Keeping track of weight gain during pregnancy

How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?

June 14, 2019
3 min read

During pregnancy, it’s perfectly normal and healthy to put on a few extra kilos. Although we can’t tell you exactly how much weight to gain because it depends on factors like your starting weight and whether you’re having a single baby or multiples, we can tell you more about healthy weight gain and what makes up the extra weight you’ll put on during pregnancy.

What's in this article:

What Is Considered Normal Pregnancy Weight Gain? How Many Extra Calories Do I Need? How Do I Eat Healthily While Pregnant? Where Does The Weight Gain In Pregnancy Come From? FAQs at a Glance

What Is Considered Normal Pregnancy Weight Gain?

No two mums-to-be are the same, which is why your recommended weight gain during pregnancy will mostly depend on your pre-pregnancy BMI. BMI is short for body mass index, which is a ratio derived by calculating your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in metres), squared. It offers an estimate for measuring body fat. Search online for a BMI calculator to help you find your pre-pregnancy result.

The general rule of thumb is that if you have a low BMI, then your recommended weight gain will be more than for someone with a higher BMI. If you’re uncertain about what’s right for you, talk to your doctor or midwife about the healthy amount of weight for you to gain during your pregnancy.

How Many Extra Calories Do I Need?

During the first trimester your body probably won’t need any extra calories to support your growing baby. If you struggle with morning sickness, you might even find it difficult to keep down some of the food you eat during the early stages of pregnancy.

Based on the baseline recommendation of eating 2000 calories a day, this is a rough breakdown of how many extra calories you should take in for gradual, healthy weight gain by trimester:

  • First trimester: No extra calories needed.
  • Second trimester: No extra calories needed.
  • Third trimester: Around 200 extra calories per day.

How Do I Eat Healthily While Pregnant?

Do not diet while you’re pregnant but be mindful of the foods you consume. Make sure you have a variety of nutritious, healthy food like fruits, vegetables, proteins, wholegrain or high fibre carbohydrates and dairy products. If you have food intolerances or you follow a special diet, your doctor will be able to help you tailor your diet to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need. In some cases, your doctor may recommend you take extra prenatal vitamins if you’re not getting enough of certain vitamins or minerals through diet alone.

Resist the temptation to ‘eat for two’. You definitely don’t need to indulge in double portions of chocolate and ice cream to nourish your growing baby. Your GP or midwife can help you follow a healthy pregnancy nutrition plan and give you advice on a target weight based on your starting weight. If you’re over- or underweight, your midwife may give you some extra nutrition advice so both you and your baby stay healthy throughout the duration of your pregnancy.

By the way, there are some foods you should avoid eating while pregnant, so read up on them too!

Where Does The Weight Gain In Pregnancy Come From?

Typically, only a small portion of the weight you gain during pregnancy is actually fat. The average weight gained during pregnancy is 10 to 12.5 kg. Here is a breakdown of what that’s made up of:

  • Your baby (around 3-3.5 kg)
  • Uterus (around 1kg)
  • Amniotic fluid (around 1kg)
  • Placenta (around 700 g)
  • Larger breasts (around 2kg)
  • Increased blood and fluid volume (up to 2kg)
  • Extra fat stores (around 3kg).

You will lose most of the pregnancy weight when your baby is born, but you will need those extra fat stores to fuel breast milk production.

FAQs at a Glance

How much weight will I gain during pregnancy?

It really depends on your pre-pregnancy weight. Most mums-to-be gain 10 to 12.5 kg during pregnancy.

When will I put on the most weight during pregnancy?

Mums-to-be will generally gain the most weight after 20 weeks.

How can I control my weight during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, it is important not to diet. Instead, control your weight by eating healthily and staying active.

The most important thing during your pregnancy is your health and that of your baby. Each mum-to-be is different, so listen to your body and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your doctor or midwife about what rate of pregnancy weight gain is best for you.

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