How much weight gain can I expect?

How much weight gain is normal during pregnancy?

You are expected to gain approximately 25 – 35 lbs (11 – 16kg) in pregnancy. However, the appropriate weight gain in pregnancy actually depends on your pre pregnancy weight or body mass index.
Body mass index (BMI) = your weight in kg 
                                           your height in meter2
For Asians, the BMI are categorized slightly different compared to the Caucasian populations.
Risk compared to normal weight
18.5 – 22.9
≥ 23
23 – 24.9
At Risk
25 – 29.9
Obese Class I
≥ 30
Obese Class II
Very High
Table 1: WHO Guidelines on Asian BMI values 1
Therefore, depending on your pre pregnancy weight, the ideal expected weight gain in pregnancy is shown below. As you can see the higher your BMI pre pregnancy, the less weight you should be gaining during pregnancy.
  Pre Pregnancy BMI
   Expected weight gain in pregnancy (in lbs)
   25 – 37
   25 – 35
   15 – 25
* 1 kg = 2.2 lb
The expected rate of weight gain throughout pregnancy also depends on your BMI:
Pre Pregnancy BMI
1st Trimester
2nd Trimester
3rd Trimester
5- 6 lb
1 – 2 lb / week
1 – 2 lb / week
3 – 5 lb
1 – 2 lb / week
1 -2 lb / week
1- 2 lb
1 lb / week
1 lb / week
*1 kg = 2.2lb
Where does all the extra weight go to?
  • Baby: 7-8 pounds
  • Placenta: 1-2 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
Will there be any problem if I gain too little or too much weight during pregnancy?
Your doctor will monitor your weight gain throughout pregnancy as too much or too little weight gain may indicate problems. Too little weight gain in the mother could indicate overall poor maternal nutrition that could lead to poor baby growth and increased risk of premature delivery. On the other hand, too much weight gain could cause an increased risk of high blood pressure, back ache, leg pain, varicose vein, increased fatigue, diabetes and a big baby which may cause increased risk of operative delivery in the mother. In addition, sudden weight gain especially in the third trimester could be early signs of high blood pressure. This patient may also notice increased puffiness/ swelling of the hands and face.
What can I do if I gained ‘too much weight’ during pregnancy?
Firstly, before you worry too much and get depressed about your weight gain. You need to be aware that weight gain in pregnancy is healthy and totally normal. Make sure you eat healthy nutritional food and exercise in moderation. Trying to loose weight is not encouraged during pregnancy.
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World Health Organization. The Asian Perspective: Redefining Obesity and its Treatment, Health Communications Australia Pte Ltd. Feb 2000, Section 2:20

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