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Paula Kashtan

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

You know you're supposed to gain weight during pregnancy, but how much is the right amount? Read on.

Weight gain is a totally normal—and necessary!—part of pregnancy. But before you take that liberty and run with it (hello, milkshakes), there are some key recommendations to keep in mind that'll help support your and baby's health.

Normal Weight Gain During Pregnancy

So how much weight should you gain during pregnancy? If your weight is in the “normal” range (a body mass index of 18 to 25) before you conceive, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends gaining 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Expect to add three to five pounds during the first trimester and one to two pounds each week after. According to the ACOG, if you’re underweight at conception, you should gain 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy. If you’re overweight, try to keep it to 15 to 25 pounds.

Importance of Healthy Weight Gain

Sticking to a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is important for your and baby's health—but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 32 percent of women put on the recommended amount of weight (21 percent gain too little and 48 percent gain too much).

Pregnancy weight gain is a little like the tale of Goldilocks. If you don't gain enough weight during pregnancy, baby could be born too small, potentially putting him at a higher risk for breastfeeding problems, illness and developmental delays. On the other hand, if you gain too much weight, baby could be born too big, possibly leading to delivery complications. You want to aim for a weight gain range that's just right (for you).

When To See The Doctor With Concerns About Weight

No matter what your starting weight is, your goal is to keep the gain as steady as possible. Women are supposed to gain weight during pregnancy: Baby needs a daily supply of nutrients, and those come from the foods you eat. But gaining weight suddenly or excessively could be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy condition.

Don’t worry if your weight gain fluctuates a bit from week to week, but contact your doctor if you suddenly gain or lose weight, especially in the third trimester.

How To Maintain A Healthy Weight Gain

You might think you’ll have no problem staying within your gain range, but don't be surprised at how quickly the pounds can pile on. Pregnancy only gives you license to consume an extra 300 calories a day—the equivalent of a very small bagel, sans cream cheese. But instead of stressing out about the quantities you consume, focus on eating quality foods and steering clear of junk foods that add bulk without the benefit of nutrients. Getting in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days a week is another great way to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.

Plus, more from The Bump:

10 Pregnancy Foods to Eat for Baby

Checklist: Daily Nutrition

Healthy Weight Gain When Expecting Multiples