Pregnancy weight gain: How much to gain during pregnancy

To find out what a healthy weight gain is for you during pregnancy, use our pregnancy weight gain chart and talk to your doctor or midwife. Keep in mind that guidelines aren't set in stone.

pregnant woman weighing herself on scale in bathroom
Photo credit: Nathan Haniger for BabyCenter

How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?

It depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and height (used to determine whether you were underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese), as well as whether you're having twins or multiples.

You can use our pregnancy weight gain calculator or the chart below to find out how much you're recommended to gain and whether you're in your target weight range. Be aware that the chart and calculator use BMI (body mass index), a formula that is controversial, and may be inaccurate for Black, Latina, and Asian women.

Advertisement | page continues below

Your doctor or midwife should give you guidance, support, and information about healthy weight gain for you, specifically, during pregnancy. Expect to talk to them about weight gain regularly at your prenatal appointments. If you're overweight, obese, or underweight, it's important to have a customized approach to your pregnancy weight gain to balance your baby's needs and your own.

Another thing: It's normal to feel anxious about gaining weight, especially if you've suffered from an eating disorder. Even though you know it's important to gain weight now, it can be hard to see the number on the scale going up. If you're struggling, talking to a therapist or dietitian can help.

Try to keep in mind that healthy weight gain is important for you and your baby. It's not safe to lose weight during pregnancy. If you're overweight or obese, you may be able to safely gain less than the recommended amount during pregnancy – but only with your healthcare provider's guidance and monitoring.

Pregnancy weight gain chart

To find your target weight gain, you'll need to know your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). Calculate your BMI hereOpens a new window.

Your pre-pregnancy BMIYour target weight gain if you're carrying one childYour target weight gain if you're carrying twins
Less than 18.528 to 40 pounds50 to 62 pounds
18.5 to 24.925 to 35 pounds37 to 54 pounds
25 to 29.915 to 25 pounds31 to 50 pounds
30 or higher11 to 20 pounds25 to 42 pounds

These guidelines for pregnancy weight gain are issued by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and are the most current available. (The recommendation for underweight pregnant women carrying twins, however, is provided by the CDC.) Keep in mind that these are just guidelines – they aren't set in stone. Depending on your health needs, your target weight gain will be different.


Pregnancy weight gain by week

On average, women who start pregnancy at a healthy weight gain 1 to 5 pounds in the first trimester, and about 1 pound per week for the rest of their pregnancy. (Some sources estimate a 1 to 4 pound weight gain in the first trimester, which is fine. It's also okay to gain no weight in the first trimester.)

If you're overweight or obese, it's recommended to gain about half a pound per week in the second and third trimesters.

Advertisement | page continues below

During your first trimester, you don't need to eat additional calories. Experts recommend getting about 340 extra calories a day during the second trimester and 450 extra calories a day in the third trimester.

Your pre-pregnancy BMIRecommended weight gain (second and third trimesters)
Less than 18.51 to 1.3 pounds per week
18.5 to 24.90.8 to 1 pound per week
25 to 29.90.5 to 0.7 pounds per week
30 or higher0.4 to 0.6 pounds per week

What if I'm gaining too much weight in pregnancy?

Talk to your doctor or midwife. Your provider can help you manage your weight gain by recommending a healthy diet and exercise program that works for you.

It's important to try your best to stick to weight gain recommendations. Gaining more than recommended during pregnancy puts you at a higher risk for high blood pressure disorders, including gestational hypertension (high blood pressure that starts during pregnancy) and preeclampsia. These conditions may result in a preterm delivery.

Unless you start out underweight, gaining too much pregnancy weight also increases your risk of:

Advertisement | page continues below

If you're gaining excess weight, consider a visit with a nutritionist online or in person. Pregnancy can be an opportunity to let go of some less-than-healthy eating habits you may have unconsciously adopted over time. For instance, some moms-to-be replace soda with water, add more healthy fats to their diet, cut back on sugar, and eat more whole foods and fewer processed foods. 

What if I'm not gaining enough weight during pregnancy?

Gaining too little weight during pregnancy, especially if you start out underweight, can mean a higher risk of delivering a low birth weight baby (less than 5.5 pounds). This can cause a variety of problems for your baby, including feeding difficulty and low blood sugar. A low birth weight baby may also need to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time.

It's normal to not gain weight in the first trimester, or even lose some weight, due to morning sickness and other factors. In most cases, this weight loss isn't dangerous. But if you're losing a lot of weight (more than ten pounds, for example), or if you think you may be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness), tell your provider right away.

Average weight gain during pregnancy

There's no "normal" when it comes to pregnancy weight gain – it's all over the map. More than half of American women are overweight or obese when they become pregnant. Just about one-third of pregnant women gain the recommended amount of weight, and many gain more.

Studies have found that 32 percent of women gain weight within the recommended range for pregnancy, 21 percent gain too little, and 48 percent gain more than advised.

Advertisement | page continues below

Increased appetite during pregnancy and pregnancy cravings can make it hard to stick to pregnancy weight gain guidelines. And if you're working and/or taking care of older children, you may not have much time to exercise and plan healthy meals.

Still, there are ways to avoid gaining too much weight during pregnancydrinking enough water, eating healthy snacks, sticking to a regular walking routine, and talking to your doctor or midwife about weight gain at every appointment will help you stay on track.

How do I lose weight after pregnancy?

You'll likely lose a fair amount of pregnancy weight in the first six weeks after delivery. Your baby accounts for about 7.5 pounds, and the amniotic fluid, placenta, and extra body fluids and blood in your body add up to another 8 to 12 pounds.

For the rest, remember that it took nine months to put on the weight, and it can take just as long or longer to lose it. Despite what social media may lead you to believe, it can take a while to return to your pre-pregnancy weight.  A healthy diet combined with regular exercise is the best way to lose weight after pregnancy.

Once you've recovered from birth, the postpartum period is a great time to find an exercise program that works for you and your new baby, whether that's stroller walks or trips to a gym with childcare.

Advertisement | page continues below

Don't start cutting calories right away, though. Caring for a newborn requires lots of energy – and that means giving your body the postpartum nutrition it needs. And if you're breastfeeding, you'll continue to need extra calories for as long as you nurse your baby.

If you're concerned about losing weight, talk to your healthcare provider and consider seeing a registered dietitian. Sometimes moms have trouble losing weight and even gain weight after pregnancy due to an underlying medical condition like postpartum thyroiditis, diabetes, or PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). If the weight isn't coming off, talk to your provider, who can help you with a treatment or nutrition plan that will address what's going on.

Follow your baby's amazing development

BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

ACOG. 2021. Obesity and pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

ACOG. 2020. Weight gain during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Beyerlein A et al. 2010. Within-population average ranges compared with Institute of Medicine recommendations for gestational weight gain. Obstetrics & Gynecology 116(5):1111-1118. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Blomberg M. 2011. Maternal and neonatal outcomes among obese women with weight gain below the new Institute of Medicine recommendations. Obstetrics & Gynecology 117(5):1065-1070. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Bodnar LM et al. 2010. Severe obesity, gestational weight gain, and adverse birth outcomes. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91(6):1642-1648. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

CDC. 2021. Weight gain during pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

De la Torre L et al. 2011. The effect of new antepartum weight gain guidelines and prepregnancy body mass index on the development of pregnancy-related hypertension. American Journal of Perinatology 28(4):285-292. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Durie D et al. 2011. Effect of second-trimester and third-trimester rate of gestational weight gain on maternal and neonatal outcomes. Obstetrics & Gynecology 118(3):569-575. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Gaillard R et al. 2013. Risk factors and outcomes of maternal obesity and excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Obesity 21(5):1046-1055. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Heymsfield SB and Peterson CM. 2016. Why are there race/ethnic differences in adult body mass index–adiposity relationships? A quantitative critical review. Obesity Review 17(3): 262-275. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Hilson JA et al. 2004. High prepregnant body mass index is associated with poor lactation outcomes among white, rural women independent of psychosocial and demographic correlates. Journal of Human Lactation 20(1):18-29. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Hilson JA et al. 2006. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is associated with earlier termination of breast-feeding among white women. The Journal of Nutrition 136(1):140-146. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Johnson J et al. 2013. Pregnancy outcomes with weight gain above or below the 2009 Institute of Medicine guidelines. Obstetrics & Gynecology 121(5):969-975. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Kaar J et al. 2014. Maternal obesity, gestational weight gain and offspring adiposity: The EPOCH Study. The Journal of Pediatrics 165(3):509-515. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Leddy MA et al. 2008. The impact of maternal obesity on maternal and fetal health. Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynecology 1(4):170-178. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Ludwig D and Currie J. 2010. The association between pregnancy weight gain and birthweight: A within-family comparison. The Lancet 376(9745):984-990. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Macdonald-Wallis C et al. 2013. Gestational weight gain as a risk factor for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 209(4):327.e1-327.e17. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

March of Dimes. 2020. Weight gain during pregnancy. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Potti S et al. 2010. Obstetric outcomes in normal weight and obese women in relation to gestational weight gain: Comparison between Institute of Medicine guidelines and Cedergren criteria. American Journal of Perinatology 27(5):415-420. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Truong YN et al. 2015. Weight gain in pregnancy: Does the Institute of Medicine have it right? American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 212(3):362.e1-362.e8. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Wojcicki JM. 2011. Maternal prepregnancy body mass index and initiation and duration of breastfeeding: A review of the literature. Journal of Women's Health 20(3):341-347. a new window [Accessed April 2022]

Kate Marple
Kate Marple is a writer and editor who specializes in health, pregnancy, and parenting content. She's passionate about translating complicated medical information into helpful pregnancy and parenting advice that's easy to understand. She lives in San Francisco with her family.