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WEBSITE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Joan Adam, Secretary of Health

Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain

How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?

How much weight you gain during pregnancy depends on your weight before pregnancy.

Pre-pregnancy Weight

BMI

Recommended Weight Gain

Underweight

<18.5

28-40 pounds

 Normal Weight

18.5-24.9

25-35 pounds

Overweight

25-29.9

15-25 pounds

Obese

>30.0

11-20 pounds

As a general rule, most women gain 2 to 5 pounds in the first trimester. After that, aim for one pound per week. Talk to your care provider about which weight gain range is best for you.

Find out your BMI by entering your information into this BMI calculator.

Too Little?

When you do not gain enough weight you risk:

  • Having a low-birth-weight baby (baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds 8 ounces). Baby may have a harder time breathing, eating, gaining weight, and fighting infections.

  • Having a premature baby (born too early). Premature babies may have health problems at birth and later in life.

Too Much?

When you gain too much weight you risk:

  • A difficult delivery for your baby.

  • Increased risk of C-section

  • Having a large baby which increases the baby’s risk of long-term health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

  • Increased high blood sugars and high blood pressure during your pregnancy.

  • Difficulties with weight loss after you have the baby.

What Should You Eat?

Focus on Fresh
Your baby eats what you eat, so it’s best to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins every day. Avoid foods with little to no nutritional value like traditional baked, fried, and fast foods. Visit www.healthysd.gov for more information about seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Avoid certain foods
Some foods that may be part of a healthy diet outside of pregnancy can cause harm to your baby. Avoid:

  • Raw fish, raw shellfish, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel
  • Undercooked meat and poultry
  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Soft cheeses or cheeses not made in the United States
  • Unpasteurized milk or foods made from unpasteurized juices
  • Raw sprouts

Physical Activity

Physical activity is very important for a healthy mom and a healthy baby.

  • Pregnant women should be under the care of a healthcare provider with whom they can discuss their personal physical activity needs and options.

  • Healthy women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week during and after pregnancy.   

  • Activity should be spread throughout the week and performed at least 10 minutes at a time. For example, exercise 30 minutes per day, for 5 days per week.

  • Walking, swimming, and low-impact group fitness classes are all examples of moderate-intensity activity. These activities raise your heart rate and breathing and help you break a sweat. You should be able to talk, but not sing when exercising at this intensity.

  • Pregnant women should choose activities without a high risk of falling or injury, like skiing, horseback riding, or contact sports.

  • Pregnant women should avoid exercises involving lying on their back after the first trimester, like sit-ups. Ask a fitness professional for other safer options.

Ask your provider about setting healthy weight gain goals for your pregnancy.

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