What is a “Normal” Weight Gain in Pregnancy?

Posted by Kathryn Wilcox on June 04, 2015

How much weight you gain during your pregnancy is important, that is why your health care professional checks your weight at each prenatal visit. While you will hear many times that you are “eating for two,” you need to remember that the two you are eating for is one adult, and one very small baby!  So the most important consideration is to make healthy food choices every day!

The next thing to keep in mind is that you can add approximately 300 calories a day to your normal food plan and be assured that you are eating enough for your baby also.
 
How many pounds you gain over the nine months is best monitored by your physician. If you are underweight at the beginning then you can expect that 28 to 40 pounds of weight gain will be a healthy gain.  A normal weight expectant mother should gain about 25 to 35 pounds. If you are overweight, this is NOT the time to go on a diet and be slim after giving birth. Your healthcare advisor will give you a target gain of at least 15 to 25 pounds. Of course if you find out you are having twins you will gain a little more!
 
These estimated numbers come from the total of the actual weight of the baby, which at birth is approximately 8 pounds, the placenta which weights around 2 to 3 pounds, the amniotic fluid which weighs about 2 t 3 pounds and the increased breast tissue at 2 to 3 pounds. Add to that the additional blood needed at 4 pounds and the larger uterus which weighs about 2 to 5 pounds. These total out at about 25 pounds. That is why the average number of pounds you should gain is 25 pounds and will be the average number you will lose when you give birth.
 
So keeping the 300 calories average a day in mind, plan on adding healthy choices. In your first trimester, you can add just 150 to 200 calories a day and it could be as simple as 6 ounces of yogurt. During the second trimester, you can add a half of sandwich and glass of milk. By the last 3 months you can work up to the 300 calories extra a day with any dairy, protein or vegetables and fruits that you like. Eating 6 small meals may be easier than eating 3 heavier meals. Whatever works for you is good.
 
The only caution that you will hear is to stay away from junk foods. They contain empty calories, and have little nutritional value. They are not healthy for you or you baby!
 
 This article is for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor with specific concerns or changes to your or your child's health.