Weight gain during pregnancy

Weight gain during pregnancy

As beautiful as pregnancy is for most mothers-to-be, it brings many changes to the body. Especially the topic of weight gain concerns many pregnant women.

There is often a great deal of uncertainty as to how much weight gain is normal during pregnancy – and above all, how many kilos the scales will show after the birth of the child. It is perfectly normal and healthy to gain a few pounds while you are carrying a child.

You can find out everything you need to know about weight during pregnancy here:

Why does weight gain occur during pregnancy??

The most important thing right away: do not compare yourself with others, because every pregnancy is completely different. This also applies to all accompanying symptoms. So how weight gain develops over the course of pregnancy is different for every woman.

In fact, it’s not uncommon to see weight fluctuations during 1. In the second trimester of pregnancy, there is no weight gain at first, but the opposite effect occurs: due to possible appetite disorders, nausea and vomiting, it is possible that the scales initially show less than before.

At the latest from 20. Pregnancy week (SSW), however, the curve should go up and a weight gain should take place.

Where the kilos come from

Of course, it is not only fat deposits that are responsible for the extra pounds, after all, a steadily growing child is growing inside you. And there are other factors that are responsible for weight gain:


Kilogram total

3 to 4 kilograms

1 to 1.5 kilograms

0.5 to 1 kilogram

1 to 1.5 kilograms

Water retention in the tissues

1.5 to 3 kilograms

0.5 to 1 kilogram

Don’t worry: nature has thought of something!

So in the end, your baby accounts for only a small part of your weight gain. For example, the increased blood volume ensures that not only the mother’s organs but also the fetus is always supplied with sufficient oxygen. In addition, a possible loss of blood during delivery can be compensated for.

So, as exhausting as it may be to carry around the extra pounds, they are necessary to ensure the care of the baby and the well-being of the mother.

This even applies to fat deposits: These are an evolutionary holdover from times when the body still needed to accumulate reserves for times of need, which was especially important during pregnancy. Nowadays, however, it is more crucial for the body to gear up for breastfeeding. This is because a lot of energy is needed for milk production.

How much increase is normal during pregnancy?

The values in the table above can be helpful in making you aware of why weight gain occurs in pregnancy in the first place. However, since these proportions can vary greatly, you should not regard them as a binding benchmark.

Caution: different guidelines used to apply

In fact, this used to be done exactly this way, adding averages of the physical causes. For a long time, therefore, a maximum weight gain of around twelve kilograms was considered the normal limit. If it was exceeded, doctors not infrequently recommended diets.

However, when assessing weight gain during pregnancy, the curve has been significantly adjusted in recent years. It has long been recognized that even a higher gain does not pose a risk to mother and child. And last but not least, that the nutritional needs of pregnant women were not always sufficiently taken into account in this guideline value.

Please note BMI

Above all, however, a healthy weight gain cannot be generalized, because it depends on various factors. The fact alone that you are carrying a baby in your belly or that it is perhaps a multiple pregnancy plays a role.

In addition, the increase also depends on the initial weight of the pregnant woman. The Body Mass Index (BMI) serves as an orientation for this. This is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. So: BMI = body weight : (height in m)². It is usually a good estimate for body fat percentage.

So, depending on the BMI, the recommended normal and healthy weight gain is between 7 and 18 kilograms. In the case of severe overweight or underweight in the 1. trimester this may differ. For women with a BMI below 18 or above 30, it may be a good idea to seek nutritional advice at an early stage.

As a rough guide:

BMI up to 18.5 (underweight): Weight gain from 12.5 to 18 kilograms

BMI of 18.5 to 25 (normal weight): Weight gain from 11.5 to 16 kilograms

BMI of 25 to 30 (overweight): Weight gain from seven to 11.5 kilograms

BMI from 30 (obesity): Five to nine kilograms

These values can also deviate. So do not worry if your weight gain does not correspond to these figures.

How should the weight develop during pregnancy?

Everyone knows the old saying that pregnant women should eat for two. Just like the outdated, ironclad upper limit for weight gain, this guiding principle is also long outdated. How much the energy requirement increases during pregnancy is often overestimated.

In fact, an additional calorie intake of about 300 Kcal per day is recommended. Above all, it’s important to make sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet – even if it is of course permissible to satisfy cravings at the beginning of pregnancy.

So while pregnancy weight gain is expressly encouraged, it should not be extrapolated down to an average number of kilograms per month. Until the 20. During the first week of pregnancy, there should only be a slight weight gain of up to three kilos. In the following weeks, but especially in the 3. trimester, the curve should go up more steeply.

So, how the weight gain per month should develop in a normal-weight woman during pregnancy, a table can hardly be generalized. So the following chart is only suitable for rough orientation:

At what point does one speak of an unhealthy weight during pregnancy??

Even though these are only rough guidelines, it is a good idea to keep track of average weight gain during pregnancy. That’s why you’ll have to get on the scales every time you visit the gynecologist. Your doctor will discuss strong deviations in both directions with you.

Too little weight gain

Too little weight gain during pregnancy, for example, can be a sign of malnutrition. This can affect the growth of the baby. In extremely bad cases, which however belong to the exception, it can come to a miscarriage.

To ensure an adequate supply of vitamins, minerals and proteins during pregnancy, do not start a diet on your own under any circumstances. No matter what they scales indicate: Consult before a planned change in diet your doctor.

Too much weight gain

Too much weight gain can also cause complications. On the one hand, there is a risk of developing gestational diabetes, and on the other hand, it could affect the weight of your baby. Four kilos or more of birth weight could lead to complications during delivery.

A sudden increase in weight can also be a sign of edema, which should always be checked by a doctor.

Despite these exceptional cases, it is important to always remember how normal and even necessary the extra pounds are for every expectant mother. And by the way, don’t be surprised if your partner also gets a little belly during this time: A weight gain of the expectant father is quite often observed. It’s nice to be able to share that too!

Unfortunately, the subject of weight is one that unsettles many women. Through supposedly perfect after-baby bods from celebrities or well-intentioned tips in lifestyle magazines, extra pounds are portrayed as a purely disturbing factor. Do not be irritated here. Listen to your doctor and midwife – and not least to your instinct.

Above all, you should accept your body with all its changes. Because he does a great job of growing, nurturing and caring for new life – both during and after pregnancy. So be proud of every kilo that contributes so that your little miracle can come into the world healthy.

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