The Ultimate Guide to Weight Gain during Pregnancy

The ultimate guide to weight gain during pregnancy

Pregnancy and weight gain come hand in hand. It’s probably the only time when most women happily embrace the kilos piling on the body. However, it’s also important to know what is the right weight to gain, since underweight or overweight can both cause complications. However, gaining weight doesn’t imply that your fat intake should go up. Weight gain during pregnancy is possible when expectant mothers consume a diet that is rich in healthy carbohydrates and lean proteins. A pregnant woman requires around 300 calories more, every day, than what she did when she was not pregnant. This way, she can achieve the right weight during her pregnancy.

Helpful data on weight gain

Women who have a healthy weight before pregnancy, or have a BMI in between 18.5 and 24.9, should gain 11 kg to 16 kg. After the first three months of pregnancy, one needs to gain about 1.5 kg each month, throughout the rest of the pregnancy period.

Therefore, it is not required to gain extra kilos in the first three months. But as the baby starts growing, the mother will need an extra 1400 to 1900 calories a day, during the second and third trimesters. In case you are carrying twins, you will need 3000 to 3500 calories a day.

The only way to gain this much weight without leaning towards obesity is by following a healthy diet. Mothers must consume appropriate amounts of folic acid, calcium, iron, iodine, and protein.

Pregnancy weight gain guidance

It is always advisable to consult your doctor before you plan to gain weight. But certain tips will help you to understand how to gain weight during pregnancy without going over the board.

  • Try eating 5 to 6 small meals every day.
  • Always keep quick and healthy snacks handy, such as dry fruits, nuts, fresh yoghurt, cereals and soups.
  • Peanut butter, apples, and bananas are rich in calories and protein. So, add them to your regular diet.
  • Protein-rich diets such as eggs, fish, and lean meat are very nutritious for expectant mothers.

When to gain weight?

It is necessary to keep track of the pregnancy weight gain month by month. How much a woman will gain depends on three major factors, which are, her rate of metabolism, activity level, and genetics.

From the second trimester onwards, as your baby starts growing, your body should gain weight fast to support this growth. In the third trimester, the baby's weight will increase even faster. However, pregnant women might either experience steady weight or a drop in weight during the 8th and 9th months.

Standard weight gain chart

Since there are no standardised Indian guidelines for mothers regarding weight gain during pregnancy, gynaecologists and obstetricians mostly follow international guidelines.

In this regard, one of the most important things to know is the weight distribution of your body. Pregnant women might think that all the weight gain is going to their belly. However, the reality is different. The extra weight gained is utilised by-

  • The baby
  • Placenta
  • Maternal breast tissue
  • Amniotic fluid
  • Maternal blood volume
  • Uterine enlargement
  • Maternal fat stores
  • Fluids in maternal tissue

Here is the weight gain during pregnancy chart that is usually followed:

Weight (pre-pregnancy) Body Mass Index Recommended weight gain (2nd and 3rd trimester)
Underweight 18.5 13 to 18 kg
Normal weight 18.5 to 24.9 11 to 16 kg
Overweight 25 to 29.9 7 to 11 kg

Apart from this chart that shows the ideal weight gain for expectant mothers, there is also a baby weight chart during pregnancy that can help you understand the growth and weight of the foetus.

Pregnancy week Weight (gm)
8 weeks 1gm
9 weeks 2gms
10 weeks 4gms
11 weeks 7gms
12 weeks 14gms
13 weeks 23gms
14 weeks 43gms
15 weeks 70gms
16 weeks 100gms
17 weeks 140gms
18 weeks 190gms
19 weeks 240gms

As pregnant mothers start gaining weight, it also affects the baby. Thus, maintaining a healthy weight throughout the 9 months is important, apart from undergoing regular check-ups.

Bottom line

Eating a balanced diet is the only way to gain weight healthily and supply nutrients to your baby throughout pregnancy. So, consult a gynaecologist or a dietician to plan meals efficiently.