When Do You Gain the Most Weight During Pregnancy?

It’s normal to be concerned about your weight during pregnancy. Learn how much you should gain each trimester and when you’re likely to gain the most weight.

 

Eating for two doesn’t mean doubling your food intake. If you’re swiftly gaining weight, you may want to modify your eating habits. However, if you’re eating healthy, well-portioned meals, you probably have nothing to worry about.

When I was pregnant I would watch the numbers on the scale continue to rise, wondering if I was gaining too much. Many pregnant women share my concerns and for good reason.

“The health of your baby and its weight at birth are directly related to how much weight you gain during pregnancy,” says Lindsay Brin, author of How to Exercise When You’re Expecting. “Gaining too much or too little weight can lead to serious problems for you and your baby.”

While it can vary from pregnancy to pregnancy, most women gain the most amount of weight during the second trimester.

What the Experts Say

“Weight gain is an individual matter. The bottom line is, instead of counting calories, make every calorie you eat count. Eat a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Try to limit saturated fats and cholesterol. As long as your baby is growing adequately, your diet is supplying the needed nutrients to your baby.”

The Pregnancy Cookbook, Hope Ricciotti, Vincent Connelly

“What’s the perfect pregnancy weight gain formula? Actually, since every pregnant woman – and every pregnant body – is different, that formula can vary a lot. Just how many pounds you should aim to add during your 40 weeks of baby growing will depend on how many pounds you were packing before you became pregnant.”

What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Heidi Murkoff

“Many women gain more or less weight during pregnancy, and they and their babies are fine. However, women who gain too little weight increase their risk of having a premature baby or one with low birth weight. Women who gain too much weight increase their risk of developing preterm labor, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, or macrosmia.”

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn, Janet Walley, Penny Simkin

“The pattern of weight gain is important to a healthy pregnancy outcome. During the first trimester, average weight gain is low, less than 5 pounds for most women. Over the second and third trimesters, the suggested weight gain is a little less than 1 pound per week with more gain suggested for underweight women and those carrying twins, and a lower gain for women who are overweight.”

Nutrition, Volume 1, Paul M. Insel, R. Elaine Turner, Don Ross

“Sometimes the twenty-five to thirty-five pound rule won’t apply. There are a number of other factors that can influence pregnancy weight gain. How much weight is right for you to gain depends, first of all, on how much you weighed before becoming pregnant. If you were twenty or thirty pounds overweight, you probably will need to gain less.”

Pregnancy Weight Management, Theresa Francis-Cheung

First Trimester

During the first trimester, the baby is still teeny-tiny contributing very little to your overall weight gain. In some cases, pregnant women will actually lose weight during the first trimester due to a combination of morning sickness and food aversions.

If you do happen to lose a few pounds, don’t worry. Your weight will start to climb soon enough. Average weight gain during the first trimester is five pounds, according to Fit Pregnancy.

Second Trimester

The second trimester spans from week 13 to week 28. By the second trimester, your nausea should have diminished and your appetite may increase. While it’s okay to give into some of your cravings, try to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and limit sweets. In addition to gaining some mommy weight, your baby will start to grow larger in size.

By the end of the sixth month, your little one will measure about 12 inches long and weigh about two pounds, according to WebMD. If you started at a normal weight before pregnancy, you will likely gain a total of about 14 pounds during your second trimester.

Third Trimester

The third trimester is when your baby and your body will go through the most changes. While your baby gains the most amount of weight during these last few months, your weight may taper off. Most of the weight you gain in the third trimester will be from amniotic fluid, the placenta, fat stores, and a larger uterus. During the third trimester, the average weight gain is one to two pounds per week, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

Every woman, every pregnancy, and every baby is different. If you’re worried about your weight gain during any trimester, express your concerns to your obstetrician.

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Liz Coyle

Liz is a Scottsdale-based writer and mom to a three-year old boy. She is a lover of cooking, travel, and racing hot wheels with her son. As the mom of an only child, Liz has a unique perspective on parenting. She loves to share her experiences of being a high strung, type a mom in an imperfect world.

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