Weight Gain in Pregnancy

How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?

The amount of weight that you will gain in pregnancy varies greatly.  Some weight gain is necessary just from the weight of the fetus, the placenta, the increased blood supply found in pregnancy, and etc.

A major factor is where your weight is before pregnancy, whether underweight or overweight.  It is very hard to come up with absolute numbers, numbers written in stone.  In general if the woman is underweight, she could gain from 28 to 40 lbs in total over the entire pregnancy.  A woman fortunate to be at a normal or ideal weight should look for perhaps 18 to 25 lbs gain total.  The overweight to obese woman may gain as little 11 lbs or as much as 25 lbs.

Most of the weight gain in a normal pregnancy is after 20 wks of gestation or after 4 ½ months.

Another important point is what is the weight gain made of? Is it a result of high calorie sweets converted to fats, or is it the result of fluid retention from pre-eclampsia or other medical conditions.

Excessive weight gain in pregnancy increases the chance of developing diabetes, hypertension, and delivery complications which would increase the possibility of cesarean delivery.  Too little weight gain may result in a small growth restricted infant or perhaps increased chance of pre-term labor.

As a general rule, if the mother eats a healthy diet consisting of high fiber, nutrition rich, and higher protein foods and engages in light to moderate exercise throughout the pregnancy, whatever amount she gains will be appropriate for her unique body.