RESOURCE SHEET• MAY 2009
Weight Gain During Pregnancy:
Reexamining the Guidelines
Women having children today are substantially heavier than at any time in the past.
Beginning pregnancy in the normal weight body mass index (BMI, a measure of body fat
based on weight and height), as recommended in this report, requires the efforts of both
a pregnant woman and her health care providers. The new guidelines for weight gain,
shown in Table 1, are formulated as a range for each category of prepregnancy BMI. These
new guidelines are based on observational data, which consistently show that women who
gained within the IOM (1990) guidelines experienced better outcomes of pregnancy than
those who did not.
To help achieve the recommended weight gain ranges, women should consult their
care providers about diet and physical activity before, during, and after pregnancy. To as-
sist care providers, the committee provides Figures 1 and 2, which could be developed for
use as a basis for discussion with pregnant women. These charts illustrate differences be-
tween weight gain ranges for obese and normal weight women and should be considered
models rather than nal products.
Advising the Nation. Improving Health.
Table 1: New RecommeNdaTioNs foR ToTal aNd RaTe of weighT gaiN
duRiNg PRegNaNcy, by PRePRegNaNcy bmi
Rates of Weight Gain*
2nd and 3rd Trimester
Obese (includes all
classes) ≥30.0 11–20
+ To calculate BMI go to www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/
* Calculations assume a 0.5–2 kg (1.1–4.4 lbs) weight gain in the rst trimester (based
on Siega-Riz et al., 1994; Abrams et al., 1995; Carmichael et al., 1997)