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. How much weight you need to gain 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 and high blood pressure. 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. In women who have a BMI greater than 35, a weight loss of less than 11 pounds (5 kilograms) appears to have more benefits than risks and might not increase the risk of having a small-for-gestational-age infant.

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, it's essential to gain a reasonable amount of weight while you're pregnant. Without the extra weight, your baby might be born earlier or smaller than expected.

Mar. 04, 2014 See more In-depth