Breaking Down Pregnancy Weight Gain

Pregnant and scale
Pregnancy weight has been the talk of the town – from Drew Barrymore joking about packing on the pounds to Beyonce’s recent admission to being 195 pounds when she gave birth. Then there’s the celebrity body bounce back. Images of Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson and the scandalous Caroline Berg Eriksen have left many women frustrated, pressured or just plain confused.

So where does the extra weight go during pregnancy?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, an approximate breakdown of your weight gain should look something like this:

Baby: 7-9 pounds
Placenta: 1-2 pounds
Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
Uterus: 2 pounds
Maternal breast tissue: 2 pounds
Maternal blood : 4 pounds
Fluids in maternal tissue: 4 pounds
Maternal fat and nutrient stores: 7 pounds


The amount of weight you should gain depends on your weight and BMI (body mass index) before pregnancy. If you were a healthy weight before pregnancy (BMI 18.5 – 24.9) you should gain 25-35 pounds. If you were underweight before pregnancy (BMI less than 18.5), 28-40 pounds. If you were overweight with a BMI of 25-29.9, you are looking at 15 – 25 pounds. Finally, if you were in the obese category before pregnancy (BMI over 30), your target weight gain is 11-20 pounds.

Of course, every woman is different – and if you find yourself gaining more weight or even losing weight – regular doctor’s visits will help keep things under control. And while most women lose about half of their pregnancy weight in the first 6 weeks after giving birth (baby, fluid, etc) – it’s ok if your body doesn’t bounce back immediately.

The key is aiming for a healthy lifestyle. The reality is that gaining too much weight can have a number of potential problems like gestational diabetes, discomfort, fatigue and high blood pressure that can cause unnecessary risks to yourself and the baby. Stay healthy by following a sensible meal plan that is rich in the vitamins and minerals essential for a developing baby.

Finally, leave the celeb pictures out of the equation – stop worrying about someone else’s standards and enjoy early motherhood for what it’s meant to be – a period of adjustment to be sure, but a happy one at that.