Melanie McGrice

Melanie McGrice


Weight gain is a sensitive topic among pregnant (and non-pregnant!) women – however, it’s an important discussion to have, as one of the first steps to prioritising the health of your baby is prioritising your own. A recent study of more than 1.3 million pregnant women found that almost 50% gained too much weight during pregnancy and 23% did not gain enough.

So what does a healthy middle ground look like?


How much weight gain is good?

The answer depends on your individual body and whether you were underweight, overweight or healthy before you became pregnant. The table below will give you guide as to how much weight you should have gained by the end of pregnancy. If you don’t know your BMI, you can calculate it here.

Pre-Pregnancy BMI Total Weight Gain Range
Underweight ( <18.5 ) 12.5kg – 18kg
Healthy weight ( 18.5 – 24.9 ) 11.5kg – 16kg
Overweight ( 25 – 29.9 ) 7kg – 11.5kg
Obese ( >30 ) 5kg – 9kg


In the first trimester, you should eat normally and gain around 2kg. After that, the extra energy you need is around 400 kilojoules a day. You can obtain this through one additional slice of bread each day.


What are the risks of too little weight gain (or weight loss)?

Inadequate weight gain during pregnancy is linked to low birth weight and preterm births, which puts your bub at risk of health problems like respiratory issues, infection and developmental issues. Morning sickness early in pregnancy can sometimes lead to insufficient energy intake (and potentially weight loss), so it is important to address this by finding out what works for you, whether that be eating small but frequent meals, eating outside in the fresh air or increasing your fluid intake.  If you’re still struggling with morning sickness, and losing weight, see an Accredited Practising Dietitian for advice.


What are the risks of too much weight gain?

Although it might be tempting to give in to those cravings you’re having, it’s important to not let it get out of hand! Women who gain excess weight have an increased likelihood of delivering their baby preterm and a 40% greater risk of requiring a caesarean delivery. There are also links to an increased chance of other complications like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and miscarriage, so it’s important to gain weight gradually and healthily.


I hope this article has given you a better idea about how much weight you should be gaining during your pregnancy, but if you’re finding it tricky to juggle healthy eating with work, family and all your other commitments, you’re not alone! You can find my book, The Pregnancy Weight Plan here, where I take you step by step through everything you need to know about nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy.


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True or False? Your pregnancy diet can affect your baby’s health for years to come