I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but be amazed by how much my body is going through right now in order to support and nurture a growing fetus. I know we’re all aware of this already, but women are pretty darn unbelievable (which I manage to remind my husband of quite regularly and I recommend you do the same with your significant other)!
The fact that we are capable of giving birth to mini versions of ourselves is, in itself, mind boggling…and so incredibly cool!
And in order for us to increase the chances of having a happy, healthy baby, our body must go through many changes. Some changes are welcomed with open arms – bigger breasts, glowing skin, stronger nails and faster-growing hair. Other changes, however, are a little more difficult to get excited about – spider veins, water retention, stretch marks, and the most obvious change, weight gain.
And this brings us to our topic of the day: How much weight, on average, should a pregnant woman gain?
I’ll be the first to admit that I researched that very question as soon as I found out I was pregnant. What can I say? I was curious…not only that, but one of the first statements out of my doctor’s mouth was, “Just remember…you are NOT eating for two.” The matter-of-fact way in which she said it scared me a little so I quickly opened my computer, did my research, and here’s what I discovered…
Average Weight Women
If you begin your pregnancy at a healthy weight, you should gain between 25-35 pounds. In general, this means you only need to consume an additional 100-300 calories a day to meet the needs of your growing baby (a lot less than I would have thought…but I guess my doctor was right!). During your first trimester, you should gain 2-4 pounds (but everyone’s different because I gained almost 8 and I’m still in the “healthy range of weight gain”). After that, you should gain approximately 1 pound a week for the remainder of your pregnancy.
Here’s a fun table that explains our weight gain in a little more detail…
Where Does the Extra Weight Go During Pregnancy?
Baby 6-8 pounds
Placenta 1-2 pounds
Amniotic Fluid 2-3 pounds
Breast Tissue 1-2 pounds
Blood Supply 3-4 pounds
Fat Stores for Delivery and Breastfeeding 8-10 pounds
Uterus Increase 1-2 pounds
Body Fluids 3-4 pounds
TOTAL 25-35 pounds
Of course, not everyone falls into the category of “Average,” so here’s some additional information…
Underweight and Overweight Women
Underweight women should gain 28-40 pounds during pregnancy. Overweight women may need to gain only 15-25 pounds during pregnancy. That being said, be sure to check with your doctor because you may need to gain more or less weight depending on where you start out.
Women Expecting Twins
If you are expecting twins (and congratulations if you are – my husband is jealous!) you should gain 35-45 pounds during your pregnancy. This averages out to 1 ½ pounds per week after the usual weight gain in the first three months.