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Nutrition and Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Healthy Weight Gain

​Weight gain is an important part of pregnancy. Eating well and gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy is not only good for you, but also good for your baby.

The recommended amount of weight gain for a healthy baby depends on your body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy. Knowing the weight gain range that is right for you will help you to gain enough weight without gaining too much weight. Find out your pre-pregnancy BMI by either:

Eating well and staying active can help you to gain the right amount.

The table below will help you find out how much weight gain will be healthy for you and your baby. These calculations assume a 0.5-2.0 kg (1.1-4.4 lbs.) weight gain in the first trimester.

Weight Category Pre-Pregnant BMI Total Weight Gain
for Pregnancy*
Weight Gain Rate in
2nd and 3rd
Underweight< 18.5
28 – 40 lbs
12.5 – 18 kg

1 lb/week
0.5 kg/week
Healthy Weight18.5 – 24.9
25 – 35 lbs
11.5 – 16 kg

1 lb/week
0.4 kg/week
Overweight25.0 – 29.9
15 – 25 lbs
7 – 11.5 kg

0.6 lb/week
0.3 kg/week
Obese> 30
11 – 20 lbs
5 – 9 kg

0.5 lb/week
0.2 kg/week

*Health Canada 2010 Gestational Weight Gain Guidelines

Too little?

Women who do not gain enough weight tend to have:
  • babies who are born early
  • babies who are born small for their age or who have a low birth weight (less than 2.5 kg or 5 lbs. 8 oz.)

Preterm and low birth weight babies have a greater risk of disease in the first few weeks of life, physical and mental disabilities, and ongoing health problems later in life.

Too much?

Women who gain too much weight tend to have:
  • more difficulty giving birth
  • babies who are born large for their age or have a high birth weight (more than 9 lbs/4.1 kg)
  • babies who are overweight or obese later in childhood
  • more trouble losing the weight after pregnancy
  • increased risk of high blood sugar and high blood pressure during pregnancy

Weight Gain Goals for Women Carrying Twins

  • For healthy pre-pregnancy BMI (18.5–24.9), your weight gain goal is 37–54 lbs (17–25 kg).
  • For overweight pre-pregnancy BMI (25.0–29.9), your weight gain goal is 31–50 lbs (14–23 kg).
  • For obese pre-pregnancy BMI (30.0+), your weight gain goal is 25–42 lbs (11–19 kg).
  • If you are carrying more than two babies, talk to your healthcare provider about how much weight you need to gain.

Current as of: September 23, 2015

Author: Alberta Health