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Weight Gain During Pregnancy: How Much is Healthy?

Por Ana C. López, Nutrition Counselor, MyDiet™ Team -
Weight Gain During Pregnancy:  How Much is Healthy?


You’ve probably heard people say: “Now that you’re pregnant, you must eat for two.” However, although weight gain is inevitable (and necessary for an adequate growth and development of your baby), there are specific maternal weight gain ranges for a healthy pregnancy.

How much weight you should gain during pregnancy depends on several factors. A determining factor is your weight at the beginning of pregnancy: if it was low, normal, or if you were overweight. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends the following weight gain ranges based on the mother’s weight and nutritional status before pregnancy:

Pre-pregnancy weight

Recommended weight gain

Underweight

28 to 40 pounds

Normal weight

25 to 35 pounds

Overweight

15 to 25 pounds

Obesity

15 pounds

In case of a multiple pregnancy (twins or triplets), you need to gain more weight: around 35 to 45 pounds.

Now, lets move on to another frequent question: How fast should you gain weight? Although every mother and every pregnancy is different, here’s an idea of what’s generally recommended:

Pre-pregnancy weight

Recommended speed of weight gain

Underweight

First trimester: 5-6 pounds or more 

Second trimester: 1-2 pounds per week 

Third trimester: 1-2 pounds per week

Normal weight

First trimester: 3-5 pounds 

Second trimester: 1-2 pounds per week 

Third trimester: 1-2 pounds per week

Overweight

First trimester: 1-2 pounds 

Second trimester: 1 pound per week 

Third trimester: 1 pound per week

Even if you’re overweight or obese, moderate weight gain is still expected. It’s important for you to know that pregnancy is not a time to try to lose weight. The important thing is to focus on a gradual weight gain that’s within healthy limits.

Some complications associated with excessive weight gain are:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia (high blood pressure)
  • Waist, back, and leg pain
  • Varicose veins
  • Difficulty to lose weight after childbirth
  • Increased likelihood of a cesarean birth

Your doctor or dietitian can assess your nutritional status and provide you guidance on a healthy weight gain during pregnancy.

Source:

Weight Gain During Pregnancy (2008). American Pregnancy Association. Retrieved on December, 2008 from  http://www.americanpregnancy.org.

Pregnancy weight gain: What’s healthy? (2007). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on December, 2008 from  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy-weight-gain/PR00111

 

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