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Midwifery, Pregnancy & Birth :: Healthy Weight Gain

Appropriate Weight Gain is a Vital Safeguard for Future Health

  • When a pregnant woman is careful to gain enough weight, her child receives added protection against heart disease. That's because an undernourished fetus shunts blood to its brain at the expense of the organs of the abdomen. As a consequence, the baby's liver ends up being smaller than normal, and therefore less efficient at clearing cholesterol from the bloodstream. This can contribute to heart disease in adulthood.
  • Sufficient weight gain also guards against a diabetic future. When an expectant mother eats too little, her fetus develops a "thrifty" metabolism that hoards every available calorie. Later, during childhood and adulthood, when this metabolism is challenged by an abundance of food, the individual is much more likely to become obese and to develop diabetes.
  • from Program Your Baby's Health: The Pregnancy Diet for Your Child's Lifelong Well-being by Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein


Recommended Weight Gain Patterns Based on BMI
First Trimester Total
Weight Gain for Trimesters 2 & 3
Total Weight Gain
(BMI <20)
5 pounds Slightly >1 pound per week 28-40 pounds
Normal weight
 (BMI 20-<26)
3.5 pounds Slightly <1 pound per week

25-35 pounds

 (BMI 26-29)
2 pounds Approximately 2/3 pound per week 15-25 pounds
2 pounds Approximately 2/3 pound per week 15+ pounds



Pregnant Women come in all shapes & sizes!


When You're Expecting Twins: "The goal when pregnant with multiples is to keep your babies growing as well as if they were singletons, even though you may deliver weeks or even months earlier. To accomplish this you need to eat more, rest more, and gain more weight... The amount of weight you need to gain to program [both] your babies for optimal health depends on how much you weighed before you became pregnant... Normal weight women should aim for 40-54 pounds by weeks 36 to 38."

from Program Your Baby's Health by Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein