Pregnancy Weight Gain: Why You Gain More Than What Baby Weighs

Pregnancy Weight Gain: Why You Gain More Than What Baby Weighs

pregnancyUpdated August 3, 2020


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Weight gain is always a sensitive subject whether you are pregnant or not. However, mommas to be can become self-conscious about their pregnancy weight gain, especially since weight gain can occur fairly quickly the further you get along in your pregnancy. The good news is that healthy baby weight tends to come off soon after baby is born. Plus, you will soon find out why exactly you gain far more weight than what baby actually weighs.

So, let’s dive into what pregnancy weight gain looks like and then talk about all of the amazing reasons why your body works hard to gain weight in order to help support your little one on the way.

What Does Pregnancy Weight Gain Look Like?

If you’re pregnant, chances are you have heard that the gold standard for pregnancy weight gain is about 30 pounds. However, this isn’t the case for all women. Some may gain less, and some may gain more. Both are okay so long as you are gaining healthy weight that your body needs to support a healthy pregnancy.

Here are the current pregnancy weight gain guidelines put out by the CDC:

  • For someone underweight before becoming pregnant: 28-40 lbs.
  • If you are of normal weight before becoming pregnant: 25-35 lbs.
  • For someone overweight before becoming pregnant: 15-25 lbs.
  • If you are obese before becoming pregnant: 11-20 lbs.

As you can see, weight gain recommendations for pregnant moms are all different depending on where you start out at. It’s also interesting to know that the CDC reports that nearly 48% of pregnant women gain more than the recommended amount of weight, so if you find yourself creeping up on that 30 lb. weight gain mark, you are totally not alone! Pregnancy weight gain is so individual, and it’s important to remember that we all carry our babies differently, and each pregnancy is going to be different.

The best thing you can do is ensure that the weight you are gaining is healthy. Stick to a clean and well-balanced diet, move your body a little bit each day, and avoid fried, processed, and overly sugary foods. Not only does eating well and exercising help support a healthy pregnancy, but it is also great for your overall health and mood, so it’s a win, win.

Why You Gain More Than What Baby Weighs

When talking about pregnancy weight gain, many mommas wonder why in the world they gain an average of 30-35 lbs. but their baby only weighs around seven pounds. There are so many fascinating things about pregnancy, and understanding where this weight gain is distributed to is interesting, and it also helps put the weight gain into perspective.

Here are some of the reasons your body puts on more weight than what baby weighs. (1)

  • Baby — The average sized baby is about 7 ½ lbs.
  • Placenta — 1.5 lbs.
  • Uterus — 2 lbs.
  • Increased fluid volume — 4 lbs.
  • Increased blood volume — 4 lbs.
  • Breast tissue — 2 lbs.
  • Nutrient stores (fat, protein, nutrients) — 7 lbs.
  • Amniotic fluid — 7 lbs.

As you can see, all of these factors play a role in how much weight you will gain. There’s a lot that changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy, and all of these things add up to be a total of 30 pounds! That’s a minimum of 30 lbs. right there, and this doesn’t take into account other factors like if you pack on extra nutrient stores or if your baby weighs more than 7 ½ lbs. There are so many different reasons the body needs to gain weight during pregnancy. I hope this chart shows you exactly where some of that weight is distributed to.

If you are pregnant and feeling down about how much weight you have put on, remember why your body is putting on weight. Try to change your perspective a little bit and realize that so long as you are eating healthy and moving your body as much as is comfortable, you are doing what you need to do to support a healthy pregnancy. The weight will come off, so don’t beat yourself up! For now, try to enjoy your pregnancy, take great care of yourself, and remember why you are gaining weight. Also remember that the end result will outshine anything when you look back at your pregnancy.


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