What is the Average Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

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10:19 am February 15, 2012

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Whether you like it or not, you are going to gain weight when you get pregnant. You should remember that this is not about getting fat. It is about growing a baby and supporting it inside your own body. The exact figures vary from woman to woman, but the average weight gain during pregnancy depends largely on your Body Mass Index (BMI) before you became pregnant.

To find out how much you should gain during your pregnancy, calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in pounds over your height in inches squared multiplied by 703. For instance, if you weigh 110 pounds and are 5’1” tall, you can calculate your BMI by doing the following:

 110 lbs/(61 in x 61 in) x 703 = 20.78

This is within the normal BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9 for women of this height and weight. The average weight gain during pregnancy for women with a normal BMI should be between 25 and 35 pounds. For underweight women, or for women who have a BMI below 18.5, they should pack on at least 28 to 40 pounds to be able to carry a healthy baby to term. Even overweight women, or those who have a BMI of 25 to 29.9, should have an average weight gain during pregnancy of 15 to 24 pounds. Those who have a BMI of 30 or more are classified as obese, but they should gain up to a maximum of 20 more pounds.

Breaking Down the Numbers

You wouldn’t think that the average weight gain during pregnancy is composed completely of fat, would you? Fat makes up only a fraction of the pounds you’re putting on. The rest is found in other important developments in your body while it prepares itself for pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

  • Baby – A normal, healthy baby weighs an average of 8 pounds.
  • Uterus – Your uterus increases in size to accommodate your baby. It adds around 2 to 5 pounds more.
  • Placenta – You develop a placenta, which is around 2 to 3 pounds heavy, to supply your baby with food and oxygen.
  • Amniotic Fluid – It is a fluid that’s another 2 or 3 pounds surrounding your baby.
  • Breast Tissue and Fat Reserves – You’ll be adding at least 2 to 3 pounds of breast tissue and up to 9 pounds of fat, which you’ll need for breastfeeding later on.
  • Blood Supply – That’s another 4 pounds of weight.

Slow and Steady

The average weight gain during pregnancy is not an abrupt upsurge on the scale. It is a gradual increase that starts off at around 4 pounds during the first trimester because the baby is still very small during that time.On the second and third trimesters, the average weight gain during pregnancy evens out to around one pound every month, which then stops when you give birth. However, the average weight gain during pregnancy for moms-to-be who are having twins or multiples should naturally be higher because they’re supporting more babies than one. It is still best to ask your doctor the healthiest amount of weight to gain in this case.

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