5 Most Common Reasons of Extra Weight Gain in Pregnancy


Pregnancy & Obesity – Why I Gained Weight Unexpectedly?

“Eat for two” phase many tempt you to eat extra in pregnancy but how much calories do you really need? Putting on weight in pregnancy is quite usual due to growing baby but when it goes over the limit, it may cause problems. So, first how much gain in weight should be there for you in pregnancy and why you gain it? After that, the 5 most common reasons of extra weight gain during pregnancy are discussed to let you avoid those causes & thus to save you from being obese.
obese in pregnancy

Expected Weight Gain – How Much is Normal?

If you weigh normal (BMI – 18.5-24.9), there must 25 to 35 pounds added to your current weight during pregnancy. This limit is 28 to 40 pounds for underweight women (BMI<18.5) while 15 to 25 pounds for overweight women (BMI – 25.0-29.9). If you are obese (BMI – 30+) then there should be a gain of 11 to 20 pounds in your weight.
The statistics are different for women expecting multiples (that’s obvious!) – It is expected that a normal woman should gain 37-54 pounds, overweight women should gain 31-50 pounds and for obese, there should be 25-42 pounds weight gain.
In general, 1.1 to 4.4 pounds during the first trimester, 0.4 to 1.3 pounds per week in second and third trimester is gained during pregnancy.

Why this Weight Gain?

Some common causes of this normal weight gain are –
 Your baby’s weight – 2.8 to 3.5kg is added to yours.
 The expanding uterus’s muscles cause a gain of 2 pounds.
 Amniotic fluid around the baby – 5.75 pounds
 Placenta (from baby’s nourishment) – around 1 pound
 Breasts – an increase of 0.9 pounds
 Volume of blood vessels increases to add 2.6 pounds
So, you already knew a lot about normal gain in pregnancy but what about abnormal gain? What causes it? Check the next section.

Causes of Unexpected Weight Gain

There may be unexpected weight gain beyond the normal limit. The normal causes are –

Hormonal Changes

The hormonal change in pregnancy may make certain foods taste incredible to crave you for the same. If your taste buds are tickling for the food with high calorific value, your bad luck!
These extra calories are stored & utilized in your body. The worst thing is – weight gain invites further weight gain!

Genetic Factors

Sometimes, mom’s weight gain is high due to genetic factors. Expectant mothers complain of gaining exactly the same weight as their mother did during her pregnancy. However, it cannot be related to genetic causes all the time as other factors are more probable. These factors many include wrong diet plan etc.


Preeclampsia is a high blood pressure problem, normally starts after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If left untreated, it may cause problems to Placenta (talked about in normal causes of weight gain) by reducing the blood flow, and result in obesity. To control it – add a variety of veggies and fruits to your diet along with regular exercise.

Gestational Diabetes

Placenta may develop some hormones in you, increasing the sugar level in blood. However, insulin controls and nullifies this rise but if it can’t – the gestational diabetes is caused. This disease affects 3-6% of women, causing an excessive gain in weight during pregnancy.

Increased Pains, Fatigue, and Varicose Veins

Fatigue, backaches, varicose veins, leg pains – these are some common problems in pregnancy. Though not affecting directly, these problems may reduce your movements. Also, they may lead to improper diet, finally resulting in weight gain.
There may be other reasons like higher baby weight, etc. which is another common reason for extra weight gain during pregnancy. The best solution will be – eat healthy, stay nourished, exercise daily and keep varying the fruits & vegetables in your diet. It will help you maintain an ideal weight and thus a happy pregnancy!


About Author


An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.

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