Weight Gain during Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, you want everything to go by the book. You read, you talk to friends and family, you ask your doctor questions to see if everything is progressing just the way it is supposed to. Weight gain is an inevitable AND essential part of pregnancy, but it is important to avoid putting on too much weight. Excess weight gain during pregnancy actually increases your risk for complications, such as, gestational diabetes or pregnancy-related high blood pressure. Not gaining enough weight or losing weight during pregnancy can rob your developing baby of key nutrients which could harm his or her development.

As an first time mom-to-be, I’m thinking about all of these things. Now that I’m well into my second trimester, I know I should have gained some weight, BUT I haven’t. My weight has stayed right about the same. At my most recent doctor’s appointment, I had actually lost a pound and it was the week after Thanksgiving. The nurse actually asked me, “How did that happen!?” I expressed my concern to my doctor. He asked how my eating was going, I said, “Fine, my appetite has actually gotten much better.” He assured me that it was completely fine and I would catch up on weight gain as time went on. I knew this was true, but wanted to hear it from my doctor to ease my worries.

So let’s get into it. How much weight should you gain during pregnancy? It really depends on how much you weighed before your pregnancy.  The following are guidelines and you should always talk with your doctor to see what is best for you.

Weight Before Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines
If you were underweight (BMI < 19.8) gain 28-40 pounds
If you were normal weight (BMI 19.8-25) gain 25-35 pounds
If you were overweight (BMI 25.1-29) gain 15-25 pounds
If you were obese (BMI > 29) gain 15 pounds or less

Not sure which weight category you fit into? Check your body mass index (BMI) on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

During the first trimester weight gain is pretty minimal, if you started your pregnancy at a normal weight you should expect to gain around 2-5 pounds. Then in the second trimester expect to gain weight more steadily, around 4 pounds per month. If you’re concerned you’re gaining too much or not enough, my next blog will be about the additional energy (calories) pregnancy requires and how to make nutritious choices that will benefit you and your baby.

Sources: “Expect the Best,” by Elizabeth M. Ward, MS, RD & “You & Your Baby: Pregnancy,” by Dr. Laura Riley, OB/GYN

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