What trimester do you gain most weight during pregnancy

Weight gain in pregnancy

Weight gain during pregnancy is one of life’s certainties, but studies show that many women don’t know how much weight they should be putting on – and could be putting themselves and their baby at risk

Some women find it a pleasant change to be able to ‘let it all hang out’ and no longer worry about having a bit of a tummy, while others find the changes to their body make them feel strangely out of control. While you should avoid gaining too much weight, a certain amount is a sign that everything is as it should be so try and accept it, even if you can’t fully embrace it (and even if no one can ‘fully embrace’ you as your bump grows).

How much weight gain is normal during pregnancy?

Several factors determine how much weight you will put on during pregnancy: your pre-pregnancy weight, the amount you eat and your genetic make-up being just some of them. The NHS estimates that the average woman with a healthy BMI will put on around 22-28lb (10-12.5kg) and most of this is after week 20.

To get an idea of how much weight you should ideally be gaining during pregnancy, first work out your BMI. Divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres then divide the answer by your height again to get your BMI. Or you can use an online calculator to get the number.

Once you have your BMI, the chart below will tell you how much weight gain you should be aiming for.

How much weight you should gain during pregnancy:

  • BMI less than 19.8 – 28lb to 40lb
  • BMI 19.8-26 – 25lb to 35lb
  • BMI 26.1-29 – 15lb to 25lb
  • BMI more than 29 – 15lb

If you’re gaining a bit more or less than this, don’t panic. Everyone is built differently and your midwife will be keeping an eye on any sudden weight gain or loss. You can always ask at one of your appointments if you have any concerns.

What makes up the weight you gain in pregnancy?

The rest of it will be:

  • Your breasts, which alone can put on more than 1kg (3lb) as they prepare for breastfeeding
  • Increased blood volume
  • Extra fluid in the body
  • An increase in the muscle layer of the uterus
  • Increased fat stores

When do you start to gain weight in pregnancy?

This differs from one woman to the next. Most of the weight gain happens after 20 weeks, when the baby starts to grow much more quickly. During the first trimester some women actually lose weight due to pregnancy sickness or just going off lots of foods.

How much weight will I gain in the first trimester?

An average weight gain during the first trimester is about 5lb – so you might not look that different at all by 12 weeks. If you’re very sick in the early days and weeks, you might even find you lose weight in the first three months. Lots of women report that simply cutting out the booze and eating more healthily sees off a few pounds, too!

How much weight will I gain in the second trimester?

There’s a lot of variation, dependent on your metabolism, the size of your baby and what your weight was pre-pregnancy (the heavier you were to begin with the less you can expect to gain) but on average, women gain around 1lb a week in months three to six. The key is to keep your weight gain as steady as possible. Gaining at a slower pace might help you to avoid stretchmarks, too.

How much weight will I gain in the third trimester?

Ideally, you’ll keep putting on weight at an average of 1lb a week in the last three months. By this stage though your baby is really laying down the pounds herself, so you’ll need a little bit more fuel yourself – about 200 calories extra per day (that’s an extra slice of toast and butter and a large banana).

How much weight will I put on if I’m having twins?

If you’re carrying twins you can typically expect to gain around 50% more than you would with a single baby. It may well feel like more than double, however.

How can I control my weight in pregnancy?

You don’t want to gain no weight at all, the main thing is to try and keep weight gain steady – it’s all about common sense. Aim for a balanced diet of fruit, veg, carbohydrates, protein, fish, lean meats – and not too much red meat, sugars and excessively fatty or over-processed foods.

Make sure you’re up to date on all the various dos and don’ts of pregnancy in terms of what you should be eating. And try to eat smaller meals, which you might want to do anyway if you’re suffering from heartburn.

The eating for two thing, while being a good excuse to indulge, should really be discarded. You need to eat a bit more, yes, but don’t go mad.

For the first two trimesters your calorie intake should be the same as before – around 2,000 calories a day. It’s only in the third trimester that you’ll need an extra 200 calories a day. Remember that extra 200 calories is better expended on a slice of toast and peanut butter or a small avocado than a four-finger KitKat, though.

What exercise can I do to keep weight gain steady in pregnancy?

Try to stay active, exercise moderately but regularly, drink plenty of water and take cues from your body about when and how much to exercise.

If you were fairly fit before, you should be able to carry on running or going to the gym (or whatever your preferred method of exercise was pre-pregnancy). If you were more couch sloth than gym bunny though, don’t despair. There are lots of fantastic classes dedicated to pregnancy around, so now’s a great time to get started. Ask what’s on at your local leisure centre or have a look at your Mumsnet Local pages to see what’s available near you.

Will I be weighed during pregnancy?

You’ll be weighed as part of your booking-in appointment and have your BMI calculated. After that, you won’t be weighed much at all unless you or your midwife have concerns about how much weight you are (or aren’t) gaining. The midwives will measure your bump from time to time, and if they are concerned that the baby might be too big or too small you may be referred for an additional scan to have a closer look.

It used to be that women were weighed at every antenatal appointment but the NHS seems to have caught on that pregnancy can be nerve-wracking enough without being forced to step on the scales in public every few weeks.

What are the risks of gaining too much weight during pregnancy?

You should put on weight steadily throughout your pregnancy. Rapid weight gain can signify a problem such as pre-eclampsia so do ask your midwife if you have any concerns. Thwacking the weight on too fast can put you at greater risk of developing gestational diabetes and thrombosis, and you may be more likely to suffer heavy bleeding post birth.

Official advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists states, “It is a myth that women need to ‘eat for two’ during their pregnancy – energy needs do not change until the last three months of pregnancy, when women need an extra 200 calories a day. Having a normal bodyweight will help to increase the chances of conceiving naturally and reduces the risk of pregnancy and birth complications for the mother and baby.”

Excess weight gain can mean your baby is bigger and research also suggests that a baby who is big for their dates is more likely to run into problems such as shoulder dystocia during labour, making a Caesarean section more likely. Big babies are also more likely to have obesity later in life.

What are the risks of not gaining enough weight during pregnancy?

You might be surprised to know that not gaining enough weight in pregnancy might also mean your child is at greater risk of obesity in later life. You may also have an increased risk of having a small baby or premature birth.

What are the risks of being overweight or underweight before pregnancy?

Being underweight or overweight can sometimes have a detrimental effect on your ability to conceive, and then once you are pregnant, on the development of your baby.

Women who are malnourished before they become pregnant are more prone to things like:

Those who are overweight before they get pregnant run the risk of complications such as:

What should I do if I’m overweight and pregnant?

In my first pregnancy I started at about 9st 2, went down to 8st 7 from first trimester nausea, then in five months when food became tolerable again ballooned rapidly to 13st. At 5ft 2, I looked like a weeble with size 8 shoulders and a 43 inch waistline! I lost it all within a year though.

Your midwife or GP will be able to give you advice if you are either underweight or overweight. Try to eat sensibly and healthily and on no account try to lose weight once you’re pregnant. You should be looking more at being active and swapping healthy foods in for less ‘good for you’ alternatives.

If you’re already diabetic before pregnancy, you could ask your diabetes nurse to review your diet before trying to conceive and check whether you should be taking a higher dose of folic acid – some women with a high BMI are advised to do this. If you’re already pregnant and diabetic, make sure your midwives are aware so that you get all the appropriate care you’re entitled to.

When will I lose my baby weight?

Most women lose about two-thirds of the weight they have put on within a month of giving birth but the rest can be difficult to shift post-pregnancy and can cause self-esteem and confidence issues. It’s often harder to lose the weight if you’re a slightly older mum, too.

Some women find it easier to lose weight once they stop breastfeeding. Try to lay off the empty calories and just be sensible in your approach to food. Exercise will help you shift any remaining baby weight, but do wait until you’ve had the all-clear at your six-week check-up before getting started.

Speak to other mums at your stage of pregnancy on the Mumsnet Talk boards.

How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy

If you experience too much pregnancy weight gain, it may be hard for you to lose those excess pounds after delivery. Find out which foods to avoid during pregnancy and the recommended food groups.

When it comes to pregnancy and weight gain, it is crucial that you know which food items to eat and to avoid for a healthy delivery.

How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy Chart

There is a no one size fits all principle when it comes to your pregnancy diet and how much weight should you gain during pregnancy . The amount of weight you need to acquire depends on a variety of factors such as your body mass index or BMI and pre pregnancy weight.

Your current health and your baby's health also affect your weight gain. Here are the general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain:

BMI less than 18 (underweight): 28- 40 lbs:

BMI of 18 to 24.9 (normal weight): 25- 35 lbs:

BMI of 25 to 29 (overweight): 15- 25 lbs:

BMI of more than 30 (obese): 11- 20 lbs:

If you are expecting twins, then you are likely to gain more weight.

How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy

A lot of women today are constantly faced with pregnancy and weight gain issues. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is a good way of providing your baby with all the valuable nutrients he or she needs to develop at a healthy pace. Whether you like it or not, weight gain during pregnancy is inevitable. Your baby's normal growth and development highly depend on it. Eating for two people is not a license for you to eat twice as much as your normal portions. Try to implement healthy lifestyle habits to control your weight gain, nourish your baby's health and make it easier for you to shed extra pounds after delivery.

How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy By Week

How much weight should you gain during pregnancy varies from one pregnant woman to another. The normal weight gain is around 10 to 13 kilos. The pattern for weight gain is a kilo or two during the first three months followed by a weight gain of 0.4 kilos weekly during the final six months. However, not all pregnant women follow this weight gain pattern. For instance, if you are underweight, you may find yourself putting on more than the average amount. And if you are overweight, the beginning of your pregnancy weight gain may be less than the normal range. Never try to lose weight as inadequate intake may deprive your baby of the vital nutrients needed for normal growth and development. Women who are asking how much weight should you gain during pregnancy should set aside their personal concerns for the mean time and start focusing on the health of the baby.

How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy By Month

Weight gain should be at a gradual pace during pregnancy. Expect most of the weight gain happening in the final trimester. Most doctors suggest that women gain weight at the following rate: one to four pounds during the first trimester or the first three months of pregnancy; and two to four pounds every month during the remaining months.

How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?

Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What’s Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.

Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

One of the first thoughts a woman may have upon finding she is pregnant is this: how much weight will be gained during the pregnancy? Most women will worry about it, fearing they will gain too much and never get back into their pre-pregnancy size.

Pregnant women have good reason to worry about their weight; too little gained during pregnancy and too much gained during pregnancy can both have negative effects on the baby and the mother.

In fact, pregnancy weight gain will always be a hot topic. Isn’t it a common curiosity of all those who speak to you of your pregnancy progress?

Imagine this: years ago, it was ‘vogue’ for women to gain only 15lbs during pregnancy. Doctors found out that it was too little to gain, so it then became in style to gain any amount and go all out when eating. That too proved to be unhealthy!

So what do we consider healthy pregnancy weight gain today?

To better understand gaining weight during pregnancy, let’s examine a few points:

  • What You Gain During Pregnancy
  • How Much You Should Gain During Pregnancy
  • Not Gaining Weight in Pregnancy
  • Gaining Too Much During Pregnancy

Gaining Weight During Pregnancy

How much weight did you gain in previous pregnancies?

Pregnancy Weight Gain

Celebrity Pregnancy Weight Gain

Do not be swayed by how much (or how little) the celebrities gain during pregnancy. Trying to be thin like them or gaining too much too fast hoping to lose it in a few weeks after giving birth is just not healthy for you and your baby. You may not have the same metabolism as they do nor the resources that they might have at their disposal.

Gain what is right for you and what your doctor recommends.

Causes of Pregnancy Weight Gain

What You Gain in Pregnancy

There’s good reason for gaining weight during pregnancy: you’re growing a baby! To grow that baby, other things need to expand or increase as well:

  • Placenta
  • Uterus
  • Mother’s blood volume
  • Amniotic fluid
  • Breast tissue
  • Fluids in the mother’s body
  • Mother’s fat reserves
  • Baby

As you can see in the table on the right, each of these things provide a certain amount of gained weight, totaling 30 lbs for the mother.

That’s all assuming healthy weight gain. If that’s what you gain to help grow a baby, that’s great.

If that’s what you gained eating candy bars and ice cream with pickles, YIKES!

Of course, the 30 lbs is approximate for normal weight, dependent on a multitude of factors that are unique for each woman and each pregnancy.

Here is what you should try to gain during pregnancy according to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy Chart

How Much to Gain During Pregnancy

The above chart shows you how much you should gain dependent on your Body Mass Index number. It shows healthy, responsible weight gain, not that gained by overeating or water retention.

Your BMI is determined by your height and weight using this formula:

BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703

For example, if your pre-pregnancy weight is 150 and you’re 5 feet 2 inches tall, your formula would look like this:

BMI= (150/(62 x 62)) x 703

BMI=(150/3,844) x 703

BMI= 0.03902 x 703

Your BMI would be 27.4, which is in the overweight range. Recommended weight gain would be 15-25 lbs.

As a standard, many doctors and books simply say that 25-35 lbs gained during pregnancy is acceptable, but that is based on a woman of normal, healthy weight prior to pregnancy. Speak with your doctor about how much you should gain during your pregnancy.

How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy Weight Gain Tracker

If you want to keep track of your weight gain during pregnancy, you can use an online program or a smartphone app:

  • Smartphone apps such as Baby Bump Pro allow you to track your weight.
  • BabyCenter has a great online tool to help you determine your recommended weight gain and shows you a chart of how much to gain by weeks.

Weight Gain Tracker for Pregnancy

Not Gaining Weight During Pregnancy

Some women become adamant about not gaining any weight during pregnancy. For most women, it is not recommended that they try to lose weight during pregnancy or maintain their pre-pregnancy weight.

As you saw before, healthy weight gain is needed for growing the baby. Women who are considered morbidly obese might be asked to try to lose a little weight or to maintain their current weight. As a reference, that would be any woman who has a BMI of 40 or more. Why? The more overweight a woman is before and during pregnancy, the more she will have problems with the pregnancy and her body.

On the other hand, if you’re worried that you lost weight in the first trimester, don’t worry; it’s common for pregnant women to lose a few pounds in the first few months. Morning sickness is often the culprit. Between feeling nauseous and not having an appetite, who feels like eating?

If morning sickness has caused you to lose some weight, don’t worry. Eat when you can, and make every calorie count. Small, frequent, healthy meals will be enough for your baby.

Gaining Too Much Weight During Pregnancy

On the other hand, some women gain too much during pregnancy, causing many problems for both the mother and the baby:

  • Gestational diabetes. This form of diabetes often shows up during pregnancy when hormones inhibit the correct amount of sugar from leaving the bloodstream. If not taken care of, it can have consequences for both the mother and the baby.
  • Baby that is too large. While gaining weight doesn’t necessarily mean a large baby, already being overweight or obese may result in a large baby. Also, conditions such as gestational diabetes contributes to bigger babies.
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to complications for both the mother and the baby, putting pressure on the mother’s organs and resulting in a low birth weight or premature birth for the baby. It can also lead to preeclampsia.
  • Preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition that is usually preceded by high blood pressure and results in a toxic reaction in the mother’s liver, kidney, and brain through the bloodstream. It also affects the placenta, leading to complications for the baby. If left untreated (treatment usually being delivery of the baby), it can lead to seizures and death of both the mother and baby.
  • Higher risks during c-section recovery. Those who are overweight or obese who have a c-section may have more complications during the recovery, one of them being clots.
  • Can’t see baby with ultrasounds or hear heartbeat due to excessive body fat. In order to keep progress of the baby, doctors and midwifes use ultrasound and other equipment. If the mother’s body fat is too much, the waves of the ultrasound machine can not get a clear picture of the baby or pick up a heart beat.

On top of all that, women who are overweight and gain too much weight during pregnancy increase their chances of the following:

  • Varicose veins. Veins that bulge, usually in the legs, and cause pain.
  • Hemorrhoids. Veins in the rectum that bulge out and cause pain, especially when constipated during pregnancy.
  • Stretch marks. Anyone can get stretch marks, but when you gain too much weight, it results in potential for even more stretch marks.
  • Backaches. Carrying extra weight puts a strain on the back muscles.
  • Fatigue. Feeling too heavy can increase fatigue, making a pregnant woman even more tired.
  • Indigestion. Extra body fat can inhibit the digestive system from working properly, resulting in indigestion and heart burn.
  • Shortness of breath. Extra weight can put strain on the lungs, making it seem like enough air is not coming in.

Gain Weight Safely During Your Pregnancy

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Video Transcript

CDC: “Tracking Your Weight for Women Who Begin a Twin Pregnancy Underweight.”

Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help your baby get the nutrients he or she needs and grow at a healthy rate. But how many extra calories do you really need?

Though you do need some extra calories, it’s not necessary to ”eat for two.” The average pregnant woman needs only about 300 healthy calories more a day than she did before she was pregnant. This will help her gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy.

Ask your health care provider how much weight you should gain. A woman who was average weight before getting pregnant should gain 25 to 35 pounds after becoming pregnant. Underweight women should gain 28 to 40 pounds. And overweight women may need to gain only 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy.

In general, you should gain about 2 to 4 pounds during the first three months you’re pregnant and 1 pound a week during the rest of your pregnancy. If you are expecting twins you should gain 35 to 45 pounds during your pregnancy. This would be an average of 1 ½ pounds per week after the usual weight gain in the first three months.

It’s especially important to gain the right amount of weight when you’re expecting twins because your weight affects the babies’ weight. And because twins are often born before the due date, a higher birth weight is important for their health. When carrying twins, you may need between 3,000 and 3,500 calories a day.

Where Does the Extra Weight Go During Pregnancy?

  • Baby: 8 pounds
  • Placenta: 2-3 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid: 2-3 pounds
  • Breast tissue: 2-3 pounds
  • Blood supply: 4 pounds
  • Stored fat for delivery and breastfeeding: 5-9 pounds
  • Larger uterus: 2-5 pounds
  • Total: 25-35 pounds

Is It Safe to Lose Weight When Pregnant?

If a woman is very overweight when she gets pregnant, her doctor may want her to lose weight. She should only lose weight under her doctor’s care. But in most cases, women should not try to lose weight or diet during pregnancy.

How to Gain the Right Amount of Weight During Pregnancy

If your health care provider wants you to gain weight while you’re pregnant, try these tips:

  • Eat five to six small meals every day.
  • Keep quick, easy snacks on hand, such as nuts, raisins, cheese and crackers, dried fruit, and ice cream or yogurt.
  • Spread peanut butter on toast, crackers, apples, bananas, or celery. One tablespoon of creamy peanut butter gives you about 100 calories and 7 grams of protein.
  • Add nonfat powdered milk to mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and hot cereal.
  • Add extras to your meal, such as butter or margarine, cream cheese, gravy, sour cream, and cheese.

What if You Gain Too Much Weight During Pregnancy?

If you have gained more weight than your doctor recommended, talk to your doctor about it. In most cases, you’ll want to wait until after delivery to lose weight.

Here are some tips to slow your weight gain:

  • When eating fast food, choose lower-fat items such as broiled chicken breast sandwich with tomato and lettuce (no sauce or mayonnaise), side salad with low-fat dressing, plain bagels, or a plain baked potato. Avoid foods such as French fries, mozzarella sticks, or breaded chicken patties.
  • Avoid whole milk products. You need at least four servings of milk products every day. However, using skim, 1%, or 2% milk will greatly reduce the amount of calories and fat you eat. Also, choose low-fat or fat-free cheese or yogurt.
  • Limit sweet or sugary drinks. Sweetened drinks such as soft drinks, fruit punch, fruit drinks, iced tea, lemonade, or powdered drink mixes have lots of empty calories. Choose water, club soda, or mineral water to skip extra calories.
  • Don’t add salt to foods when cooking. Salt causes you to retain water.
  • Limit sweets and high-calorie snacks. Cookies, candies, donuts, cakes, syrup, honey, and potato chips have a lot of calories and little nutrition. Try not to eat these foods every day. Instead, try fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, angel food cake with strawberries, or pretzels as lower-calorie snack and dessert choices.
  • Use fats in moderation. Fats include cooking oils, margarine, butter, gravy, sauces, mayonnaise, regular salad dressings, sauces, lard, sour cream, and cream cheese. Try lower-fat alternatives.
  • Cook food the healthy way. Frying foods in oil or butter will add calories and fat. Baking, broiling, grilling, and boiling are healthier preparation methods.
  • Exercise. Moderate exercise can help burn excess calories. Walking or swimming is usually safe for pregnant women. Ask your health care provider what exercise would be right for you before getting started.

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