Weight & Pregnancy – How Much Weight Should You Put on During Pregnancy?

Some women embrace the fact that they will put on weight whilst they are pregnant and others hate the fact that they can no longer control their bodies. However you feel about weight gain in pregnancy, the fact is that you are nurturing your new baby.

Weight gain is necessary as your body stores fat for breast feeding and takes on the work of carrying and feeding your unborn child.


Portrait of a smiling young pregnant woman holding a weight scale


Don’t Eat for Two

However, eating for two isn’t necessary and putting on too much weight in pregnancy can cause problems. Knowing how much weight you should gain depends on your weight before you became pregnant. For example the NHS recommends that:

  • Underweight for height at pregnancy: 13 to 18 kilos is a healthy weight gain.
  • Overweight for your height at pregnancy: 7 to 11 kilos is fine
  • Obese: (with a BMI of over 30) should only put on around 5 to 9 kilos.
  • At your ideal weight for your height: Between 10 and 12.5 kilos is good.

Underweight women should make the effort to eat nutritiously because otherwise the baby will not be getting the required amount of minerals and vitamins it needs to grow to a healthy weight.

Overweight women need to take care because they are at risk of developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia. The baby too might be larger than normal and the extra weight gained will be more difficult to lose.

The weight should come on at a steady rate, although it will be more noticeable after 20 weeks. If you find that you are gaining weight very quickly, see your midwife, as it may be a sign of pre-eclampsia

It’s not just the baby that’s causing your weight gain. Your placenta is almost a kilo and your breasts can gain a kilo each. Together with your uterus and the fluid inside it is another 2 kilos and around 3 kilos of fat is laid around the body to convert to the milk needed to feed your baby. At the end of your pregnancy your baby can weigh anything between 3 and 4 kilos, making a grand total of around 12 kilos.

Eat Healthily

Try not to gorge on too many cakes and biscuits, after all you want your baby to get good nutritious food. Eat plenty of chicken, turkey, pasta, vegetables or salads. Eat red meat for iron and pick out foods rich in iron, calcium and vitamin D. Also don’t forget there are certain foods that you shouldn’t eat for example:

  • Soft Cheeses such as blue cheese, brie or camembert, you can eat cottage and cream cheeses.
  • Pate – Don’t eat pate as it carries the risk of listeria
  • Raw Shell Fish – Carries the risk of food poisoning
  • Raw or Partially cooked Meat – Carries the risk of toxoplasmosis
  • Liver or Liver Products – Carries vitamin A and too much vitamin A can harm your baby
  • Fish – You can eat fish apart from shark or swordfish and limit the amount of tuna you eat as it contains mercury.
  • Sushi is safe to eat if it has been pre-frozen, otherwise stick to fully cooked or vegetarian sushi

Try to cut out sugary drinks and watch your caffeine intake. Two cups of coffee, one can of coke or three cups of tea contains enough caffeine for one day.

Make pregnancy your excuse to change your bad eating habits to good ones and cook healthy, flavoursome food that you’ll enjoy eating and won’t have you opening the biscuit tin

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