How much Weight Gain is Normal in the first Trimester of Pregnancy

When talking about how much weight gain is normal in the first trimester of pregnancy, it’s helpful to look at healthy weight gain over the entire pregnancy and also to talk about what’s ideal and what’s safe.

The Mayo Clinic offers the following weight gain recommendations based on your pre-pregnancy weight:

Underweight (Body Mass Index less than 18.5): 28 to 40 pounds

Average weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9): 25 to 35 pounds

Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9): 15 to 25 pounds

Obese (BMI over 30): 11 to 20 pounds

If you’re expecting twins, you can add another ten to twenty pounds to these numbers.

You should gain two to five pounds during the first trimester according to WebMD and other medical websites. After that, about a pound a week for the final two trimesters is normal, going up to an average of a pound and a half each week if you’re having twins. These scenarios might be considered the ideal.

As is the case with other aspects of pregnancy there is a much wider range of what’s normal and what’s safe as far as first trimester weight gain. Such factors as not realizing one is pregnant, eating healthier because one is pregnant or eating less and having trouble keeping food down because of early morning sickness can cause some women to lose weight those first few months.

On the other end of the spectrum, things like cravings; a new, nagging hunger and getting less than normal exercise because of fatigue may cause others to gain ten, twelve or more pounds in the first trimester. This, too, can be a normal, safe amount as long as the rate of weight gain stays the same or self-corrects.

The March of Dimes cautions that women who gain too much weight during pregnancy risk having a large baby or a premature baby. They also have an increased chance of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, varicose veins and c-sections.

Regardless of the number on your scale at the end of the first trimester, here are a few simple but important things to keep in mind in the area of weight gain for a healthy pregnancy:

-Pregnancy is not a time to diet in the sense of restricting your calories. It is a great time to establish the habits of a healthy diet.

-Eating for two should not be your motto! An additional 100 to 300 calories per day is all that’s needed to nourish your developing baby.

-Follow general healthy eating guidelines (high fiber; variety; lots of fruits and vegetables; plenty of water; lean meats; low-fat dairy; limited sugar, simple carbs and refined/processed foods; little or no junk or fast food).

-Follow specific healthy eating guidelines for pregnancy, especially avoiding certain foods and eating three servings of protein, four servings of dairy and foods dense with vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid.

-Your body is designed to put on weight during pregnancy—and for it to easily come off afterwards.

-It’s fairly easy to lose pregnancy weight the first year after giving birth when you gain only the recommended amount.

-Extra weight gained during pregnancy and not lost within the first year is now shown to be connected with obesity later in life.

-Gaining weight slowly and steadily is the goal for most expectant mothers, but it is also natural for some to gain the majority of their weight in a couple of “growth spurts.”

Seek and follow your doctor’s advice if you have any concerns.