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Food and Nutrition

ARCHIVED - Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Warning This content was archived on June 24 2013.

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Gaining weight is a natural part of pregnancy. It helps your baby grow and develop, and prepares you for breastfeeding.

How much weight you should gain depends on your Body Mass Index before you became pregnant (your pre-pregnancy BMI).

Find out your pre-pregnancy BMI and your recommended weight gain at healthcanada.gc.ca/pregnancy-calculator and talk to your health care provider.

Based on my pre-pregnancy BMI (___), my recommended weight gain is between __ and ___

__kilograms (kg)
__pounds (lbs)

Most of this weight gain will happen in the second and third trimesters, as your baby and the tissues that support your pregnancy continue to grow.

Where does the weight go?

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Here's an example:
Sarah's pre-pregnancy BMI: 23
Her recommended weight gain: 11.5-16 kg (25 to 35 lbs)

Extra blood, fluids and protein: 3.5 kg
Breasts and energy stores: 3 kg
Uterus: 1 kg
Placenta: 1 kg
Baby: 3.5 kg
Amniotic fluid: 1 kg

Sarah's total weight gain in 40 weeks: 13 kg (29 lbs)

Gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy has benefits:

  • it helps your baby have a healthy start;
  • it can reduce your risk of complications in pregnancy and at delivery; and
  • it improves your long-term health.

Here are two things you can do every day to gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy:

Enjoy being active.

  • Add up activities like brisk walking or swimming in periods of at least 10 minutes, for a total of about 30 minutes of activity each day.
  • Remember to talk to your health care provider before increasing your activity level or starting an exercise program.

Eat "twice as healthy" not "twice as much".

  • One extra snack each day is often enough. For example, have an apple or a pear with a small piece of cheese (50 grams or 1 ½ oz) as an afternoon snack.
  • Follow Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide to eat the amount and type of food that is right for you and your baby.

For more information on eating well and being active during pregnancy, visit: healthcanada.gc.ca/foodguide-pregnancy.