Skip to main content
Baby Corner logo
Login | Sign Up

Gaining Too Much Pregnancy Weight?

|25, January 2013


Being healthy is probably every expectant mom's main priority. Gaining the right amount of weight in the right way is one important aspect of that.

For women who are of average weight, the total weight to gain during pregnancy will generally be in the range of 25 to 35 pounds. Those who are underweight should aim for more like 28 to 40 pounds. Those already overweight before packing on pregnancy pounds should try to limit their gain to 15 to 25. If obese, you need to get a doctor's advice on what's best in your situation for both you and baby. Those carrying multiples will adjust those weight gain numbers depending on the numbers of babies being carried and the weight of the mother.

However, it's not just the total weight that matters but the rate of gain. Rapid weight gain early in pregnancy is not healthy. Typically women shouldn't put on more than 2 to 4 pounds in the first trimester. The rest of your pregnancy will generally be in the amount of about 1 pound a week. Don't obsess about it too much, as there may be weeks you don't gain anything and others you gain 2 or 3. Should you tip the scales at 5 pounds in just a few days, it's a sign that something may be askew and you need to check in with your healthcare provider.

What are the Risks of Gaining Too Much in Pregnancy?

Women who add too much weight are at risk for developing gestational diabetes. Other risks include developing hypertension, having a premature infant, and increased aches and pains during pregnancy such as backaches, varicose veins, and leg pain.

One of the biggest areas of concern is having a too large baby. This increases the odds of requiring a c-section since the baby will be difficult to deliver is too heavy or large. Babies who are too large at birth carry an increased risk of obesity later in life. Also the babies born too large have increased incidences of birth defects such as spina bifida, allergies and asthma, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

How to Slowly Gain Weight

If you start pregnancy heavy and are packing on pounds, you may be directly to work to cut back on weight gain or even drop some weight. However you need to do so safely. Pregnancy is not the time to crash diet or starve yourself. You need to adapt your activity level and watch both how much and what you are eating. Forget eating for two. Pregnancy doesn't require more than an additional 300 calories.

Eat several times a day to keep from getting hungry, but eat small healthy meals and snacks.

Shop for health. Don't buy items you shouldn't eat. Instead stock your pantry with easy to nibble snacks that have a nutritional punch. Good items include nuts, raisins, dried fruit, yogurt, peanut butter, healthy crackers, and fresh fruits that are easy to grab and go like grapes, bananas and apples.

  • Choose lean proteins.
  • Increase fiber intake
  • Go with whole grains rather than white flour or sugary items.
  • Try to include a variety of fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Drink good liquids like water, 100 percent juice and non-caffeinated and non-carbonated drinks.

Get Moving

Even if your only activity pre-pregnancy was couch surfing, it's OK to get busy now. Just be realistic and don't overdo it. You can't make up for months or even years of slackerdom in one week. Especially if you're pregnant.

Good pregnancy exercise options include prenatal yoga, walking, stationary bikes and swimming. Avoid contact sports, activities with risks of falling, and always include a warm up and cool down in your regime. Pay attention to your heart rate and pain level. Always listen to your body. Give yourself frequent breaks and make sure you are staying hydrated. Don't limit exercise to just a few times a week. Aim for some activity each day for best results. Don't exercise on your back after the 12th week of pregnancy.

If you have shortness of breath, cramping, bleeding or get faint, seek medical attention to be safe. Never push yourself to exhaustion. You want to get a good workout not do yourself in.

Besides helping you control your weight gain now, it will help you keep it off later. Additionally it will help you with your moods, your energy level, in labor and birth, and you'll have less problems such as insomnia and constipation if you are active during pregnancy.

If you are struggling to control your weight despite watching your diet and getting exercise, see your doctor. It could be a sign that something else is going on with your body and needs attention. Perhaps it's not fat but water retention, which may require some medical attention.

Remember the key is moderation in all things, such as eating and exercise and being consistent. In time you'll see that positive results from all your hard work.

Related Articles

Not Gaining Weight During Pregnancy

New Moms Are Gaining More Weight Postpartum

Gaining Too Much or Too Little Weight Linked to Obesity in Children

When Your Pregnancy Weight is a Big Deal and When it’s Not

Pregnancy Weight Gain - When Should My OB Be Concerned?


Be the first to add your comment, or ask a question.

Add Comment

You are commenting as .

Pregnancy Week by Week Personalized For You
See how your baby grows each week throughout your pregnancy with advice and tips for what to expect.

Enter Your Due Date

Pregnancy Week by Week

Not sure of your due date? Find out with our due date calculator.

New Today at Baby Corner

Pregnancy Community