A Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain Timeline For Mommy Means Healthy Baby

Do you notice you’re growing bigger during pregnancy? And it’s not just your baby bump that’s growing. You might observe that other parts of your body do too. You will start wondering if these extra fats will stay with you even after your pregnancy. 

The good news is you don’t need to worry because weight gain is encouraged during pregnancy. Our Preggy To Mommy community has also gone through this process, and we got you! Here’s what you need to know about your pregnancy weight gain timeline.

Causes of Pregnancy Weight Gain

While you’re pregnant, loved ones may encourage you to eat more since you’re “eating for two.” Although their basis is correct, the gained weight during pregnancy isn’t equal to the weight of the baby.

Your growing uterus and enlarged breasts ready for breastfeeding also add to the excess weight. The placenta also accounts for the added weight. Because your body is feeding your baby, the increased blood flow for nutrients also builds you a couple of pounds. Fat stores and other bodily fluids also contribute to the extra mass. According to the American Pregnancy Association, you can gain around 30 pounds over the course of your pregnancy!

Source: Pexels

Pregnancy Weight Gain Timeline Is Not A One-Size-Fits-All 

Pregnancy weight gain timelines differ per person. Factors affecting weight gain include your pre-pregnancy weight, body mass index (BMI), genetics, and lifestyle. Usually, mothers who are underweight or normal weight have a higher weight gain than overweight or obese mothers.

For mothers carrying a single baby, these are the prescribed weight gains from IOM Guidelines.

Category Body
Index (BMI)
Recommended Weight Gain (For Single Pregnancies) Recommended
Weight Gain
(FoR Multiple Pregnancies)
Underweight Below 18.5 13-18 kgs
Normal Weight 18.5-24.9 11-16 kgs 17-25 kgs
Overweight 25-29.9 7-11 kgs 14-23 kgs
Obese Above 30 5-9 kgs 11-19 kgs

Gaining Too Much Weight

Gaining more than the prescribed weight may lead to prolonged labor and increased risk of having a C-section. Apart from delivery complications, too much weight also increases your chances of acquiring pregnancy-related hypertension and diabetes.

The risks are also prevalent even after pregnancy. When you gain too much weight, you may risk retaining it even after pregnancy. Excess weight during pregnancy may also translate to your child experiencing childhood obesity. Monitoring your pregnancy weight gain timeline can help you avoid overeating and encourage you to exercise regularly.

Gaining Less Than Prescribed

Building less weight than prescribed results in premature births and smaller babies. These babies may also have a more challenging time breastfeeding and growing. They may become late-bloomers and be more prone to infections. Smaller and low-weight babies also need unique temperature-controlled beds to supply body heat since they have less body fat.

Source: Unsplash

Gaining weight less than prescribed may cost you more after giving birth. To avoid extra costs and harmful effects, follow a healthy pregnancy weight gain timeline.

Pregnancy Weight Gain Timeline

Weight gain, as mentioned above, is affected not just by your baby’s weight, but for other bodily changes as well. Let’s break down your pregnancy weight gain timeline per trimester. 

First Trimester

The first period in your pregnancy weight gain timeline is in your first trimester. At this point, your mammary glands will start to enlarge due to increased levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones. This bodily change is to prepare you for breastfeeding. Breast enlargement and formation of the placenta are the significant causes of your weight gain during this trimester.

At the same time, your uterus lining thickens to protect the fetus. Within the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, the fetus will be developing its organs. The fetus is prone to infection during this period, so you must start eating nutritious food and drinking lots of water.

As early as this period in your pregnancy weight gain timeline, you should start avoiding eating junk food and sweets. As soon as you learn of your pregnancy, start eating balanced meals to supply your fetus with the nutrients it needs.

The weight gain during this trimester accounts for the changes your body makes to accommodate a baby. A healthy weight gain during the first trimester is within 0.5-2.0 kg (1.1-4.4 lbs). If you gain or lose more than 5% of your body weight during this period, consult your doctor.

You can check this article for the other things you should know about when you are on your first trimester.

Second Trimester

The next and most consistent steps in your pregnancy weight gain timeline happen within the second trimester. During this period, the fetus develops into a baby. They also begin going through cycles of sleep and wakefulness.

Without the morning sickness and nausea, you’ll start having a better appetite. Most mommies have also claimed this trimester as the most comfortable trimester of their pregnancies. With these factors, you may find yourself eating more.

However, the second-trimester gains also have limits. According to IOM guidelines, the rate of weight gain per week still depends on your pre-pregnancy BMI.

  • Underweight: 0.45-0.6kgs (1-1.3lbs)
  • Normal weight: 0.36-0.45kgs (0.8-1lb)
  • Overweight: 0.22-0.32kgs (0.5-0.7lbs)
  • Obese: 0.18-0.27kgs(0.4-0.6lbs)

At this point in your pregnancy weight gain timeline, you must steadily and consistently gain every week, by eating at least 300 extra calories every day. To achieve this, you can add a cup of cereal (300 calories) or a chicken salad (350 calories) to your diet. However, remember to enjoy your pregnancy; don’t get too obsessed with the numbers. Just ensure what you’re eating is not only high in calories but also high in nutrients.

Third Trimester

During the third trimester, your baby is probably practicing breathing or reacting to stimuli, which is why you feel them frequently kicking. They’ve almost finished significant developments, so they start building mass.

This period in your pregnancy weight gain timeline is dependent on your weight gain during the first trimesters. Some mommies claim they’ve gained more weight during the second trimester, so they aimed to gain less during the final trimester. These mommies still ate the extra calories, but they made sure to stay within the healthy bounds. Remember, a range for the prescribed overall pregnancy weight gain exists.

If you’ve gained less weight before, you can continue building mass at this point in your pregnancy weight gain timeline. Remember to reach the prescribed weight gain by eating nutritious meals.

Avoid sugary doughnuts or greasy burgers as compensation for your caloric gap during pregnancy. These types of foods may indeed add to your weight, but not to your baby’s benefit. Excess sugars and oils are not as nutritious as they are heavy. Of course, you can still eat these indulgences, but in moderation. You can also satisfy your cravings once your baby is born, just like this mommy!

Nutrients Your Body Needs During Pregnancy

Monitoring your pregnancy weight gain timeline is not enough if you are not eating the right nutrients. Here are some of the nutrients you need to level up to take care of you and your baby’s health. You’ll likely need to take in more calories as well. The American Pregnancy Association suggests 2400 calories in the third trimester, although it ultimately depends on what your doctor says.

Folic Acid

Folic acid or folate is a B vitamin nourishing your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Babies can acquire neural tube defects as early as the first few weeks of pregnancy. To avoid these defects, experts advise taking 400 mcg of folate supplements every day. This advice applies to women who plan or suspect pregnancy. Folate also protects mothers against anemia.

Leafy greens, beans, citrus fruits, and wheat-products such as enriched cereals, bread, and pasta have folic acid. However, to get the needed amount of this vitamin, pregnant mommies are advised to take 600-800 mcg of folate supplements.


Calcium helps in building your baby’s bones and teeth. This mineral also supports your cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous systems during your pregnancy. At least 1000mg per day is needed to sustain both your and your baby’s needs.

This mineral also helps build bone mass, helping you stay on track of your pregnancy weight gain timeline. You can take supplements to reach this amount, or you can also eat calcium-enriched foods! Leafy vegetables like kale, yogurt, cheese, milk, sardines, and other fish with edible bones are all sources of calcium.


Protein promotes growth for your baby. It helps in building your baby’s tissues and organs, especially their brain. Protein also increases your blood supply to your baby for more nutrient intakes. Experts suggest taking 70-100 grams of protein per day. This nutrient is vital, especially during the third trimester, so we recommend increasing your intake per trimester.

Sources of protein include lean beef, chicken, liver, tofu, and nuts. You can also take protein powder supplements suggested by your doctor. Make sure you buy recommended brands because some protein supplements may have additives to fit for your baby. Too much protein supplements may also disrupt your pregnancy weight gain timeline.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a common vitamin needed by almost everyone. The prescribed intake of 10mg of this vitamin helps your body regulate calcium and phosphate in your body. You can get this by staying under the sun, but make sure you’re wearing sunscreen!

However, experts are yet to find out how long you need to absorb sunlight for the right amount of Vitamin D. Start eating eggs, red meat, salmon, and other foods rich in Vitamin D to promote the growth of your baby’s bones.

Vitamin C

You and your baby also need vitamin C to keep your cells healthy. Vitamin C boosts both you and your baby’s immune system and aids in building and healing tissues. Aside from these, vitamin C also helps you better absorb iron.

You can get an ample amount of Vitamin C with citrus fruits, potatoes, red and green peppers, and Brussel sprouts. This vitamin may not contribute much to milestones in your pregnancy weight gain timeline, but they improve your overall health. Taking enough of this vitamin also helps avoid preeclampsia or pregnancy-triggered hypertension.


Blood plays a vital role in delivering nutrients to your baby. During pregnancy, you need to level up your iron intake to enrich your blood supply. Iron also protects you from fatigue, anemia, and postpartum depression.

Eat iron-rich foods such as lean meat, beans, and poultry products. You can also take supplements to meet the required 27 mg of iron every day.

Stay Healthy With These Tips

Given all the information, you may start feeling overwhelmed, as we all did during our pregnancy. Maintain a healthy pregnancy weight gain timeline with our help. But worry not, because we’ve got tips to support you throughout your journey to motherhood.

Eat Balanced and Nutritious Meals

Gaining weight will be for nothing if you only gain fat and no nutrients. Your daily diet should consist of 6-11 servings of fiber, three servings of protein-filled meat, four servings of vegetables and dairy products, and 2-4 servings of fruit.

Try making a switch to more nutritious food alternatives. Instead of just your usual bread, take whole wheat and fiber-rich substitutes. Go for low-fat dairy products to maximize your calcium and minimize your fat intake. Nutritious alternatives also help you stay within a healthy pregnancy weight gain timeline.

You should also steer away from foods high in mercury. These include catfish, sharks, marlins, and tunas. Before eating your favorite seafood, check their mercury levels to avoid harming your baby.

Cravings are also a big part of your pregnancy. You can have cravings for healthy food like mangoes and corn, or unhealthy items such as fries and chocolates. Of course, you can indulge yourself with your desires every once in a while but remember, your baby needs lots of healthy nutrients. Substitute unhealthy cravings with more sustainable alternatives. 

Exercise Aerobic Routines

To better maintain your pregnancy weight gain timeline, consider doing moderate aerobic exercises. Simple tasks such as walking around can already help your body get used to the additional weight. You can also enroll in aerobic classes, as long as your instructor knows of your pregnancy. Exercising will also help you with labor and postpartum recovery.

Before and after your exercise routines, drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Warm-up before the training and cool down after to help your body adjust. To determine if your exercise is of the right intensity, try holding a conversation while doing your reps. If you feel out of breath during your workout, then your routine is too strenuous for you.

Make sure you are mobile every day because lying on your back may cause your baby bump to some blood vessels, therefore making you feel nauseous. 

Consult Medical and Healthcare Professionals

Every pregnancy is unique. So, be sure to consult your doctor with every concern regarding your pregnancy because they know what’s best. They will also be monitoring your pregnancy weight gain timeline. So, during the routine check-ups, update them of your situation and share your observations with them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What trimester do you gain the most weight?
  2. How soon after pregnancy does weight gain start?
  3. How much weight is gained per week in pregnancy?
  4. How much weight should I have gained by 26 weeks?
  5. How do models stay skinny during pregnancy?
  6. How can I stay slim during pregnancy?
  7. Does your body wider after pregnancy?
  8. Is it harder to lose weight after having a baby?
  9. How much weight do you drop immediately after birth?
  10. How much should you gain by 20 weeks?
Kathy Urbanski

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