What's Pounds Got To Do With It? Weight Gain During Pregnancy

An image of a scale to symbolize a mother's weight gain in pregnancy.

Weight gain during pregnancy, what you need to know! 

Gaining a healthy and recommended amount of weight during pregnancy lowers health risks for mother and baby.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has up to date and detailed information on how much a pregnant woman should gain during her pregnancy. A healthy amount of weight gain depends in large part on your weight before pregnancy, and if you are classified as underweight, of normal weight, overweight or obese.

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How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?

According to March of Dimes, if you were underweight before pregnancy, you should aim to gain about 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy. If you were at a healthy weight before pregnancy, you want to gain about 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. If you were overweight during pregnancy, you want to gain about 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy. If you were obese before pregnancy, you want to gain about 11 to 20 pounds. 

Pregnancies that involve twins have a slightly higher weight gain than a one baby pregnancy. You should aim to gain 37 to 54 pounds if you were at a healthy weight before pregnancy, 31 to 50 pounds if you were overweight, and 25 to 42 if you were obese.

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Gaining Too Much Weight During Pregnancy- The Risks

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy has health implications, some of which may include:

  • Increased blood pressure: High blood pressure is unhealthy and in pregnancy can cause issues such as preterm delivery and preeclampsia.

  • Increased risk for gestational diabetes: Elevated blood sugar levels increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes. This may put your baby at risk for premature delivery, jaundice, respiratory disease, future diabetes and obesity. As the mother, gestational diabetes may put you at risk for preeclampsia and c-section delivery if this issue is not addressed immediately.

  • Preeclampsia: A marked rise in blood pressure is one of the first signs of preeclampsia, which, though usually mild, can be very dangerous during pregnancy.

  • Increased risk for complications during birth: Gaining too much weight generally increases the size of your baby. While there is nothing wrong with having a big baby, it can make vaginal delivery very painful and sometimes impossible, leading to a last minute C-section.

  • Increased risk for blood clotting: Pregnant women are about 5 times more likely to develop blood clots than non-pregnant women. Gaining an unhealthy amount of weight during pregnancy can increase this risk.

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Gaining Too Little Weight During Pregnancy- The Risks

While it might not seem that way, failure to gain enough weight can present downsides to your health and the health of your baby. Some complications include increased risk for a preterm birth, and delivering a baby with low birth weight.

Where will you gain weight during pregnancy?

Although every pregnancy is different, there are commonalities of where pregnancy weight is carried in the body. According to March of Dimes, for a healthy weight mom-to-be, who gains an average of 30 pounds during pregnancy, the weight is distributed like this:

  • Baby = 7.5 pounds

  • Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds. Amniotic fluid surrounds the baby in the womb.

  • Blood = 4 pounds

  • Body fluids = 4 pounds

  • Breasts = 2 pounds

  • Fat, protein and other nutrients = 7 pounds

  • Placenta = 1.5 pounds. The placenta grows in your uterus (also called womb) and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord.

  • Uterus = 2 pounds. The uterus is the place inside you where your baby grows

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Tips for maintaining a healthy weight

  1. Work closely with your ob/gyn or physician to set and achieve healthy weight gain goals during pregnancy.
  2. Avoid consuming unhealthy foods such as fatty meats, soft drinks and fried food that have added sugar and solid fats in them.

  3. Remain aware of your meal portion size while eating food.

  4. Walk, cycle or swim every other day. Try to set a target goal of 150 minutes per week for aerobic exercises.

  5. Track your weight closely throughout the pregnancy period.

Note: It is not advisable to embark on weight loss programs during pregnancy as it may harm the fetus. Instead, focus on consuming healthy foods, exercise regularly, and consult with your physician as your pregnancy continues to progress.

Maintaining a healthy weight, diet, and exercise regime while pregnant is important to keep baby healthy in utero. Cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta tissue banking can help keep baby healthy after baby is born. Learn more about the benefits of stem cells banking.


Admin-mdp. "The Dangers of Gaining Too Much Weight During Pregnancy." Parents. Parents, 12 Dec. 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.

"How Much Weight Will I Put on during My Pregnancy? - Health Questions." NHS Choices. NHS, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.

"Weight Gain During Pregnancy." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Oct. 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.

"Weight Gain during Pregnancy." March of Dimes. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.