How your body changes

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  • Weight gain is probably the change you’ll notice the most while pregnant.
  • Learn how your weight gain is divided between the baby and your body.
  • Get useful estimates of healthy weight gain.

During pregnancy your body experiences changes to help your growing baby in the womb and to nourish her after birth.

Weight gain is probably the most noticeable change, and while not many women enjoy watching the numbers on their scale moving up, when your little wonder is the reason for your weight gain, it’s actually a very good thing!

Just be sure to follow your doctor’s guidelines for healthy weight gain, to help make sure you’ll be well on your way to a healthy delivery and a healthy bundle of joy.

Why do you gain weight?

What accounts for your weight gain during pregnancy? Your total weight gain is divided between the baby (including placenta and amniotic fluid) and your body (expanded blood volume, uterus growth and enlarged breasts). Normally there’s also a little maternal fat storage, which is essential for a healthy baby.

Here is an approximate breakdown of your weight gain:

Baby = 7 to 8 pounds
Placenta = 1 to 2 pounds
Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds
Uterus = 2 pounds
Maternal breast tissue = 2 pounds
Maternal blood = 4 pounds
Fluids in maternal tissue = 4 pounds
Maternal fat and nutrient stores = 7 pounds

How much should you gain?

During your first office visit, your doctor will estimate the right amount of weight for you to gain based on your health and your pre-pregnancy weight.

It’s recommended that most healthy women gain 25 to 35 pounds. 

 

Healthy weight: Just what the doctor ordered

Try for a slow and steady weight gain, but remember that all women gain at different rates. Talk to your doctor about the right weight gain for you.

Trimester weight gain estimate
First:  1 to 1½ pounds each month
Second:  ½ to ¾ of a pound a week
Third:  1 pound a week

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Getting it just right

It’s really important to follow your doctor’s recommendation, because gaining either too little or too much can lead to difficulties.

Too little. Your little one needs nourishment, so you need to eat enough for both of you. If you don’t gain enough weight, she may have a low birth weight, and low-birth-weight babies have a harder time thriving and are more vulnerable to health problems.

Too much. Some women gain too much weight, even though they eat wisely, while some might use pregnancy as an excuse to break all their healthful eating rules. Before you break out the candy bars, remember that by gaining too much weight:
  • You put extra stress on your heart, which is already working overtime to pump your increased blood volume.
  • You add stress to your joints, which pregnancy hormones have loosened and made lax.
  • You’ll be more likely to develop backaches.
      

You’ll also make it extra hard to lose the weight after the baby arrives, and that extra weight can cause other health problems.

Keep track

Try GerberBump to help you log your weight throughout your entire pregnancy.
Chart your weight gain, month by month
One way to help monitor your weight gain is to chart your weight gain during pregnancy. Each month you can compare your own weight gain against the recommended increase marked on the graph.
How was the information in this article?
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