Weight Gain and Pregnancy


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Weight gain is another bane of pregnancy. But considering the fact that you are carrying around the extra weight of your growing baby, the placenta and the amniotic fluid, it is natural to pack on a few pounds.

Here’s where all that extra weight comes from:

  • Baby (at the time of birth) will weigh between 2.8 and 3.3 kg
  • The muscle layer of your womb (uterus) weighs around 0.9 kg
  • The placenta weighs about 0.5 kg
  • Your breasts will grow bigger and will end up weighing about 0.4 kg
  • Your blood will weigh 1.2 kg
  • Extra fluid in terms of amniotic fluid, etc., will contribute about 2.6 kg
  • Fat itself will be about 2.5 kg

So by the end of your pregnancy, you will end up about 10.5 – 11 kg heavier. During the first 3 months, all the extra weight you put on will be mainly to manufacture blood which will transport essential nutrients to your baby. But with the morning sickness and lack of appetite, you might not notice a big difference on the weighing scale. It is during the second and third trimesters that the extra pounds begin to pile on.

As your pregnancy progresses, your weight will keep varying and it will be tough to estimate how much weight you will gain on a weekly basis. If your weight was within the normal range before the pregnancy, don’t worry too much about weight gain and just make sure to eat a balanced diet and allow your hunger guide you.

It is a myth that the more you weigh the bigger your baby will be; in fact this will only make it that much more difficult to manage your pregnancy and lose that excess weight post pregnancy. However, if you don’t gain enough weight, your baby might not develop to her full mental and physical potential.

FAQs from our Readers

1. Ideally, how much weight should one gain during pregnancy?
Weight gain is an essential part of pregnancy, but the actual amount you put on will be dependent on your BMI before you got pregnant and the number of foetuses.

Eat a balanced diet and do moderate exercise and you should be fine, and there is no need to worry excessively about your weight

2. How much should one eat during pregnancy?
If you want to maintain a healthy weight, eat just 10% more than the usual number of calories you eat when you are pregnant. Moderation is key when you indulge. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and good quality protein. Avoid snacking on high-fat foods such as fries and soft drinks that are void of nutrition.

3. How much weight should be gained during the first, second and third trimesters?
If you are at a healthy weight when you get pregnant, your goal can be an increase of about 100 calories per day. Increase to 250 calories daily during the second trimester and while in the third trimester, it should be an extra 300 calories per day. Consult a dietician or nutritionist if you want a diet specially tailored for you.

4. What should be done if I am obese?
Trying to lose weight and control obesity while you are pregnant is a bad idea. Your baby’s development will not be ideal if you try to control your diet just to keep from gaining weight. The best alternative is to eat a balanced diet and exercise adequately. If you are obese and manage to do this, your baby will be born with a normal weight. Ask your doctor or nutritionist to devise a weight plan and dietary program and be true to the recommendations given.

5. What if I am underweight and pregnant?
As dangerous as it is being obese, so is being underweight. If you are underweight and cannot gain weight while pregnant, there are chances your baby will be born before term, i.e., before 37th week of pregnancy and could also be undersized. Such babies need medical attention early in life and usually end up with some chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes as adults. Poor appetite could be a result of uncontrollable situations like extreme nausea, which is difficult to manage.

Also if your BMR (basic metabolic rate) is high, you need to adjust your diet by eating more nutritious foods. Instead of 3 big meals a day, eat 6 mini meals with lots of carbohydrates. Regular exercise will also stimulate appetite.