Pregnancy: Healthy Weight Gain

Overview

It's important to gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy, because gaining too much or too little weight raises some health risks for you and your baby.

How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?

There's no fixed number of pounds that you should be aiming for. Instead, there's a range of weight gain that's good for you and your baby. Based on your weight before pregnancy, experts say it's generally best to gain about:footnote 1

  • 28 lb (13 kg) to 40 lb (18 kg) if you're underweight.
  • 25 lb (11 kg) to 35 lb (16 kg) if you're at a healthy weight.
  • 15 lb (7 kg) to 25 lb (11 kg) if you're overweight.
  • 11 lb (5 kg) to 20 lb (9 kg) if you're very overweight (obese). In some cases, a doctor may recommend that you don't gain any weight.

If you have questions about weight gain during pregnancy, talk with your doctor about what's right for you. Gaining a healthy amount of weight helps you have a healthy pregnancy.

Is it okay to try to lose weight during pregnancy?

Losing weight during your pregnancy could be harmful to your baby. It could cause your baby to have a low birth weight. That increases your baby's risk for illness early on and for long-term health problems later. It also increases your baby's risk of physical and mental disabilities.

How much extra food do you need to eat during pregnancy?

Although you may joke that you're "eating for two" during pregnancy, you don't need to eat twice as much food. How much you can eat depends on:

  • Your height.
  • How much you weigh when you get pregnant.
  • How active you are.
  • If you're carrying more than one fetus (multiple pregnancy).

In the first trimester, you'll probably need the same amount of calories as you did before you were pregnant. In general, in your second trimester, you need to eat about 340 extra calories a day.footnote 2 In your third trimester, you need to eat about 450 extra calories a day.

References

Citations

  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2013, reaffirmed 2020). Weight gain during pregnancy. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 548. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 121(1): 210–212.
  2. Kaiser LL, Campbell CG (2014). Practice paper: Nutrition and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy outcome. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(7): 1099-1103. http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/practice/position-and-practice-papers/practice-papers/practice-paper-nutrition-and-lifestyle-for-a-healthy-pregnancy-outcome. Accessed November 16, 2017.

Credits

Current as of: July 11, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.