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Healthy Weight Gain during Pregnancy

Written by Rakhee Maloo, BA  | Medically Reviewed by dr. simi paknikar, MD on Dec 02, 2014
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What is Healthy Weight Gain during Pregnancy?

Weight gain during pregnancy is a necessity. But this weight gain must be in a healthy range to ensure good health of the expectant mother as well as of their growing fetus. Weight gain during pregnancy also affects the post delivery health of the new mothers and infants. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure healthy weight gain in pregnancy.

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The question is how much weight gain is normal during pregnancy? Well, there is no fixed answer to this as recommended weight gain during pregnancy is based on several factors such as pre-pregnancy weight, height, the body mass index (BMI), whether the mother is carrying more than one child, one’s individual health needs and the needs of the fetus.

Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Average Weight Gain during Pregnancy

Generally for pregnant underweight women with BMI under 18.5, a weight gain in the range of 28 to 40 pounds is considered normal. The recommended weight gain during pregnancy for women with a healthy weight and with BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is between 25 to 35 pounds. For women who are overweight with BMI of 25 to 29.9, the healthy weight gain in pregnancy is between 15 to 25 pounds.

For obese women with BMI over 30, the weight gain can be between 11 to 20 pounds. These figures change considerably for women carrying multiples fetuses. Therefore, it is better to consult a doctor to find out the ideal weight gain for pregnancy health. It is very important that pregnant women follow the recommendations of their doctors for their diet and weight plans.

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Healthy Weight Gain during First Trimester

For expectant mothers, it helps to know the ideal range of weight gain during pregnancy week by week This is because the diet needs of pregnant women as well as the fetuses are different as the pregnancy progresses. During the first trimester, women can gain up to 5 pounds, which is considered healthy. Anywhere from 1 pound to 5 is fine depending on the pre-pregnancy weight. But weight loss during early pregnancy is also quite common due to morning sickness. This is not really a cause of worry as retching, vomiting and aversions to eating, which are all symptoms of morning sickness, clear away after a while. It is possible to compensate for any weight loss during pregnancy in the first trimester by eating well as soon as the morning sickness goes away.

Morning Sickness

Healthy Weight Gain during Second Trimester

The average weight gain during pregnancy in the second trimester can be about 4 pounds each month. This is the time after the signs of morning sickness have disappeared and the appetite is back to normal. This is not the time to worry about weight but the time to eat the right food. When one eats right, healthy baby weight is ensured. The second trimester of pregnancy is most often easier for women compared to their first and third trimesters. Therefore, it is also easier to follow a good diet plan and remain active during this time.

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Healthy Weight Gain during Third Trimester

Going by the weight gain during pregnancy chart and normal weight before pregnancy; half to one pound of weight gain per week is fine. The healthy weight gain in pregnancy in the third trimester includes the baby’s weight, the weight of the placenta and the amniotic fluid, growing breast tissue, growing uterus, fat storage in the cells and the tissues etc. So there is no need to panic when one suddenly gains weight, as most of it is necessary and a part of pregnancy.

Diet for Healthy Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Most fruits and vegetables can be eaten during pregnancy to maintain average weight gain during pregnancy. Food that contains healthy fats such as omega three fatty acids, must be eaten during pregnancy. Food rich in iron, vitamin C, and folate are required for the healthy growth of the fetus. Including multigrain breads, pasta, cereals and rice is recommended for the carbohydrate requirements. Eggs, salmon, chicken breasts and other lean meats, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and low-fat dairy products can be eaten for good pregnancy health. It is also important to ask the doctor for recommendations regarding the pregnancy diet plan.

Diet for Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy
  1. Pregnancy week by week - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-weight-gain/art-20044360)

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