At one time there used to be strict guidelines advocating that weight gain during pregnancy should be limited to a few kilograms (KGs). Fortunately, progress has been made in the field of women’s healthcare and doctors are now encouraged to take a much more individualised approach. Weight gain is known to vary considerably between women and depends a lot on pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI).
The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) published guidelines linking pregnancy weight gain with BMI before conception:
- BMI <18.5. Underweight. Recommended gain 12.5 – 18.0 kg.
- BMI 18.5 – 24.9. Normal weight. Recommended gain 11.5 – 16.0 kg.
- BMI 25 – 29.9. Overweight. Recommended gain 7.0 – 11.5 kg.
- BMI >30. Obese. Recommended gain 5.0 – 9.0 kg.
Whilst these are American guidelines, they are utilised by doctors around the world and should be applicable to most women in other developed countries. It is important however, to consider each woman individually, particularly in countries where women do not receive comprehensive prenatal care and in areas where women face emotional and physical challenges.
Women who are pregnant with twins, triplets, or more, should, naturally, anticipate gaining extra weight during their pregnancies.