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How Much Weight Should a Pregnant Woman Gain?

Understanding Weight Gain Guidelines

The amount of weight a pregnant woman should gain depends on a variety of factors, including pre-pregnancy weight and body mass index (BMI). In general, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that an expectant mother gain 25 to 35 pounds during her pregnancy. Women who are underweight prior to pregnancy should gain a bit more, while overweight women should gain less.

Breakdown of Weight Gain During Pregnancy

The majority of a pregnant woman’s weight gain is due to her growing baby. The average newborn weighs approximately 7.5 pounds and takes up approximately 20 percent of the mother’s weight gain. The remaining weight gain is due to an increase in blood volume, fluids, and the placenta, as well as the development of her baby’s organs, such as the lungs, brain and liver.

Nutrition During Pregnancy

A pregnant woman should make sure she is eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins, dairy, and healthy fats. Expectant mothers should also take a daily prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid, zinc, and iron. During pregnancy, it is important to get the recommended amount of nutrients and calories to ensure that both the mother and baby are healthy.

Exercise During Pregnancy

It is important for pregnant women to stay active throughout their pregnancy. Moderate exercise can help to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, as well as improve mood and energy levels. Women should take care to avoid activities that could put them or their baby at risk, such as contact sports and activities that involve jumping. Walking and swimming are two great options for pregnant women.


Gaining the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy can help to ensure that both the mother and baby are healthy. In general, an expectant mother should gain 25 to 35 pounds, though this number can vary depending on her pre-pregnancy weight and BMI. A balanced diet and moderate exercise are key to staying healthy during pregnancy.

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