Pregnancy Weight Gain – What a Nutritionist Recommends

Worries for moms-to-be

Expecting a baby is a very exciting time in life! It can also be a time of worrying about how to care for yourself and baby for the best possible outcomes.  Of the many things moms-to-be worry about, pregnancy weight gain probably sits at the top of the list. Some people are afraid to gain too much and not be able to lose it. Others worry about eating enough and of the right foods for a healthy baby. Both are valid concerns and appropriate weight gain is essential to both mom and baby’s health!

Why are there recommended weight gain ranges?

Just like Goldilocks and the three bears, there is a “just right” amount of weight gain. Gaining within the recommended range helps increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy and baby. Not gaining enough weight increases risks for the baby including low birth weight, susceptibility to illness, developmental delays, and poor feeding. Exceeding weight gain recommendations increases the risk that baby will be large for gestational age, needing a caesarean delivery, potential for delivery trauma and increased risk for childhood obesity. Mom may also have a difficult time losing weight after delivery. It is important to note that the weight gain comes from the baby, amniotic fluid, increased breast tissue, additional blood volume, the uterus and more!

Pregnancy weight gain

So how much weight should you gain? It depends. The pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) determines the recommended weight gain range appropriate for each individual. BMI is a calculation of weight to height. The chart below shows the range of recommended weight per each of the different BMI ranges. If you are not sure about what your BMI was before pregnancy, use this link to calculate it.

Pre-Pregnancy BMI

Recommended weight gain (lbs.)
Less than 18.528-40
Greater than or equal to 3011-20

If the pregnancy includes more than one baby, weight recommendations increase!

  • Twins: 35-45 lbs.
  • Triplets: 50-60 lbs.

How to have healthy pregnancy weight gain

Now that you know what the range is, how do you help stay within that range? Staying active and eating well can help support a healthy pregnancy and weight. Check with your doctor first to make sure activity is okay for your situation. At mealtimes and snacks, focus on eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains along with lean protein. These foods provide an abundance of nutrients for both you and the growing baby. Limiting intake of processed foods, sugary beverages and foods can help minimize excess weight gain, and malnutrition. Weight loss during pregnancy is not recommended.  Consult with a Registered Dietitian to plan a meal plan that works with your life and specific situation. 

These tips, including a timely prenatal care can help support a healthy mom and baby. Check with your doctor about your concerns and specific situation. 


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