The question of weight initially causes uncertainty for most pregnant women. Have I gained too much weight or is the weight gain during pregnancy even too low? Especially with little abdominal girth, pregnant women fear not gaining enough weight. The basic rule is: how much weight you gain during pregnancy is highly individual. Also, your pregnancy is not the right time to worry about weight. After all, a baby is growing inside you right now! Learn more about weight and weight gain during pregnancy – so you too can enjoy your pregnancy with peace of mind.
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Your personal pregnancy weight curve
Your weight should increase as steadily as possible during pregnancy, usually starting in the second trimester. From the third trimester onwards, you can expect to gain more weight, as your baby is now also starting to build up its fat reserves.
Your midwives or gynecologist will ask your weight at each checkup or. Determine on the spot to create an individual weight curve. In fact, more important than the actual reading on the scale is that your weight is increasing within your individual growth rate. Strong deviations from this pregnancy curve can be important signs of health problems.
If you want to find out for yourself how your pregnancy weight is developing, our weight curve calculator will help you do so. It tells you if your individual gain is within a medically acceptable level. However, the tool does not replace medical advice.
You can use the pregnancy curve calculator by first entering your height as well as your weight immediately before pregnancy. With the help of this information, the calculator determines your BMI, which is decisive for the expected weight gain.
In the second step you enter your weight in the corresponding pregnancy week. From these values the tool calculates your personal pregnancy weight curve.
Enter the following data:
Source: According to updated recommendations on weight gain during pregnancy, Institute of Medicine (US) and National Research Council (US), 2009
Determination of weight gain by BMI
To find out approximately how much weight you should gain during pregnancy, your midwife or gynecologist will determine your personal body mass index, or BMI for short. BMI calculates the ratio between your weight and height squared.
Weight in kg : (height in m) 2 = BMI kg/m 2
The calculation looks like this for a height of 1.65m and a weight of 65kg before pregnancy: BMI = 65kg : (1.65m) 2 = 23.9 kg/m 2
The normal weight for women of childbearing age is approximately a BMI between 18 kg/m 2 and 25 kg/m 2 . With a BMI below 18 kg/m 2, women are considered underweight; above 25 kg/m 2, they are considered slightly overweight. From a BMI of 30 kg/m 2 and more, one speaks of severe overweight, also called obesity. However, it is important to know that BMI is of limited value. Due to the difference in density between muscle and fat, highly trained women, for example, can be considered overweight according to BMI, even though they have only a small amount of body fat. Age also plays a role in the calculation of BMI.
Nevertheless, the BMI is used as a guideline in obstetrics to determine the degree to which weight gain during pregnancy is considered healthy. According to the BMI, the following values are not problematic during pregnancy:
|Body mass index (BMI)||Weight gain during pregnancy|
|< 18.5 kg/m2||12 – 18 kg|
|18.5 – 25 kg/m2||11 – 16 kg|
|25 – 30 kg/m2||7 – 11 kg|
|> 30 kg/m2||5 – 9 kg|
Distribution of weight gain during pregnancy
Many pregnant women want to know not only what weight gain is normal, but also how the weight is distributed. Finally, the weight increases not only because the pregnant woman gains fat reserves, but also because the blood volume almost doubles, the fetus grows, and the mammary gland tissue increases as well.
Thus, weight gain can be viewed from different perspectives. Often pregnant women are also curious about how much weight they should gain in which week of pregnancy. To classify, it is useful to look at the individual components of pregnancy weight.
Average weight gain in pregnancy by weeks
Depending on which trimester of pregnancy you are in, the weight gain will vary over the weeks. While you may see little movement on the scale at the beginning of pregnancy, this can change quickly during the second trimester. The fetus grows and puts on weight, your blood volume increases, you store water and your body prepares for breastfeeding with fat deposits.
So it happens that the weight gain in the first trimester is almost absent, but in the second and third trimester the number on the scale climbs relentlessly upwards. And that is exactly how it should be!
At the same time, it is also normal that the weight makes a slight jump from one week of pregnancy to another. If your baby has just grown a lot, there may be deviations from the even weight trend. Here’s where the weight curve calculator can help you get started: as long as you stay within the specified gray range, there’s usually little to worry about.
With our table for optimal weight gain according to weeks of pregnancy, you can get an overview of how many extra kilos you can expect:
|Week of pregnancy (SSW)||Weight gain|
|5. – 16. SSW||ca. 2 kilograms|
|17. – 22. SSW||ca. 2 kilogram|
|23. – 26. SSW||ca. 2 kilograms|
|27. – 35. SSW||ca. 4 – 4.5 kilograms|
|35. – 40. SSW||ca. 2 – 2.5 kilograms|
Particularly in the case of pregnant women who are overweight or underweight or have pre-existing conditions, midwives and gynecologists also like to look at the weight gain per week. They assume the following scales:
- up to 13. SSW: hardly any weight gain
- 14. – 24. SSW: 250 – 300 grams per week
- from the 25. SSW: 400 grams per week
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Weight gain by mother and child
It is important for pregnant women to know: Weight gain during pregnancy is important and has nothing to do with a possibly wrong eating behavior. Especially with regard to the famous ravenous appetite during pregnancy, many women worry about gaining too much weight during pregnancy. However, weight gain in singleton pregnancies only becomes really problematic when the weight exceeds 20 kilograms. The focus is on healthy nutrition, regardless of weight.
In general, weight gain is normal because not only the child grows with pregnancy, but also the maternal blood volume increases. The placenta, amniotic fluid and the growing uterus also have a weight of their own that contributes to this weight gain. To ease your worries around your weight, we’ve broken down how pregnancy weight is made up:
|Weight of the baby (at ET)||ca. 3 – 3.8 kg (average)|
|Increase in blood volume||ca. 1,2 kg|
|Uterus||ca. 1.3 kg|
|Placenta||Ca. 0,6 – 0,8 kg|
|Amniotic fluid||ca. 1.3 kg|
|Tissue fluid||ca. 2 – 2.5 kg|
|Increase in mammary gland tissue||ca. 0.8 – 1.0 kg|
|Maternal depot fat (in preparation for breastfeeding)||approx. 1.7 kg|
Weight gain in pregnancy with twins or multiples
The average values for weight gain in pregnancy apply mainly to singleton pregnancies. For multiple pregnancies, higher guideline values for maternal body weight apply, because where several children are growing at the same time, more blood, more amniotic fluid, more placental tissue, etc. are required for optimal care. formed.
With twins, you can therefore expect a weight gain of around 15.5 to 20 kilograms. If a woman is pregnant with triplets, gynecologists and midwives assume a pregnancy weight of about 20.5 – 23 kilograms.
Overweight and underweight – risk during pregnancy
If you become pregnant and suffer from underweight or overweight, your midwife and gynecologist will once again pay special attention to your weight gain during pregnancy. This is to prevent health problems for you or your baby. One speaks of underweight, if the BMI of a pregnant woman is less than 18 kg/m 2. Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 kg/m 2 , whereby a distinction must be made between slight overweight (25 – 30 kg/m 2 ) and obesity (30 kg/m 2 and above).
In principle, however, the following applies: On the basis of your body weight alone, no statement can be made at all about whether your child will be born healthy and particularly large or small. As long as you take care to eat a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy and get enough exercise and sport, the number on the scales should be considered of secondary importance.
Too little or. no weight gain during pregnancy
If the expectant mother is already underweight at the beginning of pregnancy, she is especially encouraged to gain weight. In case of underweight, there is a risk of premature birth, because the organism is not able to maintain the pregnancy until the end without harming the pregnant woman. Being underweight can also lead to a lack of nutrients, which can seriously harm the baby. Not infrequently, underweight of the mother also results in too low a birth weight of the newborn baby.
If the weight remains the same during pregnancy or if there is only a very slight increase in weight, there may be several reasons for this. Especially for pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness at the beginning of pregnancy, the reduced appetite can lead to a slow weight gain. Women affected by Hyperemesis Gravidarum often even lose weight in the first weeks of pregnancy due to the vomiting. If hyperemesis persists, it is difficult for these pregnant women to gain enough weight.
If the weight stagnates during pregnancy for several weeks, this can be a serious sign of growth retardation of the baby and indicate a deficiency supply. In this case, you should urgently consult your gynecologist or midwife to rule out health problems in yourself and your fetus.
Too fast or. Too much weight gain during pregnancy
If the expectant mother is very overweight, the risk of developing gestational diabetes (GDM = gestational diabetes mellitus, type 4 diabetes) is increased. Also, the child may become diabetic due to overeating. Babies of pregnant women who are very overweight and eat a high-sugar and high-fat diet often become particularly large and heavy. Here one speaks of a so-called macrosomia.
If pregnancy weight increases very quickly, this is often a sign of improper nutrition. For example, pregnant women who are affected eat too many meals or tend to eat too much sugar and fat. In such a case, you should still not reduce your weight now! However, make sure you eat a balanced diet. The following tips can help you to regulate the weight gain in a healthy way:
- Eat only when you are really hungry.
- Eat at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit. One portion is approximately the amount that fits in your hand.
- Save your snacking for a special moment and enjoy sugary and fatty foods only in moderation.
- Make sure you get enough exercise in your daily routine.
A very rapid weight gain of one kilo or more per SSW over several weeks can be an indication of water retention, so-called edema. In some cases, pronounced water retention can be a warning sign of preeclampsia (also called preeclamptic toxemia (PET), EPH gestosis, or pregnancy-induced hypertension (SIH), formerly known as pregnancy toxemia) or gestational diabetes. In this case, it is essential to talk to your midwife or gynecologist.
Frequently asked questions about weight during pregnancy
We have summarized the most important things you need to know about weight gain during pregnancy for you.
How much weight can I gain during pregnancy??
What weight gain during pregnancy is considered unproblematic varies from five to 18 kilograms, depending on your individual starting situation. If you are of normal weight, the average is between 11 and 16 kilograms. Overweight women should not gain more than five to nine kilos. However, a balanced diet that provides you and the baby with all the essential nutrients is more important than the number on the scale. If you suffer from morning sickness, for example, you may even lose weight. As long as the fetus is doing well and you pay attention to adequate nutrient intake, a small weight gain is not problematic, especially in the first trimester.
How many kilograms of water are normal in pregnancy?
Water retention in the tissues – also called edema – is completely normal during pregnancy and nothing to worry about. It is assumed that the amount of water in the body increases by up to 35 percent during pregnancy. This is because blood formation is stimulated and the body produces amniotic fluid. In addition, the tissue is softer and therefore more susceptible to water retention. Particularly in the summer pregnant women suffer increasingly from edema. Due to this water retention, the weight can increase by two to 2.5 kilograms. Light exercise, such as pregnancy yoga or taking a walk, can help. If water retention becomes too severe, this can be an indication of the onset of preeclampsia. Then it is best to go straight to the gynecologist.
Should I eat for two during pregnancy?
The popular saying always advises pregnant women to reach for the food, because after all they would be "eating for two". However, this is now scientifically invalidated. In fact, a pregnant woman’s caloric needs increase by 250 kcal in the second trimester and 500 kcal in the third trimester compared to before pregnancy. Much more important than the number of calories, however, is that meals for pregnant women contain sufficient nutrients.
How much should I take in the 20. SSW have gained weight?
At the end of 20. By the end of the 20th week, you are almost halay through your pregnancy. Since the baby weighs about 250 to 290 grams at this point, the weight gain is also not yet too great. Pregnant women should have gained about two, maximum three kilograms by the end of the fifth month. This depends, however, strongly on the personal conditions, for example, the initial weight or how strong the pregnancy nausea was or. Is.
About the author:
Celsy Dehnert is a freelance journalist and author of advice texts. As a mother of two toddlers with an 18-month age difference, she has often been faced with the question of what actually matters during pregnancy. Today she writes guidebooks to answer the most pressing questions of expectant parents.
Expert advice and editing: Birgit Laue, midwife& Medical educator, medical journalist& Nonfiction author