How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy weight gain is unavoidable but how much do you actually need to gain?

The answer may surprise you!


All your pregnancy weight gain questions answered. After three pregnancies, I've learned a lot about weight gain during pregnancy. Discover how much weight you should gain during pregnancy and how the weight is distributed to you and your baby. Learn what to expect about pregnancy weight gain.

Today you will learn everything you need to know about pregnancy weight gain and tips to manage it for a healthy pregnancy.

Many moms fear how much weight they will gain during their pregnancy and how their bodies will change.

Despite these fears, many women are putting on too much weight during pregnancy which could lead to further complications including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth and even low birth weight.

We are told to embrace the process which also means accepting all the extra pounds we pack on.

However, for most, that weight gain doesn’t come without fear.

Not to mention they are left feeling discouraged and frustrated because some have more weight to lose from the pregnancy than they ever imagined.

Related: 15 Tips To Overcome Negative Body Image During Pregnancy


Why It’s Important To Manage Pregnancy Weight Gain?

Managing a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is much more than aesthetics.

It is about ensuring a healthy pregnancy for both mom AND baby.  

In a society where 1 in 3 Americans are considered overweight or obese,  it is important for expecting moms to be educated of the risks associated with gaining too much weight during pregnancy.

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy is associated with medical conditions such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, low birth weight and cesarian delivery. 


1How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy?

I’m sure you have heard the term, “Eating for two”.

However, this mindset often leads to excess and unnecessary weight gain.

I definitely had this mindset my first pregnancy and gained the most weight out of all three of my pregnancies.

First, keep in mind, pregnancy weight gain is not an exact science.

Your rate of weight gain will depend on many factors such as activity level, genetics, and your metabolism.

This is why it is important to talk to your doctor about what is best for you and your pregnancy.

You may have already heard pregnancy weight gain recommendations of 25-35 pounds.

However, this is targeted toward women whose body mass index (BMI) falls in the “Normal” range.

The first step in determining your ideal weight gain goal is to calculate your BMI. You can use this calculator.

However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) offers general weight gain guidelines based on various BMI ranges.


2. How Much Weight Should You Expect to Gain Each Trimester?

The amount of weight you gain during pregnancy is primarily determined by your pre-pregnancy weight. 

If you are a slightly overweight, your body does not need to gain a significant amount of extra weight during pregnancy.

On the flip side, if you are slightly underweight prior to pregnancy, you need to gain slightly more.

  • Underweight pre-pregnancy (BMI less than 18.5)- 28-40 pounds
  • Average prepregnancy weight (BMI 18.5-24.9): 25-35 pounds
  • Overweight pre-pregnancy (BMI 25-29): 15-25 pounds
  • Obese prior to pregnancy (BMI 30+)- 11-20 pounds (1)

If you are carrying twins, these numbers will be different.

Pregnancy weight gain by Trimester

Remember, these are just guidelines.

Some weeks you may gain more than what is suggested and others you may not gain anything.

The most important thing is to keep an awareness of your overall weight gain.

First trimester weight gain: 1-4.5 pounds

Your baby is only about the size of a poppyseed to a peach by week 12.

If you fall in the average pregnancy weight gain category, you only need to gain about 1-4.5lbs.

If you have morning sickness, you may gain much less than or may even lose some weight.

This is okay as long as your appetite comes back in the second trimester and your weight gain picks up.

Keep in mind, during the first trimester, your baby is only about the size of a poppy seed to a small peach.

It doesn’t need a significant, if any, excess calories. Your baby is getting everything it needs from your body and the foods you eat.


Second trimester weight gain: 1-2 pounds per week

This is when your baby is really starting to grow! During the second trimester you should gain about 1-2 pounds per week and average out to about 12-14 pounds depending on your pre-pregnancy weight.

Remember, this is just an average so some weeks you may not gain anything and others you may gain more.


Third Trimester weight gain: 1-2 Pounds a week

This is when the baby really starts packing on the pounds! Don’t let this scare you because your weight gain may actually taper off.

With less room in your belly, making room for food can be a challenge. Some women actually find that their weight stays steady or even drops a little. This is definitely not a time to try and lose weight but a time when your baby may be doing the bulk of her weight gain.

Remember these are just averages to give you a starting point. You and your health care provider need to decide what is best for you.

Related: 25 Reasons to Stay Active During Pregnancy

Related: Fat Loss During Pregnancy: 13 Expert Tips To Do It Safely


3. How Close Will I Be able to Following This Exact Formula?

Realistically, not very close.

You will have a lot of fluctuations in your weight throughout your pregnancy which is mostly due to fluid retention.

There will likely be weeks where you overeat followed by weeks where you can barely stand the site of food.

Our bodies are not cookie cutter creatures so it is important not to get frustrated if your weight gain is not following the guidelines exactly! (1)

The important thing is to monitor your weight gain and make sure it stays in a healthy range for you and your pregnancy.

If you start noticing the weight is coming on a little too quickly, then try with-staining from those cravings and shoot to be a little more active.

Remember, excess weight gain during pregnancy can cause potentially unhealthy complications for you and your baby.


4. Pregnancy Weight Gain Distribution

If your eating healthy and monitoring your weight gain, most of the weight you gain during pregnancy goes directly toward the growth of your baby.

Here is a general breakdown of baby weight gain. (1)

  • Baby by the end of pregnancy = 7.5 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds. Amniotic fluid surrounds the baby in the womb.
  • Uterus – 2 pounds
  • Increased blood volume = 4 pounds
  • Increased body fluids = 4 pounds
  • Breast tissue= 2 pounds
  • Placenta = 2 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 grow


5. Whats the Best Way to Manage Pregnancy Weight Gain Without Going Crazy?

While I am not a huge fan of a scale, pregnancy is an exception.

In order to stay on track, you d need to monitor your weight gain.

What we don’t know, we can’t control, right?

Here are a few tips to on tracking your pregnancy weight gain without driving yourself crazy.

  • Only weigh yourself only once a week. More than this and you’ll drive yourself crazy by the daily fluid fluctuations.
  • Weigh yourself at the same time of the day
  • Use the same scale
  • Wear similar clothes or nothing at all
  • Keep track of it!

Waiting for your monthly doctor appointments is fine too but just keep in mind that a lot can happen in one month’s time which can make it harder to stay on track.

Related: The Fit Mom’s Guide to Running During Pregnancy

6. What if I’m Gaining Too Much Weight During Pregnancy?

If you feel concerned about your weight gain, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

However, there are a few things you can do if you feel like you are gaining too much weight or too quickly:

  • Focus on eating foods that provide nutrients for both you and your baby. Avoid processed foods that provide little to no nutritional value. These foods often leave you with more cravings and fatigue. 

  • Start keeping a food journal. If you notice your diet consists of mostly processed foods and unhealthy options, start swapping those with more protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Get moving! If you were active prior to pregnancy, great job, keep going. Even if you have never exercised before, light to moderate exercises such as walking, swimming or even light weight training is safe during pregnancy. If you did not exercise prior to pregnancy, make sure you run it by your doctor first.
  • Drink more water! Because of the excess fluid volume during pregnancy, our bodies need all the hydration it can get. Plus, being hydrated may help combat the desire to eat.

Pregnancy is the best time to really pay attention to what you put in your body.

I know you may not be feeling your best and healthy foods do not sound appealing.

However, you wouldn’t feed your baby processed foods, fast food or foods with excess sugar, right?

These foods are not providing your body or your baby with nutrients, just calories.

Remember, what you feed your body, you feed your baby!


7. What Are The Risks Associated With Excess Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

The most obvious reason is that excess weight gain will make your pregnancy much more physically challenging.

You’re likely to experience more discomfort, aches and pains, and fatigue.

However, what’s more important is that excess weight gain can directly affect your growing baby and your overall health during the pregnancy.

Excess weight gain during pregnancy is associated with preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low birth weight, increased risk of cesarian section and even preterm birth.

These health issues can be serious if left untreated so sticking to a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is the best way to avoid facing these complications.


8. How Can I Deal With Anxiety About Pregnancy Weight Gain?

Coming from a background of a severe eating disorder that almost took my life twice in high school, I understand how scary it can feel to not only gain weight during pregnancy but also see the changes that take place.

However, after now having gone through three pregnancies, I can assure you that it doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems!

Knowing how much weight to gain and where the weight gain goes during pregnancy can really help to alleviate some of those fears.

Yes, your body will change and it might not go back to the way it was before. BUT, your body and mind are now stronger than ever.

There is nothing more empowering than pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood!

The most important thing is to have a healthy baby and pregnancy.

This means eating foods that provide proper nutrients to you and your baby as well as staying active to help with things such as reduce blood pressure, reduce stress, improve sleep and can even help your baby be smarter!

Related: 25 Reasons to Stay Active During Pregnancy

I can honestly tell you that I have been more proud and confident in my body AFTER having babies than before.

And I am confident you can too!


9. Will All The Weight Come off After the Baby is Born?

The time it takes to lose the weight gained during pregnancy will vary for all of us.

However, it doesn’t have to stay with you forever.

Following a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy will help you stay on track and lose the weight faster after pregnancy.

Just be sure to give your body time to recover from birth and the exhaustion of caring for a newborn.

I highly suggest focusing on strengthening your core and pelvic floor before resuming strenuous exercise too quickly.

Be sure to check for Diastasis Recti or pelvic organ prolapse.

I will be honest, my workouts had to change drastically after having kids. They had to be short yet intense.

But these types of workouts also gave me the best results that I had ever gotten in all my 20 plus years of working out!

Related: Tone in 10-The modern moms guide to losing weight, getting lean and feeling more confident in as little as 10 minutes a day.

With a little confidence, support, and encouragement, you can do it!


Final Thoughts On Managing Pregnancy Weight Gain

Between hormones, aches and pains and exhaustion, managing pregnancy weight gain can feel impossible.

Remember, pregnancy is only temporary, motherhood is forever. 

Maintaining a healthy weight gain during pregnancy will provide the healthiest body for both you and your growing baby! 

I’m only one email away from helping you reach your goals or answer any questions. Never hesitate to reach out!



  1. American Pregnancy Association
  2. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Picture of pregnant mom holding a scale to show recommended weight gain during pregnancy


We are told to embrace the process which also means accepting all the extra pounds we pack on.

However, for most, that weight gain doesn’t come without fear.

Not to mention they are left feeling discouraged and frustrated because some have more weight to lose from the pregnancy than they ever imagined.

One of the most common questions I am asked is,

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  1. Just wondering what some of the common and most nutritious foods you ate were ? I work most everyday and am on my feet a lot. So snacking during the day on something nutritious is what gets me through the day. But I need more ideas on what are good healthy snacks I can grab and go with?

    1. During my pregnancies, I really enjoyed snacking on Lara Bars, protein shakes with peanut butter and banana, crackers with hummus, avocado toast, fruit with string cheese, celery and carrots with hummus, turkey wraps with lowcarb tortillas, popcorn, and nuts like almonds. These are just a few things off the top of my head =)

  2. Brooke, thank you so much for this article and this blog. This is my first pregnancy, and although I’m gaining weight at a healthy weight, staying active, and eating healthy, it’s still been so incredibly difficult to watch myself gain weight and watch my body change. So thank you again for your encouragement, information, and efforts; it’s made a difference in my life today.

    1. I am so glad you found it helpful! Congratulations on your pregnancy and great job staying active and eating healthy. I know it’s hard to see the changes to your body during pregnancy but you are doing all the right things to have a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby!

  3. According to your post, about 25 pounds gained during pregnancy tend to be baby weight. Does that mean that a woman who only gains the recommended 25 pounds will get back to pre-pregnancy weight without any extra effort after delivery?

    1. You could definitely get back to your pre-pregnancy weight with little effort. However, know that your body composition will probably be a little different so you may not fit back in your old clothes right away. You do lose muscle during pregnancy and it takes some time to build it back. Avoiding excess weight gain during pregnancy as well as participating in a consistent prenatal workout routine will definitely help you get back to where you’d like to be after your baby arrives =)

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