As soon as you find out you are pregnant, you will begin noticing changes in your body. One of the many questions you may have during pregnancy is how much weight you should gain.
Yes, you should gain weight during pregnancy. But you should discuss with your doctor how much weight gain is appropriate and how you can help manage your weight during your pregnancy journey.
If your pre-pregnancy weight is in the normal range, you’ll likely gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. If you are underweight, your provider may recommend that you gain 28 to 40 pounds; if you are overweight, your provider may recommend that you gain 15 to 25 pounds. However, every woman is different — you and your provider should discuss what is best for you.
Gaining too much or too little pregnancy weight
The amount of weight you gain depends on things like your genes, your metabolism and how much you typically exercise.
While each pregnancy is unique and each pregnant woman is different, there are some risks associated with gaining too much weight. If you gain too much weight, you may be at risk for gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and some complications during birth.
On the other hand, if you don’t gain enough weight during pregnancy, your baby may be born too early or at a low weight.
Tracking your weight during your pregnancy and attending your prenatal appointments can help you ensure you are gaining the right amount of weight throughout each trimester.
How to manage your weight gain
Gaining weight gradually throughout your pregnancy will make it easier to monitor and manage. While you may have heard that when you’re pregnant you’re “eating for two,” that isn’t true. Generally, you should gain 2 to 4 pounds total during the first trimester of your pregnancy. Then, you should gain 1 to 2 pounds per week during your second and third trimesters.
To gain weight at the right pace during pregnancy, you should eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy.
If you are underweight when you become pregnant, your provider may encourage you to gain weight. While it might be easy to turn to your favorite desserts, try to be thoughtful about adding extra calories. You can do this by eating healthy snacks and breaking up your diet into several smaller meals throughout the day.
If you and your provider are concerned about the amount of weight you’ve gained, your provider may recommend closely monitoring your diet and making some changes, such as:
- Limiting high-calorie snack foods, such as candy, cookies, cake, snack crackers and potato chips.
- Eating lean protein and fish (check with your provider on which types of fish are safest during pregnancy).
- Baking, broiling and grilling foods rather than frying them in oil.
- Limiting sugar-sweetened drinks such as soda, sweet tea and juice.
- Choosing low-fat milk and cheese and other dairy products.
In addition, exercising regularly is typically safe and can help you gain weight at a steady pace. At Geisinger, your provider can help you track your weight and discuss strategies for safely adding pounds.