Pregnancy weight gain

Weight gain is a natural and healthy part of your pregnancy. But that doesn’t mean you should “eat for two” or binge on unhealthy food. Yes, you need more calories for you and your baby, but that also means you should be even more mindful of what you eat. Find the answers to all your pregnancy weight gain questions here.

How much pregnancy weight gain can I expect?


On average, you can expect to gain between 25 to 35 lbs (11.5 to 16 kg)1. However, the amount of weight gain for a healthy pregnancy will vary depending on a number of factors. These include your weight before your pregnancy as well as your BMI (Body Mass Index or the ratio of body fat to your height and weight)2. Together with your doctor, you should track your weight and come up with a healthy nutrition plan for your pregnancy.

Guidelines for Pregnancy Weight Gain
BMI (Pre-pregnancy)
Recommended Weight Gain (During Pregnancy)
Recommended Weight Gain for Twin/Multiple Births
12.7 - 18.1kg
Discuss with your obstetrician and/or dietitian
18.5 - 24.9
11.3 - 15.9kg
16.8 - 24.5kg
25.0 - 29.9
6.8 - 11.3kg
14.1 - 22.7kg
5.0 - 9.1kg
11.3 - 19.1kg
*Adopted from Institute of Medical Guidelines (IOM 2009) and

Smaller women may need a little more pregnancy weight gain to store extra energy. If you started out a bit heavier, you may need to gain a little less. And if you are pregnant with twins or triplets, you can expect even more weight gain; your health care provider will suggest a healthy amount of weight to gain if this is the case.

Why is weight watching important?


 The amount of pregnancy weight gain that you achieve will have a significant effect on the health of your developing child.

Gaining too little weight is associated with delivering a baby who is too small. These children have an increased risk of illness and may experience developmental delays2.

Gaining too much weight, on the other hand, is associated with a baby who is too large. This can affect delivery, making a C-section more likely. And it also increases the chances that your child will be obese in the future2.

There are effects on the mother as well. Too much pregnancy weight gain may make it difficult for the mother to shed the weight later on, leading to being overweight or obese2.

How much should I eat during pregnancy?


 Believe it or not, you don’t have to eat much extra food during your pregnancy. Instead, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting full, balanced meals and eating healthy to ensure your child is getting the nutrients they need.

In general, most women will need the following caloric intake during their pregnancy3:

  • 1,800 calories per day in the 1st trimester
  • 2,200 calories per day in the 2nd trimester
  • 2,400 calories per day in the 3rd trimester

Consult with your doctor for a more detailed plan.

How many extra calories do I need per day while I'm pregnant?


 You will need about 350 extra calories per day in your second trimester and an extra 450 calories per day in your third trimester1. But remember, your focus should be on eating nutritious food in a balanced diet -- not on eating more food. Satisfy this additional required caloric intake with nutritious food, such as a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with mustard.

How fast will I gain weight?


Pregnancy weight gain is usually slow during the first 3 months. After this, your baby begins to grow more rapidly. Although everyone’s pregnancy weight gain is different, here is a guideline of what you can expect.

  First Trimester Second Trimester Third Trimester Total Weight Gain
Weight Gain 2-5 lbs (1-2 kg) 13 lbs (6 kg) 10-18 lbs (4.5-8 kg) 25-35 lbs (11.5-16 kg)

Reference: Day, Nicola RD. Healthy Eating for a Healthy Baby. Nutrition Resource Centre. 2016.

How much of pregnancy weight gain is actually the developing baby?


Most of your pregnancy weight gain will actually go to your developing baby as well as the placenta and the amniotic fluid in your womb. Your body will also need to store more energy as fat and produce more blood. To estimate, the breakdown is as follows:

Breakdown of weight gain  
Baby 6-8 lbs (2.5-3.5 kg)
Energy Stored as Fat 5-8 lbs (2 -3.5 kg)
Placenta and Amniotic Fluid 4-6 lbs (2-2.5 kg)
Blood 4 lbs (2 kg)
Breasts 2-3 lbs (1-1.5 kg)
Uterus 2-3 lbs (1-1.5 kg)
Extra Fluids 2-3 lbs (1-1.5 kg)
Total 25-35 lbs (11.5-16 kg)

Reference: Day, Nicola RD. Healthy Eating for a Healthy Baby. Nutrition Resource Centre. 2016.

Is it possible to gain too much or too little weight?


Yes, gaining too much or too little weight is possible and either can cause problems for both you and your baby.

If you’re literally “eating for two”, you can gain a significant amount of weight. This can cause heart, lung and digestion problems. Rapid and extreme weight gain can be a sign of health problems such as pre-eclampsia4. Putting on a lot of weight can also increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes4.

If you’re unable to gain enough weight, this could lead to a premature birth.

What should I do if I am overweight and what are its potential complications?


Pregnant women should not lose weight if they are overweight. Instead, they are advised to gain less weight as their pregnancy progresses4.

In addition, because of the role carbohydrates play in blood sugar levels, pregnant women may be advised to cut down on carbohydrates while maintaining an otherwise balanced diet4. This can help to avoid the risk of gestational diabetes.

Pregnant women should also limit added sugars, avoid fatty food, and make it a point to engage in moderate exercise for around 2.5 hours every week2.

Pregnancy complications that may arise from being overweight include:

Diagnostic difficulties5 - The added layer of fat around your belly can make it difficult to visually identify potential complications.

Gestational diabetes5 - Women who are overweight are at greater risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy, also known as gestational diabetes. This is because the body requires more insulin hormones during pregnancy and when the body is unable to regulate this, it could result in miscarriages or larger babies who make the delivery process difficult.

Pre-eclampsia5 - This condition affects 10 percent of pregnancies and is known as pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. There are hardly any obvious symptoms for the condition, therefore overweight child-bearing mothers are advised to conduct routine antenatal check-ups for accurate diagnosis of the condition.

What should I do if I am underweight?


If you are underweight, protein supplements have been found to help pregnant women gain weight4. This reduces the risks of miscarriage and the child being born underweight.

Is it safe to diet during pregnancy?


When you are pregnant, you should not try to lose weight. The weight you are gaining is due to the developing child inside of you. Dieting or reducing your portions may mean you or your child are missing out on much needed nutrients. Rather, try to make sure you are eating healthy foods full of vitamins and minerals your child may need.

To ensure you get all the nutrients you need, supplements like Enfamama A+ can play an important role.

Enfamama A+ with 360° DHA PLUS is a high quality milk supplement specially formulated for pregnant and lactating moms. It contains DHA, choline, and essential nutrients like Folic acid, Iron, Zinc, Iodine, and Vitamin B6 which are important for your developing baby. Request for free Enfamama A+ samples here.

Will I ever return to my pre-pregnancy weight?


Most women will not get close to their pre-pregnancy weight until 6 months after delivery4. Even then, remember that it is okay to look different after giving birth. Pregnancy and motherhood will forever change you. So wear your stretchmarks, C-section scar, wider hips, or fuller breasts with pride. You don’t have to “bounce back” right away or at all. Be kind to yourself and always prioritize your health.


1 Day, Nicola RD. Healthy Eating for a Healthy Baby. Nutrition Resource Centre. 2016.
2 Weight Gain During Pregnancy,, Accessed 14 December 2020.
3 Managing your weight gain during pregnancy,, Accessed 14 December 2020.
4 Pregnancy and birth: Weight gain in pregnancy,, Accessed 14 December 2020.
5 Guide 5: Plus-Sized and Pregnant,, Accessed 18 December 2020.