Get answers to your nutrition and healthy eating questions. Visit www.eatrightontario.ca or call us toll-free at 1-877-510-510-2.
Get answers to your nutrition & healthy eating questions.
Call us toll-free† at 1-877-510-510-2 to speak directly with a Registered Dietitian.
A healthy weight gain during pregnancy can help give your baby a healthy start. It can also help with a healthy pregnancy for you. The amount of weight you should gain depends on how much you weigh before you get pregnant.
How much weight you should gain is based on your Body Mass Index (BMI) before your pregnancy. Find out your BMI and recommended weight gain using the Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator. Depending on your BMI, there’s a range of weight gain that is healthy.
Body Mass Index
Recommended Weight Gain
less than 18.5
12.5 - 18 kg (28 - 40 lbs)
18.5 - 24.9
11.5 - 16 kg (25 - 35 lbs)
25.0 - 29.9
7 - 11.5 kg (15 - 25 lbs)
greater than 30
5 - 9 kg (11 - 20 lbs)
If you are pregnant with more than one baby (e.g. twins) you’ll need to gain more weight. Check with your health care provider to figure out the best weight gain for you.
Health Canada has more information about how much weight you should gain. See this chart if you are having one baby and this chart if you are having twins or more.
It’s important to reach a healthy BMI before getting pregnant. Being under- or over-weight when you get pregnant can impact your health and the health of your baby.
Overweight and obese pregnant women are at risk for complications such as:
If you’re overweight, it’s important to get to a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Talk to your health care provider about a physical activity plan and diet counseling with a Registered Dietitian to help you with weight loss.
If you’re overweight and already pregnant, now is not the time to try to cut back on calories. Losing weight or dieting while you are pregnant is not recommended. To keep your developing baby healthy and gain the right amount of weight for you, you’ll still need to eat enough healthy foods from Canada’s Food Guide and be active. Note: Speak to your healthcare provider before starting a new activity routine during – especially if you are new to exercise.
An EatRight Ontario Registered Dietitian can help you with tips on how to lose or gain the right amount of weight for you. Call 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email.
Underweight women are more likely to have smaller babies and babies born with lower birth weights. They are also more likely to deliver babies pre-term. These babies are at an increased risk for health problems after they are born.
If you are underweight, try to reach a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Be sure to choose enough healthy foods from the Food Guide. Talk to your health care provider about diet counseling with a registered dietitian to help you get to a healthy weight.
Too much weight gain during pregnancy can be unhealthy for you and your baby. Women who gain more weight than recommended during pregnancy are at higher risk for:
Some studies show that babies born to mothers who gain more weight than recommended during pregnancy are more likely to be overweight in childhood and be at increased risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.
Too little weight gain during pregnancy can increase the risk of health complications for you and your baby. Women who gain too little weight are more likely to deliver too early or have babies who are at a low birth weight. These babies are at an increased risk for health problems after they are born.
Your pregnancy is divided into three parts, called trimesters. Each trimester is three months long. If you’re at a healthy BMI, you might gain anywhere between 1 – 2 kg (2 – 4 lbs) during the first trimester.
Most weight gain happens in the second and third trimesters when your baby is growing and developing and your body is changing to support your baby. The amount of weight you gain each trimester will depend on your BMI before you got pregnant.
Average Weight Gain in the 2nd and 3rd Trimesters
more than 30
Your health care provider will help you keep track of your weight to make sure that you gain a healthy amount of weight.
Being active and eating nutritious foods can help you gain a healthy amount of weight during your pregnancy.
During the second and third trimesters you’ll need to eat just a little more food to get enough nutrients and calories to support your growing baby. An extra two or three food guide servings each day is often enough.
Vegetables and Fruit
1 medium banana – enjoy as a snack
125 mL (1/2 cup) blueberries – add them to your breakfast cereal
1 cup of leafy greens – make your salad a little bigger
½ cup cooked broccoli – add it to your dinner plate
½ cup of cooked whole grain couscous – have an extra little scoop with your meal
2 cups of plain popcorn – a yummy night time snack
¼ piece of naan – enjoy with lentil soup at lunch
1 small pancake – spread on a little peanut butter, makes a great snack!
Milk and Alternatives
50 mL (1 cup) of milk – enjoy a glass at dinner
50 grams (1 ½ oz) cheddar cheese – slip a slice into your sandwich
175 mL (3/4 cup) kefir – sip with your morning snack
125 mL (½ cup) of milk pudding – makes a calcium rich dessert
Meat and Alternatives
175 mL (3/4 cup) black beans – add them to your vegetable soup
30 mL (2 Tbsp) almond butter – enjoy spread on apple wedges for a crunchy snack
75 g (2 ½ oz) chicken breast – top your pizza with poultry
60 mL (1/4 cup) roasted soy nuts – sprinkle on your salad
This sample meal plan gives you an idea of what healthy eating might look like for a pregnant woman.
Staying active during pregnancy will help keep your weight gain in the healthy range. Regular activity also boosts your energy levels, helps you sleep better, and keeps you strong for labor and delivery. Here are a few active tips:
*Remember: Check with your health care provider before starting a new physical activity program, especially if you weren’t active before getting pregnant.
For more advice on healthy weight gain during pregnancy, contact a Registered Dietitian at EatRight Ontario at 1-877-510-510-2 or send us an email.
Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
Pre-Pregnancy Healthy Eating Checklist.
The Sensible Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, Public Health Agency of Canada
Healthy Pregnancy Quiz, Public Health Agency of Canada
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Dietitians of Canada acknowledges the financial support of EatRight Ontario by the Ontario government. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.