How Much Weight Should I Gain While I'm Pregnant?

Pregnant woman need to gain some weight.
Choose healthy foods during your pregnancy. Jorn Georg Tomter/Getty Images

Question: I just found out I'm two months pregnant. I'm very excited, and I want to do everything I can to help my baby be healthy. One thing I want to know is how much weight I should gain during the next seven months? I'm 5'10" and I weigh 175 pounds. Is it a good idea to gain a lot of weight or should I aim for a specific target? Also, how will that affect the number of calories I need each day?

Answer: Most women need to gain anywhere from 15 to 35 pounds during their pregnancies. The amount you should gain depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and body composition. You need to gain enough weight for your baby to develop properly. But gaining too much weight means you'll have more weight to lose later on and (depending on how much you gain and how quickly) may lead to complications during your pregnancy.

Women who are overweight before getting pregnant may not have any greater risks of health problems or pregnancy complications, but they tend to hang on to the extra weight after the baby is born. Obese women are at a greater risk for complications like gestational diabetes, and they tend to have longer hospital stays after delivery.

On the other hand, women who are underweight while pregnant run a greater risk of having babies who are at low birth weight, have growth problems and may have other complications during the pregnancy.

Weight Gain Guideline

You can determine how much weight you should gain by calculating your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and comparing it to the chart below.

The formula for the BMI is your weight in pounds/your height in inches2 x 703.

Suggested Pregnancy Weight Gain Based on BMI

  • Normal BMI (20 to 24) - gain 25 to 35 pounds
  • Underweight BMI (Less than 20) - gain 28 to 40 pounds
  • Overweight BMI (25 to 29) - gain 15 to 25 pounds
  • Obese BMI (over 30) - gain 11 to 20 pounds

Your BMI score is just a guideline. Your healthcare provider will help you determine how much weight you need to gain.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, pregnant women typically need to consume 2,200 to 2,900 calories per day. You can use the Harris-Benedict formula to help you determine your daily caloric target, but be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider, too.

Unless you're underweight, you probably don't need to think about adding extra calories during the first three months because your caloric need doesn't increase during the first trimester. Your caloric needs will increase by approximately 350 calories per day in the second semester and about 450 calories during the third trimester.

Continue to eat healthful foods to get your extra calories. Being pregnant isn't a good excuse for eating extra sugary and high-fat foods. Increase your caloric intake by adding more fruits and vegetables (rich in folate - an essential B vitamin), whole grains, nuts, seeds and drink low-fat milk so you get plenty of calcium and vitamin D.


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Healthy Weight during Pregnancy." Accessed March 20, 2016.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "PNSS Health Indicators." Accessed March 20, 2016.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Pregnancy Complications." Accessed March 20, 2016.

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