Your body is going through a beautiful transformation as it creates and sustains life. But sometimes these changes, especially weight gain, can cause anxiety. How much is too much weight gain? According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the appropriate amount of weight you should gain during pregnancy depends on what you weighed before pregnancy.
If you were at a healthy weight from the start (this means a BMI of 18.5 – 24.9), you’ll want to gain about 25-35 pounds in total. If you were underweight, gain a little bit more. And if overweight, aim for a weight gain of 15-25 pounds. Of course, if you’re having twins (or more, gasp!), you’ll gain more than you would if you were carrying a single child; check with your doctor for an appropriate weight gain goal.
Regardless of your starting point, your weight gain should generally ramp up slowly, with the majority of weight gain occurring during your last trimester.
Remember, your body packs on these additional pounds for good reason: Your baby needs them to grow and thrive. So be gentle and forgiving with yourself as you gain weight, and don’t be afraid to treat yourself from time to time; but be weary of reaching for those ice cream sundaes too often.
Adhering to the recommended weight gain guidelines will help you and baby in several ways. Avoiding excess weight gain can help prevent a premature and/or difficult delivery, set your baby’s future health and weight status, make it easier for you to lose the baby weight after delivery and help prevent childhood obesity later in life.
Learn more about your weight gain during pregnancy with IOM’s healthy weight gain tool.
Jill Castle is a registered dietitian and childhood nutrition expert. As a former private practice owner, she currently shares her expertise as a writer, speaker and consultant. She is the co-author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School and author of the upcoming book Eat Like a Champion: Performance Nutrition for Your Young Athlete (2015). www.JillCastle.com