Pregnancy weight gain: What's healthy?

From promoting your baby's development to paving the way for post-pregnancy weight loss, here's why pregnancy weight gain matters.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Like it or not, eating for two isn't a license to eat twice as much as usual. Use healthy lifestyle habits to manage your pregnancy weight gain, support your baby's health and make it easier to shed the extra pounds after delivery.

Pregnancy weight-gain guidelines

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy weight gain. Appropriate weight gain for you depends on various factors, including your pre-pregnancy weight and body mass index (BMI). Your health and your baby's health also play a role. Work with your health care provider to determine what's right for you.

Consider these general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain:

Pre-pregnancy weight Recommended weight gain
Underweight (BMI < 18.5) 28 to 40 lbs. (about 13 to 18 kg)
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) 25 to 35 lbs. (about 11 to 16 kg)
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) 15 to 25 lbs. (about 7 to 11 kg)
Obese (BMI 30 or more) 11 to 20 lbs. (about 5 to 9 kg)

When you're carrying twins or other multiples

If you're carrying twins or other multiples, you'll likely need to gain more weight. Again, work with your health care provider to determine what's right for you.

Consider these general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain if you're carrying twins:

Pre-pregnancy weight Recommended weight gain
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) 37 to 54 lbs. (about 17 to 25 kg)
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) 31 to 50 lbs. (about 14 to 23 kg)
Obese (BMI 30 or more) 25 to 42 lbs. (about 11 to 19 kg)

When you're overweight

Being overweight before pregnancy increases the risk of various pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure disorders of pregnancy, including preeclampsia, and the need for a C-section. Although a certain amount of pregnancy weight gain is recommended for women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy, some research suggests that women who are obese can safely gain less weight than the guidelines recommend. Further study is needed.

Work with your health care provider to determine what's best in your case and to manage your weight throughout pregnancy.

When you're underweight

If you're underweight before pregnancy, it's essential to gain a reasonable amount of weight while you're pregnant. Without the extra weight, your baby might be born early (premature birth) or smaller than expected.

Feb. 15, 2017 See more In-depth