How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
In the past, pregnant women were told to “eat for two”, however this was during a different era where access to healthy food and a nutritious varied diet was often harder to come by.
It is true that during pregnancy, both you and your growing baby need extra nutrients, so eating healthy foods from the five food groups is important.
During the first trimester, a woman’s calorie intake should remain about the same as it was prior to the pregnancy. During the second and third trimester, you will find that your energy needs increase and you may need to up your calorie intake slightly (up to an additional 300 calories is generally considered sufficient).
Some suggestions to help meet additional energy needs include:
- a wholegrain sandwich with fillings such as roast beef, hard-boiled egg, tinned fish or hummus
- a small bowl of pasta with meat or bean sauce
- a small bowl of stir-fried rice with tofu.
Women who gain weight outside their recommended range are more likely develop pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Pregnant women are already at higher risk of developing blood clots in deep veins, a condition also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Excessive weight gain increases that risk even further.
Overweight women also tend to have larger babies – that increases their risk of having more difficult birth, higher rate of Cesarean Sections and longer hospital stays. Babies of women who gained too much weight in pregnancy are more likely to be overweight or obese as children.
Conversely, gaining too little weight during pregnancy is also a concern. It can lead to low birth weight, premature delivery, and, later, developmental delays, learning disabilities, and chronic health problems in your baby.
To determine your recommended healthy weight gain range, first calculate your BMI
Note: It is best to wait till you are over 12 weeks pregnant, mainly because morning sickness can make you weight fluctuate a bit. It is also hard to concentrate on your weight when you are feeling really unwell.
Below are recommended healthy weight gain ranges depending on your BMI:
- BMI below 18.5 – aim to gain between 12.5 to 18 kg
- BMI between 18.5 and 25 – aim to gain about 11.5 to 16 kg
- BMI between 25 and 29.9 – aim to gain about 7 to 11.5 kg
- BMI above 30 – aim to gain 5 to 9 kg
If you are still unsure or would like to discuss any concerns related to your weight gain, please contact us to make an appointment.
- There is no need to eat for two
- Remain active during your pregnancy
Do you need more information?
Dr Kretowicz consults at two locations in Brisbane: the Alexandra Building on Wickham Terrace and at the Ramsay Consulting Suites at North West Private Hospital.
Caring for women’s health and supporting couples on the journey through pregnancy and childbirth.