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Managing your weight gain during pregnancy

Prenatal care - managing your weight

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What is the Right Amount of Weight to Gain?

Most women should gain somewhere between 25 and 35 pounds (11.5 to 16 kilograms) during pregnancy. Most will gain 2 to 4 pounds (1 to 2 kilograms) during the first trimester, and then 1 pound (0.5 kilogram) a week for the rest of the pregnancy. The amount of weight gain depends on your situation.

A balanced, nutrient-rich diet, along with exercise, is the basis for a healthy pregnancy. For most pregnant women, the right amount of calories is:

What's Causing the Weight Gain?

Much of the weight that you gain during pregnancy is not fat, but is related to the baby. Here is a breakdown of how 35 pounds (16 kilograms) adds up:

Managing Weight During Pregnancy

Some women are already overweight when they get pregnant. Other women gain weight too quickly during their pregnancy. Either way, a pregnant woman should not go on a diet or try to lose weight during pregnancy.

It is better to focus on eating the right foods and staying active. If you do not gain enough weight during pregnancy, you and your baby may have problems.

Still, you can make changes in your diet to get the nutrients you need without gaining too much weight. Talk to your health care provider to get help with planning a healthy diet.

Below are some healthy eating tips to help you get started.

Healthy choices:

Foods to avoid:

Eating out:

Cooking at home:

Exercise:

Body Image During Pregnancy

If you have struggled with your weight in the past, it may be hard to accept that it is ok to gain weight now. It is normal to feel anxious as the numbers on the scale edge up.

Keep in mind that you need to gain weight for a healthy pregnancy. The extra pounds will come off after you have had your baby. However, if you gain a lot more weight than is recommended, your baby will also be bigger. That can sometimes lead to problems with delivery. A healthy diet and regular exercise are your best ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Related Information

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References

Bodnar LM, Himes KP. Maternal nutrition. In: Resnik R, Lockwood CJ, Moore TR, Greene MF, Copel JA, Silver RM, eds. Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 12.

West EH, Hark L, Catalano PM. Nutrition during pregnancy. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 7.

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Review Date: 9/25/2018  

Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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