Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Weight While You're Pregnant

You’ve heard it said that when you’re pregnant, you eat for two. While that’s true, remember that you’re not eating for two full-grown humans. Instead, you’re eating for one pregnant woman and one developing baby. Adjusting your diet to accommodate the growing life within you doesn’t have to be difficult, but it requires your attention.

Dr. Cheri Coyle and our obstetrics team at The Center for Women’s Health in Newport News, Virginia, are here to care for you from conception to delivery and beyond. As a board-certified OB/GYN, Dr. Coyle has the experience and skills to help you and your baby navigate the journey from routine health checks to complicated conditions and procedures. 

A question women often ask is: How much weight should I gain? 

Between morning sickness and cravings, not to mention the growing fetus, you can expect your weight to fluctuate first and then increase as you enter your second and third trimesters. But how much is too much? We answer your pregnancy weight questions here.

The danger of gaining too much weight during pregnancy

As your baby grows, you can expect to gain weight — after all, you’re carrying another person in your body. However, being pregnant isn’t an excuse to pack on the pounds. In fact, it can be dangerous. 

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can lead to complications, such as:

While women at a healthy weight can experience these problems, your risk increases if you gain too much weight.

The danger of not gaining enough weight during pregnancy

Most women must watch their diet to ensure they don’t gain too much weight during pregnancy, but others must focus on gaining enough.

Women who don’t gain enough weight during pregnancy risk delivering small babies, who historically have a challenging time breastfeeding, have a higher risk for illnesses throughout their childhood and are more likely to miss developmental milestones. 

How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?

The amount of weight you should gain during pregnancy largely depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and how many babies you’re carrying. 

Dr. Coyle uses the ACOG recommendations

We can help you determine your ideal weight gain and help you achieve it.

Weight Gain Distribution: Where Does It All Go?

When you gain weight during pregnancy, it's not just the baby contributing to the extra pounds. Here's a breakdown of where the weight goes:


On average, newborns weigh about 7.5 pounds.


This organ, which provides nutrients to your baby, weighs around 1.5 pounds.


Your breasts may increase by up to 2 pounds as they prepare for breastfeeding.


The uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby, adding approximately 2 pounds.

Blood volume

Your blood volume increases to supply oxygen and nutrients to the baby, contributing an extra 3-4 pounds.

Amniotic fluid

The fluid protecting your baby in the womb adds about 2-3 pounds.

Fat, protein, and other nutrients

Your body stores additional nutrients to nourish both you and your baby, accounting for roughly 7-10 pounds.

Other fluids

Extra body fluids account for about 2-3 pounds of weight gain.

These values are averages and can vary.

Tips for maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy

Managing your weight during pregnancy is much like managing it when you’re not pregnant — diet and exercise are key.


Pregnancy isn’t about eating for two in terms of quantity but rather quality. Choose foods rich in lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh fruits and veggies to ensure you and your baby are well-nourished throughout the pregnancy. 

This is also the time to quit your fast-food habit and avoid empty calories from sugary drinks and high-fat foods. 


Yes, you can and should exercise during pregnancy, but avoid contact sports and risky activities. The best options for pregnant women are swimming (you’ll love feeling weightless in the water during your third trimester), prenatal yoga, and walking. Talk to Dr. Coyle about your favorite exercise methods to ensure they’re safe.

Food journal

Keeping a food journal helps you track your food intake to identify any unhealthy patterns. This is especially handy if you feel like you’re eating a healthy diet and can’t understand why you’re gaining too much weight. It also lets you manage your portions at each meal. Our team can help you determine the proper foods and portions.

If you’re concerned about weight gain or other pregnancy-related issues, call The Center for Women’s Health to schedule an appointment with Dr. Coyle. 

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