overweight when you get pregnant, your chances for health problems may be even higher. It also makes it more likely that you will have a hard delivery and need a cesarean section (C-section).
Gaining a healthy amount of weight helps you have an easier pregnancy and delivery. It may also help make it easier for you to get back to your normal weight after delivery.
Research shows that a healthy weight gain can also lower the chances that you or your child will have obesity and weight-related problems later in life.
How much weight should I gain during my pregnancy?
How much weight you should gain depends on how much you weighed before pregnancy. General weight-gain advice below refers to weight before pregnancy and is for women having only one baby.
If you are underweight (BMI* less than 18.5), you should gain about 28 to 40 pounds.
If you are normal weight (BMI of 18.5 to 24.9), you should gain about 25 to 35 pounds.
If you are overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9), you should gain about 15 to 25 pounds.
If you are obese (BMI of 30+), you should gain about 11 to 20 pounds.
It is important to gain weight very slowly. The old myth that you are “eating for two” is not true.
During the first 3 months, your baby is only the size of a walnut and does not need very many extra calories. The following rate of weight gain is advised:
- 1 to 4 pounds total in the first 3 months
- 2 to 4 pounds each month from 4 months until delivery
Talk to your health care provider about how much weight you should gain. Work with him or her to set goals for your weight gain. Take into account your age, weight, and health.
Do not try to lose weight if you are pregnant. Healthy food is needed to help your baby grow. Some women may lose a small amount of weight at the start of pregnancy. Speak to your health care provider if this happens to you.