Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Friday, September 11 2015

Gaining weight is a natural part of pregnancy. It helps your baby grow and develop, and prepares you for breastfeeding. How much weight you should gain depends on your Body Mass Index before you became pregnant (your pre-pregnancy BMI).


Most of this weight gain will happen in the second and third trimester, as your baby and the tissues that support your pregnancy continue to grow.


Where does the weight go?

Here’s an example:


Sarah’s pre-pregnancy BMI: 23

Her recommended weight gain: 11.5-16 kg (25 to 35lbs)

  • extra blood, fluids and proteins: 3.5 kg
  • breasts and energy stores: 3kg
  • uterus: 1kg
  • placenta: 1kg
  • baby: 3.5kg
  • amniotic fluid: 1kg

Sarah’s total weight gain in 40 weeks: 13kg (29lbs)


To find out your pre-pregnancy BMI and recommended weight gain you can use this helpful calculator link at Health Canada.


Gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy has benefits:

  • It helps your baby have a healthy start
  • It can reduce the rick of complications in pregnancy and at delivery
  • It improves your long-term health

Here are two things that you can do everyday to gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy:

  1. Enjoy being active!
    • Add up activities like brisk walking or swimming in periods of at least 10 minutes for a total of about 30 mins of activity each day.
    • Remember to talk to your health care provider before increasing your activity level or starting an exercise program


  2. Eat “twice as healthy” not “twice as much”
    • One extra snack each day is often enough. For example, have an apple or pear with a small piece of cheese (50 grams) as an afternoon snack.
    • Follow Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide to eat the amount and type of food that is right for you and your baby.

If you are searching for more information on healthy eating you can read over my previous post Healthy Eating During Pregnancy and never hesitate to contact your health care provider should you be concerned with your healthy weight gain, they are there to help


Suzanne Toth