How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
Q-and-A with Yasmin Holsey, M.D., Signature OB/GYN
Pregnancy is an exciting time for so many women! Along with the excitement comes a lot of questions about how an expectant mother can best take care of herself during those 40 weeks leading up to the “big day.” One of the most common questions I hear from patients is: “How much weight should I gain during my pregnancy?” The truth is that there are a number of factors that impact the answer to that question.
First and foremost, we have to consider what the woman’s weight was at the time she became pregnant. Healthy women who have a normal body mass index (BMI) prior to pregnancy will typically gain somewhere in the range of 25 to 30 pounds. Those with a higher BMI should expect to gain a bit less — usually 15 pounds or less. Underweight women or those who are carrying twins will likely gain 30 to 40 pounds.
It’s important to recognize, however, that every woman’s body responds differently to pregnancy. I might see one patient who seems hungry all the time and is experiencing a variety of cravings for different foods, and then my next patient may be struggling with nausea and have significant food aversions. Some eat healthy and are very careful about portion control but still end up gaining 50 pounds. Others seem to eat constantly, delving into snacks and sweets more than they should, but only gain 20 pounds. I always recommend that each woman do the best she can, especially during the first trimester, based on how she is feeling, trying to incorporate small, nutritious meals and snacks into her day. Hydration is especially important during pregnancy; in fact, it’s recommended that pregnant women drink 64 to 80 ounces of water each day.
I always remind my patients that their bodies ARE going to change, and I encourage them to be OK with those changes, both during and following pregnancy. It will take almost a year to gain the weight, and sometimes it can take just as long to lose it after your little bundle of joy arrives.