When Is Pregnancy Weight Gain Excessive?

Many women struggle with their weight all of their lives, so they are concerned about the gain of pregnancy weight when they find out that they are expecting. However, the appropriate weight gain during pregnancy is essential to the birth of a healthy baby.

How Much Should be Gained?

Weight gain during pregnancy should be between 25 and 35 pounds if you are at your ideal body weight when the pregnancy begins.  If you are overweight, then most obstetricians will recommend a weight gain of 15 to 20 pounds.

Distribution of Weight Gain During Pregnancy

For a typical pregnancy, weight gain is distributed in this manner:

  • Baby-7pounds
  • Placenta-1 pound
  • Amniotic fluid-2 pounds
  • Blood Volume-4 pounds
  • Body fluids- 3 pounds
  • Uterus-2 pounds
  • Breasts-1 pound
  • Fat & protein storage-7 pounds

Calories Needed During Pregnancy

Your pregnancy should not be an excuse to overeat, however you should not worry excessively about weight gain either.  Women who are not pregnant should consume between 1800 to 2200 calories per day.  Pregnant women need 300 additional calories per day. An ideal pregnancy has a weight gain of 7 to 10 pounds in the first 20 weeks.

Excessive weight gain in pregnancy is not usually a problem although it can necessitate a c-section and make it more difficult to return to pre-pregnancy size. Rapid weight gain of more than 4 pounds in a 7-day period can indicate excessive fluid retention, which can signal the onset of pre-eclampsia. This type of weight gain should always be reported to your doctor.


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