Step Off The Scale, Susie – Don’t Stress About the Ideal Weight for a Healthy Pregnancy!

Is there any topic that is more touchy than a woman’s weight? Weight gain is part of pregnancy; there is no way around that in most cases, but the ideal weight gain for pregnancy does differ from woman to woman.

In fact, it can differ from pregnancy to pregnancy. My best friend has had three kids; she gained 30lbs with her first child and 60lbs – yes, seriously! – with her third. Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason when it comes to the ideal weight for pregnancy. 

So, if you’re curious about what you should expect or want to set a reasonable, healthy goal for yourself, here is what you need to know.

The Recommend Weight Gains for Single Babies

To set a recommended weight gain goal, your doctor should look at your body mass index before pregnancy. Your BMI measures your body fat compared to your weight and height. 

The CDC gives us some recommended weight gains that we can look at for a guide, but remember, every woman is an individual. The recommendation follows whether your BMI indicates that you’re underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.

ConditionWeight (lbs)
Normal Weight25-35

The Recommend Weight Gains for Twins or Multiples 

Now, let’s take a look at what the recommendations are for twins or multiples. You can guess they’ll be considerably higher if you care for more than one baby!

ConditionWeight (lbs)
Normal Weight35-55

How Much Should You Gain Each Week?

Your weight gain won’t be spread out evenly. Many women don’t gain a single ounce during the first trimester. Some women lose weight because of morning sickness.

Don’t worry; that’s normal. Don’t fret if you drop a few pounds before you enter the second trimester. You have plenty of time to catch back up. 

In general, you should gain 1.5 pounds per week in the first three months, but that’s only a total of 5.5 pounds. You can easily make that up in the second trimester when brownies and all food suddenly taste a lot better. 

Expect to gain 1-3 pounds throughout your second and third trimesters. You might stop gaining weight in the final few weeks of your pregnancy. That’s normal in the week or two leading up to birth. It can be a sign of impending labor. So, if you went to the doctor and didn’t gain anything, pay attention – labor might be close.

Where Does The Weight Go?

pregnant woman weighing herself

The baby doesn’t gain most weight until the end of the pregnancy, so why are you gaining weight throughout your entire nine months? 

There is more to the ideal pregnancy weight than just the baby’s weight. It’s easy to forget that so much more is happening inside your body that adds weight. 

Here is a general explanation of where the pregnancy weight goes by the end of your pregnancy. These are all general estimations for women who gain 25-35 pounds.

  • Baby: 7-9 pounds
  • Placenta: 2-3 pounds
  • Amniotic Fluid: 2-4 pounds
  • Extra Blood Supply: 4-5 pounds
  • Extra Stored Fat for Breastfeeding and Delivery: 5-10 pounds
  • Larger Uterus: 2-6 pounds

Gain a Healthy Amount of Weight

An average pregnant woman needs to add an extra 300 calories more than she was before her pregnancy. That means you should consume between 2100-2800 calories.

Make those extra 300 calories, and be sure to eat healthy food. If you want only to put on the necessary, recommended amount of weight, here are some easy tips.

  • Focus on eating 5-6 meals each day with smaller portions.
  • Keep healthy snacks on your hands, such as cheese, nuts, raisins, and other dried fruit. Yogurt and fresh fruit are great snacks as well.
  • Eat healthy fats, such as butter, cream cheese, sour cream, cheese, and coconut oil. 
  • Focus on lean meats and healthy proteins. Don’t forget beans and nuts count as protein! Do include seafood in your diet because it contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but keep the amount you eat limited. 

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy keeps us on our toes, and it differs for each woman. The ideal weight for pregnancy is a range for each woman, depending on your pre-pregnancy BMI. Talk to your doctor about a good goal for your weight gain and focus on fueling your body with healthy foods that won’t increase your weight too dramatically. 

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